photo of Patricia Owens

Prof Patricia Owens

Post:Professor of International Relations (International Relations)
Other posts:Head of Department of International Relations (School of Global Studies)
Location:ARTS C C328

Telephone numbers
UK:01273 872735
International:+44 1273 872735

Research expertise:
download vCarddownload vCard to your mobile


Patricia Owens is Professor and Head of the Department of International Relations.

She joined Sussex in 2011 after holding positions in London and Oxford (where she recieved a teaching excellence award). In the summer of 2018, Owens will be Visiting Kathleen Fitzpatrick Professor as part of the Laureate Research Program in International History at the University of Sydney. She is a former fellow of the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard.

Between 2018 and 2022, she will direct the Leverhulme Research Project, Women and the History of International Thought. She is also a Co-Investigator on a Danish Council for Independent Research project. 

Her most recent book, Economy of Force: Counterinsurgency and the Historical Rise of the Social (Cambridge University Press, 2015) won the 2016 Susan Strange Prize for the Best Book in international studies, the 2016 International Studies Association Theory Section Best Book Award, and was Runner up for the 2016 Francesco Guicciardini Prize for Best Book in Historical International Relations. Owens' first book, Between War and Politics: International Relations and the Thought of Hannah Arendt (Oxford, 2007) was the subject of a roundtable in the journal International Politics

Owens was co-editor of European Journal of International Relations  between 2013 and 2018 and is co-editor of the leading undergraduate textbook in IR, The Globalization of World Politics (Oxford, 2016), now in its 7th edition and translated into Arabic, French, Korean, Polish, Greek, Turkish, Slovene, and Macedonian.

She has held a number of fellowships and competitive awards. In addition to the fellowship at the Radcliffe Institute at Harvard, she was the Seton-Watson Research Fellowship at Oriel College, Oxford; the Jane Eliza Proctor Research Fellowship at Princeton University; a Visiting Professorship at UCLA; a post-doctoral fellow at the University of Southern California, and a Visiting Scholar at UC-Berkeley, supported by a grant from the Social Science Research Council. Owens holds graduate degrees from Cambridge and Aberystwyth.

Patricia has recently given invited talks/keynotes at Oxford, Cambridge, Harvard, LSE, Ohio, Queen Mary, Newcastle, Glasgow, Sheffield, Aberystwyth, and Exeter. Owens sits on the editorial boards of European Journal of International Relations,  Security Dialogue and Political Studies and previously served on the boards of Journal of International Political TheoryHumanity: an International Journal of Human Rights, Humanitarianism and Development and The New Strategist and was a managing editor of Cambridge Review of International Affairs.

Follow her on and read a recent interview with Patricia at E-International Relations


Head of the Department of International Relations

Senator representing School of Global Studies

Co-editor, European Journal of International Relations

Previous roles

Management Committee, Centre for Advanced International Theory

Postgraduate Research Convenor

Peer Review College, Department of International Relations 

Social Sciences Academic Promotions Board Member 

School of Global Studies Promotions Advistory Committee

Community and Business

During 2018, Patricia will be working for the European Commission on a project to increase dialogue between academia, policy Director-Generals and the Joint Research Centre to shape a post-Lisbon narrative of citizen-engagement, particularly drawing on the thought of Hannah Arendt. The project builds on a mix of philosophy, political theory, linguistics, and economics. This activity has been selected by the Scientific Committee in the framework of the ER-activity tier programme (CT-EX2017D305961-101-1)

As part of this collaboration, Nicole Dewandre of the European Commission was a Research Associate of the Sussex Centre for Advanced International Theory in the summer of 2017 

During 2015, Patricia was a member of the Contact Group of experts as part of British Ministry of Defence preparations for the Strategic Defence and Security Review

In 2014, Patricia was invited to attend the Chief of the Defence Staff’s Strategy Forum at Oxford and an ESRC event on relations between academia and British security policy.

NGO-experts and scholars discussed Patricia's work on wartime sexual violence at an international conference in Hamburg.

Other wider engagements include the keynote address at the UK’s Armed Forces Chaplaincy Annual Conference and speaking at Chatham House and the Foreign Press Association. 

As part of her Leverhulme Research Project Grant, Patricia will co-curate a Public Exhibition, 'Women Thinkers of the International', at the LSE Library in London. This will run in the Spring of 2021, with the opening to coincide with a major international conference on the project.