Dr. R.B.J. (Rob) Walker

Dr. R.B.J. (Rob) Walker
Adjunct and Professor Emeritus
Political Science

PhD (1977) (Queen's)

Area of expertise

Contemporary social and political thought, international political theory

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. 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 four books and ninety journal articles and book chapters, as well as editor or co-editor of eighteen 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.

  • Contemporary social and political thought
  • Theories of discourse, ideology and culture
  • Philosophy of social science
  • International political theory
  • Concepts of space and time in political thought
  • Modernity/postmodernity


  • 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.
  • Contending Sovereignties: Redefining Political Community (Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner, 1990), Co-editor: Saul Mendlovitz.
  • Towards a Just World Peace: Perspectives From Social Movements (London: Butterworths, 1987), Coeditor: Saul Mendlovitz.
  • After Bennett: The New Politics of British Columbia (Vancouver: New Star Books, 1986). Co-editors: Warren Magnusson, et al..
  • The New Reality: The Politics of Restraint in British Columbia (Vancouver: New Star Books, 1984). Coeditors: Warren Magnusson, et. al..
  • Culture, Ideology, World Order (Boulder, CO.: Westview Press, 1984).

Journal special issues:

  • "Race, Decoloniality and International Relations," Alternatives: Global, Local, Political, 40:2, May 2015, co-editetd 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.
  • "Reframing the International: Law, Culture(s), Politics," Special Millennium Issue of Transnational Law and Contemporary Problems, 9:2, Fall 1999, Co-editors: Richard A. Falk and Lester Ruiz.
  • "Speaking the Language of Exile: Dissidence in International Studies," