Research Interests

I am a political scientist and theorist with interests in the history of political ideas and their application in international relations and global comparative politics. I work both in the field of international political theory and empirical comparative/global politics (with a regional focus on Germany and the European Union); and I am especially interested in the intersections between these subfields.

My current research employs political theory to reflect on global challenges, cosmopolitan rights claims and attitudes, and conditions of global political modernity. My focus is on international human rights, responses to crimes against humanity, and the appropriation of cosmopolitan norms in regional & national political and constitutional contexts. Among other things, I explore cosmopolitan claims and their meaning for democracy, multi-level constitutionalism, and global justice in a "partially globalized world" (Robert Keohane). I am currently finishing a book with the preliminary title The Political Constitution of Humanity: Global Politics after Arendt and Adorno. It reconstructs, reappraises and applies the cosmopolitan ideas in the political thought of Adorno and Arendt. In so doing, I seek to ground politics of human dignity and rights that vernacularize cosmopolitan norms within and beyond existing political, legal and territorial boundaries. I hereby seek to illuminate cases of cosmopolitics 'from below' taking shape in different political arenas, from the European Union to the public unrest in Iran and the Arab Spring. I also keep a keen interest in broader issues relating to cosmopolitan claims in the context of European identity and integration.

Against the backdrop of my theoretical work, I examine the ‘cosmopolitanization’ of politics and political party spaces in Germany, the European Union, the Middle East and the US, as exemplified in ethnic minority outreach by mainstream parties and the rising significance of human rights norms domestically and in international affairs. But I also pay particular attention to counter-cosmopolitan political formations. I am especially interested in the radical right as well as antisemitic, racist and counter-cosmopolitan contestations of politico-cultural change, and respective challenges for human rights politics. In this context, I have researched radical right and populist parties, anti-immigrant politics as well as counter-cosmopolitanism, antisemitism and racism in Germany, Europe, and the global context. Politics and Resentment: Antisemitism and Counter-Cosmopolitanism in the European Union (Boston & Leiden: Brill, 2011, ed. with Julius H. Schoeps) has recently been published. I have a special interest in examining modern antisemitism and its social, socio-psychological and political dynamics. Among other things, I have published Democracy and the Image of Jews (VS Verlag, 2004) and a forthcoming book on The Frankfurt School and Antisemitism: Politics, Theory, and Philosophy, to be published with SUNY Press in their "Philosophy and Race" Series edited by Robert Bernasconi and T. Denean Sharpley-Whiting. It is the first systematic study of the Frankfurt School's work on antisemitism.

As a passionate sports connoisseur I am also interested in the theoretical and empirical relationship between the world of sports and political/cultural cosmopolitanism. Gaming the World: How Sports are Reshaping Global Politics and Culture (Princeton and Oxford: Princeton University Press, 2010, co-authored with Andrei S. Markovits) is a book that explores the relationship between cosmopolitanism, "glocal" politics, and sports. But it also looks at racist and antisemitic backlashes against cosmopolitan hybridity and diversity in the world of sports. The book and an ongoing research project hereby look at the way sports affect, affirm, and transform political and cultural identities and understandings of citizenship. We argue that it is especially through particular ties to clubs and teams--and to resilient, situated sports identities--that cosmopolitan norms and the recognition of diversity are disseminated. 

Moreover, a collaborative project with Samir Gandesha (Simon Fraser University) examines Arendt and Adorno's theories in comparative and historical perspective. An edited volume on both thinkers (co-edited with Samir Gandesha), Arendt and Adorno: Political and Philosophical Investigations, has just been published with Stanford University Press. I also work on a book project on cosmopolitanism in the history of political ideas (working title Governing the World: Political Cosmopolitanisms from the Ancients to the 21st Century). 

Research Areas

  • Global political theory and international relations theory: global governance, cosmopolitan democracy, and global constitutionalism; transnational politics & non-state actors; human rights, crimes against humanity & totalitarianism; ancient, modern and contemporary international political thought
  • Global comparative politics & international relations: (Counter-)cosmopolitanism in global politics, with a special focus on Germany, the EU, and the Middle East; anti-immigrant politics & party competition; European populist & radical right parties; political authoritarianism & democracy; post-genocide politics
  • Political psychology and social research on collective prejudice: antisemitism, racism & genocidal politics
  • Global politics, cosmopolitanism, and global sports