Prof. Dr. Alexander Spencer

Chair for International Relations

Prof. Dr. Alexander Spencer

Faculty for Humanities (FHW)
Institute II Political Science (PW)
Zschokkestr. 32, 39104, Magdeburg, G40-306
Sprechzeiten: office hours by appointment via e-mail
Curriculum vitae
  • Since October 2017: Chair of International Relations (W-3) and Head of the M.A. programme Peace and Conflict Studies (PACS), Institute of Social Sciences, Otto-von-Guericke University Magdeburg, Germany
  • April 2016 - October 2017: Acting Chair of International Relations (W-3), Institute of Social Sciences, Otto-von-Guericke University Magdeburg, Germany
  • 2015 - 2016: Visiting Senior Research Fellow, School of Law, Politics and Sociology, University of Sussex, United Kingdom
  • September 2014 - March 2015: Acting Chair of Global Governance and Public Policy (W-3), Geschwister-Scholl-Institute for Political Science, Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich, Germany
  • 2010 - 2016: Assistant Professor, non-tenure track (Wissenschaftlicher Assistent, Akademischer Rat a.Z. (A13)), Geschwister-Scholl-Institute for Political Science, Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich, Germany
  • 2010 - 2015: Habilitation in Political Science, Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich, Germany
  • 2005 - 2010: Dr. phil. (PhD equivalent) in Political Science, Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich, Germany
  • 2009 - 2010: Research and Teaching Associate (Wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter) at the Chair for Global Governance, Geschwister-Scholl-Institute for Political Science, Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich, Germany
  • 2008 - 2009: Research and Teaching Associate (Wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter), Department of Political Science, Technical University Munich, Germany
  • 2007 - 2008: Lecturer (Lehrkraft für besondere Aufgaben) at the Chair for International Relations, Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich, Germany
  • 2007: Online Tutor (Lehrbeauftragter) for the International Relations Masters Online Program, Free University Berlin, Germany
  • 2005 - 2007: Teaching Fellow and Research Assistant (Lehrbeauftragter und Wissenschaftliche Hilfskraft) at the Chair of International Politics, Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich, Germany
  • 2003 - 2004: M.Sc. in International Relations, University of Bristol, United Kingdom
  • 2000 - 2001: Erasmus exchange in Political Science and History, Universidad de Granada, Spain
  • 1998 - 2002: B.A. (Honours) in Political Science and Spanish, School of European Studies, University of Sussex, United Kingdom


Research Monographs (* peer reviewed)

     romantic narratives in international politics


     the tabloid terrorist



Edited Volumes, Special Issues & Book Series (* peer reviewed)

  • Visualization of Peace, Peace & Change, Special Issue, Vol. 45, No. 1 (2020) [edited together with Stephan Engelkamp & Kristina Roepstorff].

     Visualization of Peace


     political mistakes and policy failures in international relations


     fiascos in public policy and foreign policy


     reconciliation after terrorism


     terrorismusforschung in deutschland


  • Politische Diskurse, Book Series, Baden-Baden: Nomos (2015) [together with Eva Herschinger and Judith Renner].



