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

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

Synopsis coming soon.

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.

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.

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