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Nicholas Rengger

Professor, Head of School

Room: 208

Office HoursBy appoinment

Tel: 2941



Nicholas Rengger is Professor of Political Theory and International Relations at St Andrews and between January 2013 and 31 August 2016, will also be the Head of the School of International Relations. He is also a Carnegie Council Global Ethics Fellow emeritus at the Carnegie Council for Ethics and International Affairs, New York (2011-2014). He has held visiting positions at the London School of Economics (1992), University of Southern California (1995-6), and the Centre for Theology and Philosophy at the University Of Nottingham (2010), and has served on the Executive of the British International Studies Association (2003-2010), the Governing Council of the International Studies Association (2000-2001) and the Governing Council of the Royal Institute for International Affairs, Chatham House (1997-2001). He is a fellow of the Academia Europeaea.


Semester 2

IR5403 Political PHilosophy and World Order



With a background in general intellectual history, philosophy, and political and international theory, My scholarly and teaching interests range across International Relations, Politics, Theology, Philosophy, Social Thought and History and I therefore work across and between disciplines as well as within them. Consequently, in addition to my  position the School of IR, I am a member of the following Centres/Institutues around the University:

-  the Centre for Ethics, Philosophy and Public Affairs in the School of Philosophical, Anthropological and Film Studies

- The St Andrews Institute for Intellectual History (hosted in the School of History)

- the Centre for the Study of Religion and Politics (hosted by the School of Divinity)

-  the Institute for Iranian Studies (on whose advisory board I sit)

- Theoria: St Andrews Critical Theory Group

Over the next few years I will be working on the following projects:

- A collection of essays exploring various different aspects of a particular intellectual sensibility in modern thought, under contract to Routledge and to be published under the title Dealing in Darkness: The Anti-Pelagian Imagination in Political Theory and International Relations, in 2014/15.

- A large book developing  arguments made in the epilogue of Just War and International Order. The book - the working title is Political Philosophy and World Order - will begin with a detailed discussion of the character, first of ppolitical philosophy and seconldy of ideas about world order. It will then (as i currenlty envisage it) develop an historical and philosophical account of the trajectories of modern international order, arguing (as JWIO also did) that the dominant contemporary forms are broadly 'teleocratic'. It will then develop an alternative account of the possibilities of international order, predicated on both an understanding of an idea of the self as immanent in late medieval and modern thought and a politics - both domestic and international - consonant with such a self (so-called 'nomocratic' forms of politics). The book will then offer an account of why we have turned away from the latter and adopted versions of the former, what that has implied for conceptions of political order, both domestic and international, and offer a detailed critique of dominant versions of international and global order as a result. It will close with a set of reflections about  what those who are disposed to find authority in such alternative accounts of politics and the self than those which have become dominant might think and do in the contemporary context. Uniting work in political theory, intellectual history, international relations, philosopohy and theology, the book will seek to provide a new way of reading the dilemmas and contradictions of modern and contemporary global politics and thus also a rather different set of criticisms than those which are more familiar.

- an essay to be the lead essay in a volume for Bloomsbury Academic's Critical Powers series

- I will also, of course, continue to write essays on various aspects of my existing scholarly interests, unconnected to the above projects.




Just War and International order: The Uncivil Condition in World Politics.(Cambridge University Press, 2013)

[Ed] Evaluating Global Orders (Cambridge: Cambridge UNiversity Press, 2011).

[Ed, with Ben Thirkell-White] Critical International Relations Theory After Twenty Five Years (Cambridge: Cambridge UNiversity Press, 2007)

[Ed, with Chris Brown and Terry Nardin] International Relations in Political Thought: Texts From the Ancient Greeks to The First World War (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002)

International Relations, Political Theory and the Problem of Order: Beyond International Relations Theory (London: Routledge, 2000)

Retreat From the Modern: Humanism, Postmodernism and the Flight from Modernist Culture (London; Bowerdean, 1996).

Political Theory, Modernity and Postmodernity: Beyond Enlightenment and Critique (Oxford: Blackwell, 1995).

[Ed with John Baylis] Dilemmas of World Politics: International Issues in a Changing World (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1992).


2014 Contribution to 'Pluralism as Opportunity in INternational Theory' forum section in INternational Studies Perspectives

2013 'On Theology and International Relations: World Politics Beyond the Empty Sky' in International Relations, 27, 2, July 2013

2012, 'Progress with Price?' International Theory, 4, 3

2012 'A Global Ethic and the Hybrid character of the Moral World', Ethics and International Affairs, 26, 1

2011 N Rengger 'The World Turned Upside Down? Twenty Five Years of HUman Rights and International Relations' International Affairs, 87, 4, September

2010 N Rengger 'Remember the Aeneid: Why International Theory Should Beware Greek Gifts' Interational Theory 2, 3.

2008; N Rengger, C Kennedy-Pipe; "Introduction: The State of War"; International Affairs; 84(4)

2008; N Rengger; "The Greatest Treason/ On The Subtle Temptations of Preventive War"; International Affairs; 84(4)

Book Chapters

2013 ' Realism Tamed or Liberalism Betrayed? Dystopic Liberalism and International Order' in R.Freidman et al (eds) After Liberalism (London: Palgrave)

2013 'A Wager Lost By Winning? On the 'Triumph' of the Just War Tradition' in J.C.Williams et al (ed) Just War (Washington: GeorgeTown University Press)

2012, 'Tragedy or Scepticism; Defending the Anti-Pelagian Mind in World Politics' in Toni Erskine and Richard Ned Lebow (eds) Tragedy and International Relations (London: Palgrave Macmillan)

2012, 'POlitics and International relations' in Peter Hampson et al (ed) Christianity and the Disciplines

2010 'The Just War Tradition' in Duncan Bell (ed) Ethics and World Politics (Oxford: Oxford UNiversity Press).