Peer Reviewed Journal Articles

  • All Just a Bit of Fun: The Camouflaging and Defending Functions of Humour in British and Swedish Armed Forces Videos, in: Cambridge Review of International Affairs [Online First, with Daniel Beck]. Abstract;Full text
  • Moving Images: Visual Metaphors of Peace in the Movie Mango Dreams, in: Peace & Change, Vol. 45, No. 1 (2020), 126-150 [with Stephan Engelkamp & Kristina Roepstorff]. Abstract;Full text
  • State of the Art of Visualizing Peace, in: Peace & Change, Vol. 45, No. 1 (2020), 5-27 [with Stephan Engelkamp & Kristina Roepstorff]. Abstract;Full text
  • Narrative Genres of Brexit: The Leave Campaign and the Success of Romance, in: Journal of European Public Policy [Online First, mit Kai Oppermann]. Abstract;Full text
  • Heroes Welcome: An Exceptional Story of ‘Good’ Refugees in the German Tabloid Discourse, in: Journal of Multicultural Discourses, Vol. 14, No. 3 (2019), 220-239 [with Tim Heinkelmann-Wild & Daniel Beck]. Abstract; Full text
  • Once Upon a Time: Western Genres and Narrative Constructions of a Romantic Jihad, in: Journal of Language and Politics, Vol. 18, No. 1 (2019), 21-39 [mit Hanna Pfeifer]. Abstract; Full text
  • Narratives and the Romantic Genre in IR: Dominant and Marginalized Stories of Arab Rebellion in Libya, in: International Politics, Vol. 56, No. 1 (2019), 123-140. Abstract; Full text.
  • Narrating Success and Failure: Congressional Debates on the 'Iran Nuclear Deal', in: European Journal of International Relations, Vol. 24, No. 2 (2018),  [with Kai Oppermann]. Abstract;Full text
  • Studying Fiascos: Bringing Public and Foreign Policy Together, in: Journal of European Public Policy, Vol. 23, No. 5 (2016), 643-652 [together with Kai Oppermann]. First page preview; Full text.
  • Telling Stories of Failure: Narrative Constructions of Foreign Policy Fiascos, in Journal of European Public Policy, Vol. 23, No. 5 (2016), 685-701 [with Kai Oppermann]. Abstract; Full text.
  • “Es war einmal ein Fehler”: Fiaskos als Narrative in der Außenpolitik, Zeitschrift für Politik, Vol. 62, No. 2 (2016), 156-169 [with Kai Oppermann]. Full text.
  • Romantic stories of the pirate in IARRRH: The failure of linking piracy and terrorism narratives in Germany, in: International Studies Perspectives, Vol. 15, No. 3 (2014), 297-312. Abstract; Full text (PDF, 126 kB).
  • Contested Stories of Commercial Security: Self and Media Narratives of Private Military Companies, in: Critical Studies on Security, Vol. 1, No. 3 (2013), 326-346 [with Andreas Kruck] Abstract; Post-Print Version (PDF 425 kb).
  • De-Antagonising the Other: Changing Constructions of the Taliban and the Possibility of Reconciliation, in: Global Society, Vol. 27, No. 4 (2013), 475-496 [with Judith Renner] Abstract; Full text (PDF, 280 kB).
  • Thinking Alike? Salience and Metaphor analysis as Cognitive Approaches to Foreign Policy Analysis, in: Foreign Policy Analysis, Vol. 9, No. 1 (2013), 39-56 [with Kai Oppermann] Abstract; Full text (PDF, 236 kB).
  • Reconciliation with Al Qaeda?, in: Peace Review: A Journal of Social Justice, Vol. 24, No. 2 (2012), 202-209 [with Judith Renner; reprinted in Roger Mac Ginty (ed.) Peacebuilding (Sage Library of International Relations), Vol. 3, London: Sage (2014)]. First page preview
  • Sic[k] of the New Terrorism Debate? A Response to our Critics, in: Critical Studies on Terrorism, Vol. 3, No. 3 (2011), 459-467. Abstract; Full text (PDF, 114 kB)
  • Bild dir Deine Meinung. Die metaphorische Konstruktion des Terrorismus in den Medien, in: Zeitschrift für Internationale Beziehungen, Vol. 18, No. 1 (2011), 47-76 [reprinted in Stephan Stetter, Carlo Masala und Marina Karbowski (eds.) Mit Sicherheit unsicher? Debatten zu Krieg und Frieden in den internationalen Beziehungen, Baden Baden: Nomos (2014)]. Full text (PDF, 173 kB)
  • International Relations at the Movies: Teaching and Learning About International Politics Through Film, in: Perspectives: The Review of International Affairs, Vol. 17, No.1 (2009), pp. 83-104 [with Stefan Engert]. Abstract; Full journal text (PDF, 1,70 MB)
  • Counter-(T)error: the Role of Immigration in the Fight against Terrorism, in: Hamburg Review of Social Science, Vol. 2, No. 2 (2007) 58-79. Full text (PDF, 157 kB)
  • Questioning the Concept of 'New Terrorism', in: Peace, Conflict and Development, Vol. 8 (2006), 1-33. Full text (PDF, 337 kB)
  • Counter-Terrorism in New Europe, in: International Public Policy Review, Vol. 2, No.2 (2006), 92-112. Full text (PDF, 536 kB)
  • The Problems of Evaluating Counter-Terrorism, in: UNISCI Discussion Papers, No. 12 (2006), 179-201.
    Full text (PDF, 308 kB)



Book Chapters (* peer reviewed)

