Department of Politics and International Studies

Professor Hagar Kotef

Key information

Department of Politics and International Studies Professor of Political Theory
Russell Square, College Buildings
Email address
Support hours
Term 2:00pm-3:00pm by appointment.


Hagar Kotef is a Professor of Political Theory in the department of Politics and International Studies. She currently works on an ESRC-funded project on torture and bureaucracy in Israel/Palestine, in collaboration with the Public Committee against Torture in Israel.  

Her recent book, The Colonizing Self (Or: Home and Homelessness in Israel/Palestine), published by Duke UP, 2020, examines the construction of political belonging and territorial attachments in settler colonies. It investigates how people develop attachment to space not despite violence, or by denying it, but rather through violence. The Colonizing Self won the C.B Macpherson book award, the Yale Ferguson Award, and the Spitz Prize in Democratic Theory. It further received Honorable Mentions of the MESA Fatema Mernissi Book Award, the Sussex International Theory Prize, and the IPS-ISA book award. 

Her previous book, Movement and the Ordering of Freedom (Duke UP, 2015) charts the conceptual history of mobility and immobility in the history of political thought and the structuring of political spaces: from the writings of Locke, Hobbes, and Mill to the sophisticated technologies of control that circumscribe the lives of Palestinians in the Occupied West Bank.

Before joining SOAS she held positions and fellowships at the Minerva Humanities Center at Tel Aviv University, the Department of Politics and Government at Ben Gurion University, Columbia University's Society of Fellows, and the University of CA, Berkeley. 

Research interests

Research Interests/projects: At the present Prof. Kotef works on an ESRC project on the civic infrastructures of torture, looking into the array of state apparatuses and institutions that are implicated in the prolonged sanctioning of torture in Israel. This project further considers torture as a political technology whose effects reach much beyond the torture chamber. 

PhD supervision areas: 

  • Early modern political thought, history of political thought  
  • Empire, imperialism and colonialism in the history of political thought  
  • Palestine/Israel  
  • Postcolonial theory   
  • Politics and Society in Israel; the Israeli Palestinian conflict  
  • poststructuralism (Foucault, Derrida) 

PhD Supervision

Name Title
Taylor Kenzie Borowetz Contemporary Abolitionism and the Haitian Revolution: Recursive Histories of Liberation
Bethany Elce Implicated or innocent? A postcolonial feminist perspective on human rights accompaniment work in Palestine and the UK (Working title)
Mesrob Kassemdjian Hezbollah and Hamas: A chequered alliance
Ms Anna E. Kensicki Space, Time and Narrative: Mapping Mediated, Experiential and Imaginary Constructs
Barbara Schenkel Women's Citizenship in Jordan


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