Presented by Professor Karen Alter (Northwestern University)

Professor Alter juxtaposes how international legal and ethical approaches provide different guides to when and how force can be used in international politics, and in war. Illustrated with examples from contemporary politics, Alter will seek to convince you that there is no inherent conflict between the national interest and international ethics, especially because ethical guides are more restrictive regarding when force can and should be deployed in international politics. And she will suggest what it will take to increase the role of ethics in international affairs. Profesor Karen J. Alter is Professor of Political Science and Law at Northwestern University. Alter’s expertise concerns global and regional judicialization of international relations, with a particular focus on international adjudication. Alter is author of the award-winning book The New Terrain of International Law: Courts, Politics, Rights. Alter’s new research focuses on the construction of global economic rules regulating trade and money, and on the determinants of politically sustainable capitalism.

About School Research Seminar Series

This series brings together the School’s research community and domestic as well as international leaders in the field of politics and international affairs. Across each semester, the series showcases a diverse and exciting range of topics. 

For further inquiries contact Dr Seb Kaempf ( 
Please note that most of past research seminars are recorded and are available online. 


Photo credit: Peter Walters.