  • Narrative Constructions of Mistakes: Germany’s Refusal to Support Military Intervention in Libya, in Andreas Kruck, Kai Oppermann and Alexander Spencer (eds.) Political Mistakes and Policy Failures in International Relations, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan (2018), 55-77 [with Kai Oppermann].*
  • War on Terror als Narrativ: Krieg der Erzählungen zwischen dem Westen und ISIS, in: Armin Flender, Volker M. Heins, Jo Reichertz, Jennifer Schellhöh (eds.) Großerzählungen des Extremen, Bielefeld: Transcript Verlag (2018), 195-210 [with Hanna Pfeifer].
  • "Terrorismus und internationale Politik", in Carlo Masala und Frank Sauer (eds.) Handbuch Internationalen Beziehungen, 2. updated edition, Wiesbaden: Springer VS (2015) [forthcoming, together with Christopher Daase].
  • Vom „Söldner“ zum „Samariter“? Die narrativen Grenzen strategischer Imagekonstruktion von privaten Sicherheitsdienstleistern, in Wilhelm Hofmann, Judith Renner and Katja Teich (eds.) Narrative Formen der Politik, Wiesbaden: Springer VS (2014),pp. 145-168 [together with Andreas Kruck].
  • "Happiness is only a Teardrop away: A Neo-Marxist Interpretation of Shrek", in Aurélie Lacassagne, Tim Nieguth and François Dépelteau (eds.) Investigating Shrek: Power, Identity and Ideology, Basingstoke: Palgrave (2011), pp. 59-72 [together with Andreas Kruck and Judith Renner].*
  • "Old and New European Counter-Terrorism", in Paul Heywood, Erik Jones, Martin Rhodes and Ulrich Sedelmeier (eds.) Developments in European Politics, Second Edition, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan (2011), pp. 281-299.*
  • "Die Entwicklung der deutschen Terrorismusforschung: auf dem Weg zu einer ontologischen und epistemologischen Bestandsaufnahme", in Alexander Spencer, Alexander Kocks und Kai Harbrich (eds.) Terrorismusforschung in Deutschland, Wiesbaden: VS Verlag (2011), pp. 9-21 [together with Alexander Kocks und Kai Harbrich].
  • "Stand und Perspektiven der Politikwissenschaftlichen Terrorismusforschung", in Alexander Spencer, Alexander Kocks und Kai Harbrich (eds.) Terrorismusforschung in Deutschland, Wiesbaden: VS Verlag (2011), pp. 25-47 [together with Christopher Daase].
  • "Ein Goldenes Zeitalter der Terrorismusforschung oder macht der Letzte bitte das Licht aus?", in Alexander Spencer, Alexander Kocks und Kai Harbrich (eds.) Terrorismusforschung in Deutschland, Wiesbaden: VS Verlag (2011), pp. 306-322 [together with Kai Harbrich und Alexander Kocks].



Policy Papers and other Publications (selection) 

  • Trump, Brexit & ‘Post-Truth’: How Post-Structuralist IR Theories can help us understand World Order in the 21st Century, Zeitschrift für Politikwissenschaft, Vol. 28, No. 3 [with Judith Renner, Online First]. Full Text
  • Images, visions and narrative identity formation of ISIS: a reply, Global Discourse, Vol. 7, No. 2-3 (2017), 260-263.
  • Ein deutsches Fiasko? Deutschlands Enthaltung bei der UN-Resolution zu Libyen oder was die Internationalen Beziehungen von der Erzählforschung lernen können, CAS Aviso, No. 9 (2014) [mit Kai Oppermann]. Full Text
  • Lessons Learnt. Terrorism and the Media, AHRC Public Policy Series, No. 4 (2012). Full Text
  • From War to Reconciliation: Changing Security Strategies Towards the Taliban from Bush to Obama, Peace in Progress, No. 10 (2011) [with Judith Renner]. Full Text
  • Don’t Mention the War or the World Cup: A Report on a British-German IR Conference, Zeitschrift für Internationale Beziehungen, Vol. 15, No. 2 (2008), 303-315 [with Kai Oppermann].Full Text


Research focus
  • terrorism and conflict studies
  • critical security studies
  • foreign and security policy
  • theories of international relations
  • non-state actors
  • discourse analysis
  • narratives
  • media
  • cultural turn
  • constructivism
Office hours

For current office hours please visit LSF.

PhD at our Chair

The chair of International Relations offers the opportunity to complete your individual research project in the field of Peace and Conflict Studies, International Relations or a closely-related subject area.

A PhD or rather the German equivalent “Dr. phil.” is a substantial scientific piece of work which takes on average 4-5 years to complete.

There currently is no graduate school or structured PhD programme. PhDs are supervised individually by Alexander Spencer and the supervision is tailored according to the individual needs and abilities of the candidates.

This includes a research seminar each term in which all the PhD students and scientific staff of the chair present their current research in order to get feedback. PhD students are expected to participate in these seminars on a regular basis.

For those interested in pursuing an academic career after their PhD, the chair offers PhD students the opportunity to gain valuable teaching experience and give seminars in the Master’s Programme of PACS, voluntarily and on topics of their individual research focus.


For detailed information please visit: PhD at the Chair of International Relations 

Last Modification: 29.09.2020 - Contact Person: Webmaster