Karin M Fierke, Professor


Karin Fierke received her PhD from the University of Minnesota in 1995. She has held a research fellowship at the Amsterdam School for Social Science Research and was a Prize Research Fellow at Nuffield College, Oxford University, after which she was appointed to a lectureship and later readership in the School of Politics, International Studies and Philosophy at Queen’s University Belfast.

In 2006 she moved to St Andrews as Professor of International Relations. She has been on the executive committee of the British International Studies Association (2000 to 2004), the steering committee for the Standing Group on International Relations of the European Consortium for Political Research (2010 to 2014), and was a founding member of the executive board of the European International Studies Association, as well as the non-North American representative on the ISA Governing Council from 2012 to 2014.

Research areas

Professor Fierke’s research interests include:

  • the role of emotion and trauma in international politics
  • the relationship between memory and violence
  • the political self-sacrifice.

She has a long history of working on post-Wittgensteinian themes relating to language and the implications for the development of constructivist methodology.



  • Independence, Entanglement and the Co-Production of Sovereignty, editor, special issue of Global Constitutionalism (2017).
  • Political Self-Sacrifice: Agency, Body and Emotion in International Relations. Cambridge Series in International Relations, Cambridge University Press (2013). Awarded the Sussex International Theory Prize 2014.
  • Critical Approaches to International Security. Oxford: Polity Press (2007), 2nd edition (2015).
  • Diplomatic Interventions:  Conflict and Change in a Globalizing World. Basingstoke: Palgrave (2005).
  • Constructing International Relations: The Next Generation, edited with Knud Erik Jorgensen. Armonk, New York: M.E. Sharpe (2001).
  • Changing Games, Changing Strategies: Critical Investigations in Security.Manchester and New York: Manchester University Press and St. Martin’s Press (1998).

Refereed journal articles

  • Contraria sunt Complementa: Global Entanglement and the Constitution of Difference, International Studies Review (forthcoming)
  • Language, Entanglement and the new Silk Roads, with Francisco Antonio-Alfonso, Asian Journal of Comparative Politics (forthcoming)
  • Consciousness at the Interface: Wendt, Eastern Wisdom and the Ethics of Intra-Action, special issue on Alexander Wendt's, Quantum Mind and Social Science, in Critical Review (2017).
  • Introduction, Independence, Global Entanglement and the Co-Production of Sovereignty, Special Issue of Global Constitutionalism, (2017).
  • Intention and Emotion in International Relations, contribution to a forum on Emotion and World Politics, edited by Roland Bleiker and Emma Hutchison,  International Theory  (2014).
  • Who is my Neighbour? Memories of the Holocaust/Al Nakba and a Global Ethic of Care, European Journal of International Relations (2014).
  • The Warden’s Dilemma: Self- Sacrifice and Compromise in Asymmetric Interactions, contribution to a special issue on Compromise in Politics, Government and Opposition (2012).
  • Trust and Terrorism in Northern Ireland, Critical Studies on Terrorism (2009).
  • Critical Theory, Security and Emancipation, ISA Compendium Project (2009).
  • Agents of Death: The Structural Logic of Suicide Terrorism/Martyrdom. International Theory, 1 (2009).
  • A Clash of Emotions: The Politics of Humiliation and Political Violence in the Middle East, with Khaled Fattah. European Journal of International Relations, 1 (2009).
  • Memory and Violence in Israel/Palestine, Human Rights and Human Welfare, http://www.du.edu/gsis/hrhw/volumes/index.html (2008).
  • The War on Terrorism: A Critical Perspective, Irish Studies in International Affairs 16 (2005).
  • Whereof We Can Speak, Thereof We Must Not Be Silent: Trauma, Political Solipsism and War, Review of International Studies 30: 4 (2004), pp. 471-492.
  • Links Across the Abyss: Language and Logic in International Relations, International Studies Quarterly,  3 (2002), pp. 331-354.
  • The Liberation of Kosovo: Emotion and the Ritual Re-Enactment of War, Special Issue on Politics and Emotion, Focaal: European Journal of Anthropology, 39 (2002), pp. 93-116.
  • Divided by a Common Language: Formal and Constructivist Approaches to Games. With Michael Nicholson, Global Society, 1 (2001), pp. 7-25.
  • Logics of Force and Dialogue: The Iraq/UNSCOM Crisis as Social Interaction, European Journal of International Relations, 6:3 (2000), pp. 335-371.
  • Besting the West:  Russia’s Machiavella Strategy, International Feminist Journal of Politics, 1: 3 (1999), pp. 403-434.
  • Constructing Institutional Interests: EU and NATO Enlargement, with Antje Wiener, Journal of European Public Policy, 5 (1999), pp. 721-742.
  • Dialogues of Manoeuvre and Entanglement: NATO, Russia and the CEECs, Millennium: Journal of International Studies, 28: 1  (1999), pp. 27-52.
  • Multiple Identities, Interfacing Games: The Social Construction of Western Action in Bosnia, European Journal of International Relations, 2: 4 (1996), pp. 467-498.
  • Underrepresentation of female referents as pronouns, examples and pictures in introductory college textbooks, with H.S. Bertilson and D.K. Springer,  Psychological Reports, 51 (1982), pp. 923-931.


