Welcome to CAIT

Encouraging innovative theoretical research in International Relations

A latecomer to the modern canon of social sciences, the discipline of International Relations has a relatively narrow core: its roots in Anglo-American politics and academia created a Eurocentric bias; its keen desire to influence policy-making stood in the way of systematic theoretical analysis; and its limited conception of social science impeded the analysis of core norms and values. The Centre for Advanced International Theory thus aims to provide the space for systematic reflection on the concepts, actors, structures, norms, and practices of international politics.

To this end, CAIT invites advanced fundamental research on international politics from within and outside the discipline - including but not limited to international political theory, international historical sociology, international political economy and from all theoretical backgrounds, orthodox and heterodox - free of the requirement for direct policy relevance and reflexive of the knowledge/power nexus.

The Sussex International Theory Lectures showcase the relevance of innovative theoretical work in International Relations; the Sussex International Theory Prize values outstanding innovative theoretical research in International Relations; the annual International Theory Symposium provides the framework for thorough engagement with international theory and Visiting Fellowshipsworkshops, conferences and reading groups encourage exchange and collaboration in the field.Keep up to date with what is happening at CAIT by subscribing to our mailing list.

 on Twitter... 

Call for Papers: International CAIT Workshop

The BRICS’ contestation and negotiation of the expansion of the liberal international order: non-Western Think Tanks meet Anglo-American Think Tanks


During the past years, the study of think tanks and foundations has experienced a growth within the discipline of International Relations. Traditionally, critical scholars have tended to focus on the role of Anglo-American think tanks and foundations in shaping the “American century” or the “White Anglo-American order” after the Second World War. These institutions have been crucial actors in producing hegemonic ideas that were transplanted into the colonial world and the periphery of the capitalist liberal order with the aim of expanding and solidifying the power and influence of the West. The existing literature has mainly focused on the unilinear practises of power and production of elite knowledge that travelled from institutions, think tanks and foundations from the core of the Anglo-American international order to the periphery.

Building on those important contributions, this workshop seeks to push the boundaries of these debates. We are currently going through turbulent times where new powers such as China, Russia, Brazil, Mexico, Indonesia, India, Brazil are seemingly contesting the foundations of liberal international order. These globalising powers have realised the significance of the production of elite knowledge as a form of contestation and negotiation that can allow them to integrate into the existing international order to strengthen their positions through think tanks and foundations. Yet, the study of these “non-Western” think tanks and foundations remains rather neglected. Instead of exploring the production of elite knowledge as a unilinear process where non-Western countries act as mere passive recipients of the ideas produced by the Western imperial powers, we seek to explore a more holistic approach that conceives production of knowledge as a dialectical process and as a space of contestation and negotiation. Against this backdrop, we wish to understand how Anglo-American think tanks and foundations interact with these new “Anglo-American” watchers based in non-Western think tanks. How do these new watchers perceive the current international liberal order? What are the political effects of these new elite networks of non-Western intellectuals and their activities? Who are these new “Anglo-American” watchers? How are these new watchers networked? This workshop ultimately seeks to provide insights into the operations, networks, depth, breadth, longevity and prospects of Anglo-American power and the liberal international order.

The workshop will be online. It will be held on Wednesday 23 February 2022. The workshop is hosted by the Centre for Advanced International theory at the University of Sussex. The workshop is open and free for everyone, but we particularly encourage PhD researchers and early career scholars to apply.

The goal of this workshop is to produce an edited volume based on papers presented on this event.

Please send a 200-word abstract to: F.Perez-Mena@sussex.ac.uk by Sunday 31 October 2021

We welcome papers addressing the following issues:

  • Networks between “non-Western” US watchers and Anglo-American think tanks.
  • The political effects of these networks' activities.
  • The normative ideas that these think tanks produce about the coexistence and integration of these rising powers into the liberal international order.
  • Mapping out new non-Western think tanks and their key ideas.

 2021 Sussex International Theory Prize

The Centre for Advanced International Theory invites nominations for the 2021 Sussex International Theory Prize for the best piece of research in International Relations published in book form in 2020.

Wednesday 17 Mar 6pm

2020 Sussex International Theory Prize Lecture: Celebrating our 2020 prize winner: Inés Valdez, 2019. Transnational Cosmopolitanism. Kant, Du Bois, and Justice as a Political Craft 

*Recording now available here*

international theory prize - ines

 Sussex International Theory Lecture 2021

Tuesday 23 Feb 6pm

Mahmood Mamdani (Columbia) will be discussing his recent book 'Neither Settler nor Native: The Making and Unmaking of Permanent Minorities'.

Register here

 2021 Sussex Annual Symposium2

 2021 Sussex Annual Symposium

*Recording now available here*

Our 2021 Sussex Annual Symposium will celebrate the 25th anniversary of Siba Grovogui's pathbreaking book Sovereigns, Quasi Sovereigns, and Africans: Race and Self-Determination in International Law (University of Minnesota Press).