2009; N Rengger; "Realism's Hidden Dialogue: Leo Strauss, war and politics"; Political Thought and International Relations: Variations on a Realist Theme; Duncan Bell (ed); Oxford University Press

2009; N Rengger; "Inter arma silent leges? Political Community, Supreme Emergency and the Rules of War"; War, Torture and Terrorism: Rethinking the Rules of International Security; A Lang, Amanda Russell Beattie (ed); Routeledge

2008 'Marxism and International Ethics' in Chris Reus-Smit and Duncan Snidal (eds) The Oxofrd Handbook of INternational Relations (Oxford: Oxford University Press).


Head of School

Research Committee


Britain and Ireland Association of Political Thought

Centre for the Study of Political Thought (USA)

Centre for Theology and Philosophy, UNiversity of Nottingham

British International Studies Association

International Studies Association

Honourary member, Scots Philosophical Club

Fellow, ResPublica, London Based Think tank

Global Ethics Fellow (2011-2014), Carnegie Council for Ethics and International Affairs, New York

Editorial Positions

Currently sits on the editorial boards of the following journals:

Journal of International Political Theory

International Relations

Radical Orthodoxy


Has previously served on the boards of:

Civil Wars

International Affairs

Millennium: Journal of International Studies

Has previously edited:

The Review of International Studies (2006-2010).

Invited Talks, Lectures and Seminars

Michael Oakeshott Association conference, Tulsa, Oklahoma, 13-15 Oct 2011.

The Post Secular in International Relations, University of Sussex, 27-28 October 2011

Global Ethics Workshop, Carnegie Council for Ethics and INternational Affairs, New York, 9-12 November, 2011

Lecture to the American University in Paris, 30 November 2011

Symposium on Cultural Dialogue and International Security ' opening panellist', Chatham House, 6 December 2011

Lecture to the Bristol Colloquium on Ancients and Moderns, 7 December 2011

Co-organizer, The Persistance of the state: Blessing or Curse? conference, Hartwell House, Buckinghamshire, 2-4 Febraury 2012.

Comsopolitanism and International Relations workshop, New Normative Orders Exellenz Cluster, University of Frankfurt and Technical Universty of Darmstadt, 2-4 March 2012

Edinburgh Doctoral; Training Centre workshop on the Philosophy of the Social Sciences and IR, 18 June 2012

BISA/ISA Convention, Edinburgh, UK, 20-22 JUne 2012

Realism: Crisis or Renewal conference, Edinburgh, June 23-24, 2012.

Telos in Europe, L'Aquila, Italy, September 7-10, 2012

CSTPV in LOndon: Constraints on Counter Terrorism, 6 November 2012

2nd Global EThics Fellows meeting, Carnegie Council for Ethics and INternational Affairs, New York, 7-11 November, 2012.

Lecture to Harvard International and Global History Seminar, Harvard University, 14 November 2012.

Keynote lecture to International Relations and the Harvest of the Middle Ages, Workshop, 8 March 2013, National UNiversity of Singapore

Seminar on Religion, Secularism and the Good society, Luxembourg, 26/7 April 2013

Cambridge POlitical Thought and Intellectual History Seminar, April 29th 2013.

Adress to Confrence on the 300th anniversary of the Treaty of Utrecht, University of Utreacht, 19 September 2013

Lecture to the 4th Engaged Mind conference, honouring the work of Jean Bethke Elshtain, UNiversity of Chicago, October 2013

Third annual Global Ethics Fellows Meeting, CCEIA, 9-12 November, New York

Luxembourg Centre for European and International STudies Conference, 6-7 December 2013

ISA Annual Convention, Toronto, 26-29th March 2014

Keynote lecture, Conference on Identity and Citizenship, Catholic UNiversity of the Sacred Heart, Milan, 8 May, 2014

Conference on Nigel Biggar's In Defence of War 22-23 May, Christ Church College, Oxford.

Telos in Europe conference, The Idea of Europe, 5-8 September 2014.

Carnegie Council for Ethics and INternational Affairs, Centenary conference, 13-15 October 2014, New York City.



Appearences on BBC radio 4 programmes, eg Nightwaves, , The Moral Maze

Interviews on various topics with BBC and other outlets on varioius aspects of politics, international relations and contemporary culture 

Blog entries on The CCEIA's Global EThics Blog


Dealing in Darkness: The Anti-Pelagian Imagination in political theory and international relations 


Current Research Students

Primary Supervisor for:

Antonio di Biagio

Hans Lindenlaub

John-Harman Valk

Francois Sarah

CHris Flaherty

Secondary Supervisor for:

Andreas Aktoudianakis

Francesco Belcastro

Kieran Maconachy

Paul Buvarp

David Miles

PhD Supervision topics

International political theory

General political philosophy

International Relations Theory

European Intellectual history

Social Thought

Political and Philosophical Theology

Comparative political theory and philosophy

Philosophy of the Human Sciences


Greek and Roman thought (especially Thucydidies, Plato and the Neo-Platonists)

The thought of Michael Oakeshott, George Santayana and Eric Voegelin.


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