  • Emotions in IR: The ‘Dog that did not Bark,’ E-IR (2015)
  • World or Worlds? The Analysis of Content and Discourse. Qualitative Methodologies Newsletter, American Political Science Association (2004)

Book chapters

  • Security as Ethics: An Orthogonal Rotation from Egoism to Compassion, in Anthony Burke and Jonna Nyman, eds., Ethical Security Studies: A New Research Agenda, Routledge(2015).
  • Is there Life Beyond Language? Discourses of Security,  in Gabi Schalg, et.al. ed., Transformations of Security Studies – Dialogue, Diversity and Discipline,  Routledge (2015).
  • Human Dignity, Basal Emotion and a Global Emotionology, in Linda Ahall and Thomas Gregory, eds., Emotions, Politics and War, Routledge (2015).
  • Constructivism, in: Tim Dunne, Milja Kurki and Steve Smith, eds., International Relations Theories. Oxford University Press, 4th edition (2006, 2009, 2013, 2015).
  • Wittgenstein and International Relations Theory, in: Cerwyn Moore, ed., Interpretive Dialogues: Continental Philosophy and International Relations Theory. Routledge (2010).
  • Commentary, Nisha Shah, et.al., eds.. Metaphors of Globalization. Routledge (2008).
  • Bewitched by the Past: Social Memory, Trauma and International Relations, in Duncan Bell, ed., Memory, Trauma and World Politics. Palgrave (2006).
  • Constructing Institutional Interests: EU and NATO Enlargement. With Antje Wiener, in: Frank Schimmelfennig and Ulrich Sedelmeier, eds., The Politics of European Union Enlargement: Theoretical Approaches. Routledge (2005).
  • Breaking the Silence: Language and Method in International Relations, in Francois Debrix, ed. Language, Agency and Politics. M.E. Sharpe (2003).
  • Forward, Michael Nicholson, International Relations: A Concise Introduction, 2nd edition, Palgrave Press (2002).
  • Critical Methodology and Constructivism, in: K.M. Fierke and K.E. Jorgensen, Constructing International Relations: The Next Generation. M.E. Sharpe (2001).
  • Constructing Institutional Interests: EU and NATO Enlargement, with Antje Wiener, in T. Christianson, K.E. Jorgensen and A. Wiener, The Social Construction of Europe. Sage (2001).
  • Meaning, Method and Practice: Assessing the Changing Security Agenda Ten Years On,’ in Stephanie Lawson, ed. The New Agenda for International Relations. Polity Press (2001).
  • Constructing an Ethical Foreign Policy: Analysis and Practice from Below, in: Margot Light and Karen E. Smith, eds. Ethics and Foreign Policy. Cambridge University Press (2001).
  • Changing Worlds of Security, in: Keith Krause and Michael Williams, eds., Critical Security Studies. University of Minnesota Press (1997).    
  • At the Boundary: Language, Rules and Social Construction, in Knud Erik Jorgensen, ed., The Aarhus-Norsminde Papers: Constructivism, International Relations and European Studies, Institut for Statskundskab (1997).



  • Diplomacy and Conflict Intervention (IR3026)
  • Critical Approaches to International Relations (IR4522)
  • Security as Ethics: Rethinking the Global Polity (IR4561)
  • Research in International Relations (IR5601)
  • Agency and Strategy in Non-Western Political Thought (IR5055).

Research students

First supervisor

  • Yoav Galai

Second supervisor

  • Olga Burkhardt-Vetter
  • Kristen Eggeling

PhD supervision topics

Topics include:

  • Emotions, trauma and memory in international politics
  • Political self-sacrifice
  • Critical security studies
  • Non-western theory.

Further information

Participation in advisory and editorial boards

  • Advisory Board, Palgrave series on Critical Security Studies in the Global South
  • Advisory Board, Emotions: History, Culture, Society, new journal established by the Australian Research Council Centre for Excellence on the History of Emotions
  • Editorial Board, Series in International Relations, Cambridge University Press
  • Senior Editor, Oxford University Press Bibliographies in International Relations, 2014-2016
  • Advisory Board, International Relations in a Constructed World, book series
  • M.E. Sharpe, New York
  • Editorial Board, Global Society
  • Editorial Board, Critical Studies in Security.