There will be a panel on 22 January 2021, 4-6pm, which is open to all.

 2021 Sussex Annual Symposium2

Panellists: Antony Anghie (National University of Singapore), Anna Agathangelou (York University), Christopher Gevers (University of KwaZulu-Natal), Freya Irani (Arcadia University), Timothy Vasko (Columbia University), Lionel Zevounou (University of Paris-Nanterre)

Register for the panel discussion via Eventbrite: https://bit.ly/3gBS4Sq

There will also be a workshop only open to the Sussex community on 21 January, 3-5pm. For further information please email cait@sussex.ac.uk.

Link to read the book: https://bit.ly/3gEjur5


2020 Sussex International Theory Prize

CAIT's 2020 Sussex International Theory Prize goes to:

Inés Valdez, 2019. Transnational Cosmopolitanism. Kant, Du Bois, and Justice as a Political Craft (New York: Cambridge University Press)

The public prize lecture will take place via Zoom webinar on Wednesday, 17 March 6-8pm.

 Register here: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/2020-sussex-international-theory-prize-lecture-tickets-131884328577

The Prize Committee noted in its Prize Statement:

Transnational Cosmopolitanism advances a radically reoriented theory of cosmopolitanism, making a powerful intervention into one of the most pressing 2020 Sussex International Theory Prize winnerissues in contemporary critical international political theory: how to deal with the (epistemic) racism intrinsic to much of the Western canon. Offering a carefully re-contextualized reading of Kant’s influential ideas about colonial conflict and world peace, the book demonstrates that his theory of cosmopolitanism is ill-suited to address the global injustices of the colonial present. While neo-Kantians reject Kant’s epistemological and ontological commitments to hierarchies of the human, Inés Valdez meticulously unearths how problematic assumptions about the West and progress towards peace bleed into contemporary theories of cosmopolitanism and limit their potential for tackling racism and imperialism as central forms of present day global injustice. A vital contribution to scholarship on global justice, International Relations and Critical Race Theory, Transnational Cosmopolitanism not only offers an excavation of racist and Eurocentric thought, it reads Kant ‘disloyally’, turning to alternative intellectual resources beyond the Western canon. Valdez fruitfully positions W.E.B. Du Bois as a global thinker and an interlocutor in the political thought of cosmopolitanism, drawing on both his neglected anti-colonial writings and what she refers to as his political craft, such as his involvement in the 1919 Pan-African Congress in Paris. The book directs our attention to transnational horizontal coalitions of people subject/ed to racist-colonial power and the ways in which they contest global injustices and imagine global politics otherwise. Charting new paths for creative, exegetically disloyal modes of reading that can radically reorient our normative priorities and ground our theorizing in concrete experiences of oppression and political practices of the struggle against it, Transnational Cosmopolitanism offers the kind of radical analysis and cutting-edge theoretical innovation that the Sussex Centre for Advanced International Theory seeks to promote.



2019 Sussex International Theory Prize

Climate Leviathan: A Political Theory of Our Planetary FutureThe Prize Committee decided after a stimulating meeting to award the prize to:

Geoff Mann & Joel Wainwright, Climate Leviathan: A Political Theory of Our Planetary Future
(London/New York: Verso 2018)

It was a real pleasure choosing from a very strong and diverse set of submissions. I would like to thank the CAIT Management Team - Melanie Richter-Montpetit, Beate Jahn and David Karp - for their superb work during the prize selection process. 

The winners will be invited to the School of Global Studies in 2019/20 to deliver the 2019 Sussex International Theory Prize Lecture.


Critique in Times of Post-Truth - Dr. Sebastian Schindler

Dr. Sebastian Schindler from the University of Frankfurt's School of Social Science is our latest CAIT Visiting Research Fellow.

Sebastian is a research associate in the working group ‘International Organisations’ at the Frankfurt Cluster of Excellence ‘Normative Orders’. His research is located at the intersection between IR Theories, international organisations, and international political theory. His essay “Man versus State: Contested Agency in the United Nations” was awarded Millennium’s Northedge Prize in 2014. Since 2016, he serves as speaker of the Young Researchers’ Group in the IR section of the German Political Science Association.

Sebastian presented his current work entitled "Critique in Times of Post-Truth" on Friday, 30th of November 2018 to the Department.

More details: Critique in Times of Post-Truth

New Leverhulme project on Women and the History of International Thought (WHIT)

This collaborative and multi-disciplinary four-year project (2018-2022), generously funded by the Leverhulme Trust, is the first sustained attempt to write historical women back into the history of international thought and the academic discipline of International Relations (IR).

Visit the website: Women and the History of International Thought


Centre for Advanced International Theory
University of Sussex
Falmer, Brighton

01273 873374

E cait@sussex.ac.uk


    No items are currently available.

View all events