Department of Politics and International Studies

Dr Felix Berenskötter

Key information

Department of Politics and International Studies
MA (Rutgers), PhD (LSE)
Russell Square: College Buildings
Email address
Telephone number
+44 (0) 207 898 4682
Support hours
On sabbatical


Felix Berenskötter is a scholar of International Relations with a PhD from the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE). Before joining SOAS, he was a Research Associate at the Department of War Studies, King's College London, and a Research Fellow at the John Sloan Dickey Center for International Understanding, Dartmouth College. His work has been supported by grants from the Fulbright Commission, the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and the Leverhulme Trust.

Felix was the founding chair of the Theory Section of the International Studies Association (ISA), co-convened the Interpretivism in International Relations Working Group of the British International Studies Association (BISA) and currently serves on the Governing Board of the European International Studies Association (EISA). He was an editor of Millennium: Journal of International Studies and part of the founding editorial team of The Journal of Global Security Studies (JoGSS). He founded and co-edits the book series Bristol Studies in International Theory (Bristol University Press) with Neta Crawford and Stefano Guzzini.

Felix served as Head of the Department of Politics and International Studies at SOAS from July 2019 to January 2023, which included service at Executive Board and the Board of Trustees.

    Research interests

    Much of Felix’ work revolves around the question how we construct conceptual frameworks to understand and explain world politics. He is particularly interested in (i) the parameters of ‘deep theorising’ as a creative endeavour and accounts of political agency within it, and (ii) the analysis of concepts, including their places in history, their function as building blocks of theory, and how they guide political discourse and action.

    Felix’ research explores facets of power, identity, and security in world politics, and how these are intertwined with visions of the past and the future. Over the last decade, his main project has been to develop a deeper understanding of international friendship, both its formation and its dissolution, as a distinct phenomenon. He studies these issues empirically through questions of European ‘security’ and ‘peace’, and by examining Germany’s ‘special relationships’ with other states. In addition, he sees them as lenses through which to examine the sociology of the academic field of International Relations.  

    More recently, Felix also turned his attention to the question of the value of the university and its place in society, both as an ideal and as practiced reality, and the politics surrounding this question.

    For publications see his profiles at or

    PhD Supervision

    Name Title
    Taylor Kenzie Borowetz Contemporary Abolitionism and the Haitian Revolution: Recursive Histories of Liberation
    Chi Yeung Chiu The dynamics of party interactions between Hong Kong and Taiwan in post-handover years: An ontological security perspective
    Sachiho Funabashi The Role of 'Peace' in the Foreign Policy of the UK and Japan: The Case of Afghanistan
    Paul Kaletsch Reconceptualizing Resistance in Light of the End and Failure of Hong Kong’s 2014 Protests
    Jessica Ré Phillips Picturing Power: Visual Images of China-Africa Relations


    Contact Felix