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

Global Corpse Politics book jacket
Global Corpse Politics: The Obscenity Taboo

Jessica Auchter, University of Tennessee, Chattanooga

October 2021

ISBN: 9781316511657

Taboos have long been considered key examples of norms in global politics, with important strategic effects. Auchter focuses on how obscenity functions as a regulatory norm by focusing on dead body images. Obscenity matters precisely because it is applied inconsistently across multiple cases. Examining empirical cases including ISIS beheadings, the death of Muammar Qaddafi, Syrian torture victims, and the fake death images of Osama bin Laden, this book offers a rich theoretical explanation of the process by which the taboo surrounding dead body images is transgressed and upheld, through mechanisms including trigger warnings and media framings. This corpse politics sheds light on political communities and the structures in place that preserve them, including the taboos that regulate purported obscene images. Auchter questions the notion that the key debate at play in visual politics related to the dead body image is whether to display or not to display, and instead narrates various degrees of visibility, invisibility, and hyper-visibility.

Cover of Environmentalism and Global International Society
Environmentalism and Global International Society

Robert Falkner, London School of Economics and Political Science

July 2021

ISBN: 9781108833011

Environmentalism and Global International Society reveals how environmental values and ideas have transformed the normative structure of international relations. Falkner argues that environmental stewardship has become a universally accepted fundamental norm, or primary institution, of global international society. He traces the history of environmentalism's rise from a loose set of ideas originating in the nineteenth century to a globally applicable norm in the twentieth century, which has come to redefine international legitimacy and states' global responsibilities. He shows how this deep norm change came about as a result of the interplay between non-state and state actors, and how the new environmental norm has interacted with the existing primary institutions of global international society, most notably sovereignty and territoriality, diplomacy, international law, and the market. This book shifts the attention from the presentist focus in the study of global environmental politics to the longue durée of global norm change in the greening of international relations.

Cover of Law and Sentiment in International Politics
Law and Sentiment in International Politics
Ethics, Emotions, and the Evolution of the Laws of War

David Traven, California State University, Fullerton

May 2021

Paperback ISBN: 9781108845007

Drawing on recent research in moral psychology and neuroscience, this book argues that universal moral beliefs and emotions shaped the evolution of the laws of war, and in particular laws that protect civilians. It argues that civilian protection norms are not just a figment of the modern West, but that these norms were embryonic in earlier societies and civilizations, including Ancient China, early Islam, and medieval Europe. However, despite their ubiquity, this book argues that civilian protection rules are inherently fragile, and that their fragility lies not just in failures of compliance, but also in how moral emotions shaped the design of the law. The same beliefs and emotions that lead people to judge that it is wrong to intentionally target civilians can paradoxically constitute the basis for excusing states for incidental civilian casualties, or collateral damage. To make the laws of war work better for civilians, this book argues that we need to change how we think about the ethics of killing in war.

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.

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