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R B J Walker

Adjunct and Professor Emeritus

Political Science

PhD (1977) Queen's
Area of expertise:
Contemporary social and political thought, international political theory

About Dr. Walker

R.B. J. (Rob) Walker began teaching at the University of Victoria in 1980, and was a founding member of the graduate program in Cultural, Social and Political Thought (CSPT). He taught primarily in the field of political theory, focusing especially on figures like Machiavelli, Hobbes, Kant and Weber as well as various currents of contemporary political, social and cultural theory.

His research has focused on claims about the status of international relations global politics and contemporary rearticulations of political spatiotemporalities. He is best known for a sequence of books addressing challenges to statist forms of politics (and thus to concepts of humanity in general and to politically qualified forms of citizenship in particular) arising from many transnational and transversal processes that seem to demand new forms of local and global cooperation.

In this context, he has written widely on practices of sovereignty and the politics of boundaries, borders and limits and been a major figure in the development of several scholarly fields: international political theory; international political sociology; critical international relations theory; critical security studies; border studies; and some early versions of globalization theory.

Currently he is also a professor at the Instituto de Relações Internationais, Pontifica Universidade Católica do Rio de Janeiro, Brasil. From 1999 to 2009 he was also professor of international relations at Keele University in the UK.

He has also held a number of visiting positions elsewhere, including Princeton University, Australian National University, Centre d'Etudes et de Recherches Internationales in Paris and the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies in Delhi. In 2008 he received the Eminent Scholar in Global Development Studies Award by the International Studies Association.

Dr. Walker is the author of 4 books and 90 journal articles and book chapters, as well as editor or co-editor of 18 other books and special journal issues. He is the long-term editor of the journal Alternatives: Local, Global, Political, and the founding co-editor, with Didier Bigo of the journal IPS: International Political Sociology.

He was also one of the primary researchers on two major European Union-funded research projects (ELISE and CHALLENGE) on the changing relation between liberty and security in Europe in the context of practices of exceptionalism that came to prominence after 9/11.

He is currently co-editing a book on the politics of historical analysis in international relations, writing a concluding chapter for a book on Michel Foucault and international relations, and thinking about novel accounts of a politics of enclosure (and thus exclusion) arising from recent claims about the anthopocene and planetary integrity as transformative conditionalities for political life.

Selected publications


  • Out of Line: Boundaries, Borders, Limits (London: Routledge, 2016).
  • After the Globe/Before the World (London: Routledge, 2010)
  • Inside/Outside: International Relations as Political Theory (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993).
  • One World, Many Worlds: Struggles For A Just World Peace (Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner; London: Zed Books, 1988).

Edited volumes

  • "Race, Decoloniality and International Relations," Special Issue of Alternatives: Global, Local, Political, 40:2, May 2015, Co-editor: Randolph B. Persaud.
  • International Political Sociology: Transversal Lines (London: Routledge, 2016) Co-edited with Tugba Basaram, Didier Bigo and Emmanuel-Pierre Guittet.
  • Europe's 21st Century Challenge: Delivering Liberty (London: Ashgate, 2010), Co-edited with Didier Bigo, Elspeth Guild and Serge Carerra. 
  • September 11, 2001: War, Terror and Judgement (London: Frank Cass, 2003), Co-editor: Bulent Gokay; (revised and expanded version of book published by Keele European Research Centre, 2002).
  • Reframing the International: Law, Culture, Politics (New York: Routledge, 2002), Co-editors: Richard Falk and Lester Ruiz.

Journal special issues

  • "Race, Decoloniality and International Relations," Alternatives: Global, Local, Political, 40:2, May 2015, co-edited with Randy Persaud.
  • "Art and Politics," Special Issue of Alternatives: Global, Local, Political, 31:1, 2006, Co-editor: Alex Danchev.
  • "Politics Revisited," Special Issue of Alternatives: Global, Local, Political, 28: 2, 2003, Co-editor: Kari Palonen.
  • "Partition," Special Issue of Alternatives: Global, Local, Political, 27: 2, 2002, Co-editor: Sankaran Krishna.
  • "Race in International Relations," Special Issue of Alternatives, 26:4, Oct-Dec 2001, Co-editor: Randolph B. Persaud.
  • "Zones of Indistinction: Territories, Bodies, Politics," Special Issue of Alternatives: Global, Local, Political, 25: 1, Jan-March 2000, Co-editor: Jenny Edkins.

