Our book series

Cambridge Studies in International Relations is a joint initiative we have undertaken with Cambridge University Press (CUP). The series comprises over 150 books and publishes the best new scholarship in International Studies, irrespective of subject matter, methodological approach or theoretical perspective. We seek to bring the latest theoretical work in International Relations to bear on the most important problems and issues in global politics. The book series was established in 1985 and publishes three to four books per year.

You can browse through and purchase the full series on the CUP website. If you’re a BISA member you’re entitled to a 40% discount on any title in the series, as well as 25% off any other CUP titles. Access your discount by entering the code supplied in your membership welcome email.


  • Evelyn Goh
  • Christian Reus-Smit
  • Nicholas J. Wheeler
  • Cambridge University Press Editor: John Haslam: jhaslam@cambridge.org 

Editorial Board: Jacqueline Best, Karin Fierke, William Grimes, Yuen Foong Khong, Andrew Kydd, Andrew Linklater, Elizabeth Shakman Hurd, Jacqui True, Leslie Vinjamuri, Mark Webber, Alexander Wendt

Featured titles

Secrets in Global Governance
Secrets in Global Governance
Disclosure Dilemmas and the Challenge of International Cooperation

Allison Carnegie, Columbia University, New York , Austin Carson, University of Chicago

June 2020

ISBN: 9781108745949

Scholars have long argued that transparency makes international rule violations more visible and improves outcomes. Secrets in Global Governance revises this claim to show how equipping international organizations (IOs) with secrecy can be a critical tool for eliciting sensitive information and increasing cooperation. States are often deterred from disclosing information about violations of international rules by concerns of revealing commercially sensitive economic information or the sources and methods used to collect intelligence. IOs equipped with effective confidentiality systems can analyze and act on sensitive information while preventing its wide release. Carnegie and Carson use statistical analyses of new data, elite interviews, and archival research to test this argument in domains across international relations, including nuclear proliferation, international trade, justice for war crimes, and foreign direct investment. Secrets in Global Governance brings a groundbreaking new perspective to the literature of international relations.

The Closure of the International System
The Closure of the International System
How Institutions Create Political Equalities and Hierarchies

Lora Anne Viola, Freie Universität Berlin

June 2020

ISBN: 9781108482257

As global governance appears to become more inclusive and democratic, many scholars argue that international institutions act as motors of expansion and democratization. The Closure of the International System challenges this view, arguing that the history of the international system is a series of institutional closures, in which institutions such as diplomacy, international law, and international organizations make rules to legitimate the inclusion of some actors and the exclusion of others. While international institutions facilitate collective action and common goods, Viola's closure thesis demonstrates how these gains are achieved by limiting access to rights and resources, creating a stratified system of political equals and unequals. The coexistence of equality and hierarchy is a constitutive feature of the international system and its institutions. This tension is relevant today as multilateral institutions are challenged by disaffected citizens, non-Western powers, and established great powers discontent with the distribution of political rights and authority.

Wrestling with God book cover
Wrestling with God
Ethical Precarity in Christianity and International Relations

Cecelia Lynch, University of California, Irvine

March 2020

Paperback ISBN: 9781108704847

Contrary to charges of religious “dogma,” Christian actors in international politics often wrestle with the lack of a clear path in determining what to do and how to act, especially in situations of violence and when encountering otherness. Lynch argues that it is crucial to recognise the ethical precarity of decision-making and acting. This book contextualizes and examines ethical struggles and justifications that key figures and movements gave during the early modern period of missionary activity in the Americas; in the interwar debates about how to act vis-à-vis fascism, economic oppression and colonialism in a “secular” world; in liberation theology's debates about the use of violence against oppression and bloodshed; and in contemporary Christian humanitarian negotiations of religious pluralism and challenges to the assumptions of western Christianity. Lynch explores how the wrestling with God that took place in each of these periods reveals ethical tensions that continue to impact both Christianity and international relations.

Restraint book cover
Restraint in International Politics

Brent J. Steele, University of Utah

October 2019

Adobe eBook Reader ISBN: 9781316997840

The first comprehensive examination of restraint in international politics, considered across a range of psychological, social, political, and institutional contexts as a political process, device, and strategy. Surveying how restraint has been understood in international relations and political theory, with focus given to Aristotle and Machiavelli, Steele utilises Carl Jung's theories of complexes and the libido to broaden the conceptual definition of restraint as a phenomenon that is not only individual and inward-looking, but also relational and societal. Exploring its development, uses, expressions and challenges through history and in contemporary times, this book analyses the politics of restraint in processes of security, political economy, foreign policy and global public health. Situating restraint alongside similar concepts such as moderation, containment, and constraint, Steele asks against what, and from what, are we restraining ourselves, who authorises restraint, and what are the risks and rewards (both ethical and practical). Steele concludes with a balanced political and normative argument for restraint going forward.

Share this page