Articles, book chapters, monograph papers

  • "Which Foucault for Which International?" for Didier Bigo, Philippe Bonditti and Frederic Gros, eds., World Politics with Foucault (Paris: Palgrave, 2016).
  • "After Snowden: Rethinking the Impact of Surveillance," collective article with Zygmunt Bauman, et al., International Political Sociology, 8, 2014, 121-144.
  • "Which Democracy for Which Demos?" in Massimo Fichera, Sakari Hanninen and Kaarlo Tuori, eds., Polity and Crisis: Reflections on the European Odyssey (Farnham, UK: Ashgate, 2014), 171-188.
  • "World, Politics," Contemporary Political Theory, 10:2, 2011, 303-311. (Response to a Symposium on Walker, After the Globe, Before the World).
  • "Hobbes, Origins, Limits," in Raia Prokhovnic and Gabriella Stomp, eds., International Political Theory After Hobbes: Analysis, Interpretation and Orientation (Basingstoke: Palgrave, 2011), 168-188.
  • "Por Que Ler Hobbes como Um Teórico de Segurança Internacional?" ("Why Read Hobbes as a Theorist of International Security?") Contexto Internacional, 2010, 32:1, Jan-June 2010, 9-38.
  • "Democratic Theory and the Present/Absent International," Ethics and Global Politics, 3:1, 2010, 21-36.
  • "Conclusion: Cultural, Political, Economy," in Jacqueline Best and Matthew Paterson, eds, Cultural Political Economy (London: Routledge, 2010), 224-233.
  • "The Changing Landscape of European Liberty and Security: The Mid-Term Report of the CHALLENGE Project,” International Social Science Journal, vol 59 number 192, 2009. (Coauthored with Didier Bigo, Sergio Carrera, and Elspeth Guild), 283-308.
  • "Le Régime de contre-terrorisme global," in Didier Bigo,Laurent Bonelli et Thomas Deltombe, eds., Au nom du 11 septembre.: Les démocraties à l’épreuve de l’antiterrorisme (Paris: La Découverte, 2008), 13-35. (Coauthored with Didier Bigo).
  • "Security, Critique, Europe,' Security Dialogue, 38:1, March 2007, 95-104.
  • "International, Political, Sociology," International Political Sociology, 1:1, March 2007, 1-6 (coauthored with Didier Bigo).
  • "Political Sociology and the Problem of the International," Millennium: Journal of International Studies, 2006 (coauthored with Didier Bigo).
  • "Situating Academic Practice: Pedagogy, Critique and Responsibility," Millennium: Journal of International Studies, 35:1, 155-165, 2006 (co-authored with Karena Shaw).
  • "The Double Outside of the Modern International," International Journal of Diversity in Organizations, March 2006; also in ephemera: theory and politics in organization, 6:1, February 2005, ; also published in Italian in Conflitti Globali.
  • "Recontextualizing Relations Between Liberty and Security," Introduction to special section, Security Dialogue, 37:1, March 2006.
  • "Lines of Insecurity: international, imperial, exceptional," Security Dialogue, 37: 1, March 2006.
  • "On the Protection of Nature and the Nature of Protection," for Jef Huysmans, Andrew Dobson and Raia Prokhovnik, eds., The Politics of Protection (London: Routledge, 2006), 189-202.
  • "L’International, l’imperial, l’exceptionnel," Cultures et Conflits, 58, Ete 2005, 13-51.
  • "Social Movements/World Politics," Millennium: Journal of International Studies, 23: 3, Winter 1994, 669-700; excerpt reprinted in Louise Amoore, ed., The Global Resistance Reader (London: Routledge, 2005), 136-149.
  • "Conclusion: Sovereignties, Exceptions, Worlds,” in Jenny Edkins, Veronique Pin-Fat and Michael J. Shapiro, eds., Sovereign Lives: Power in Global Politics (New York: Routledge, 2004), 239-249.
  • "Guerra, Terror, Julgamento," Contexto Internacional, 25: 2, 2003, 297-332.
  • "War, Terror, Judgement," in Bulent Gokay and R.B.J. Walker, eds., September 11, 2001: War, Terror and Judgement (London: Frank Cass, 2003), 62-83.
  • "Polis, Cosmopolis, Politics," Alternatives: Local, Global, Political, 28:2, 2003, 267-286.
  • "On the Immanence/Imminence of Empire,” Millennium: Journal of International Studies, 31:2, 2002, 337-345.
  • "International/Inequality," International Studies Review, 4:2, Summer 2002, 7-24; published simultaneously in Mustapha Kamal Pasha and Craig N. Murphy, eds., International Relations and the New Inequality (Oxford: Blackwell, 2002), 7-24.
  • "The International and the Challenge of Speculative Reason," with Richard Falk and Lester Ruiz, in Falk, Ruiz and Walker, eds., Reframing the International: Law, Culture, Politics (New York: Routledge, 2002), ix-xiii.

Extended interviews

  • "Robert Walker: Liberdade sem igualdade," Interview with Bruno Garcia, Revista de Historia da Biblioteca Nacional, Ano 9, No 99, Dezembro 2013, 54-59.
  • "The Political Theory of Boundaries and the Boundaries of Political Theory: Interview with R. B. J. Walker" (Interviewer: Raia Prokhovnik), in Gary Browning, Raia Prokhovnik and Maria Dimova-Cookson, eds., Dialogues With Contemporary Political Theorists (London: Palgrave, 2012).
  • "A violencia e constituinte da modernidade," interview and translation into Portuguese by Artur Ituassu, Journal do Brasil, Ideias Section, July 17, 2004.

Extended commentaries

  • Tom Lundberg and Nick Vaughan-Williams, "The Limits of International Relations: R.B.J. Walker's Inside/Outside: International Relations as Political Theory," in Henrik Bliddal, Casper Sylvest, and Peter Wilson, eds., Classics of International Relations (London: Routledge, 2013).
  • "Robert  B. J. Walker," in Martin Griffiths, Fifty Key Thinkers in International Relations (New York: Routledge, 1999, 2nd ed. 2008; revised from first edition).Colin Hoadley, “Machiavelli, A Man of "'His' Time: R.B.J. Walker and The Prince,” Millennium 30:1, 2003.
  • Justin Rosenberg, “Rob Walker: Philosophical Backstop,” in Rosenberg, The Follies of Globalization Theory (London: Verso, 2000), 45-86.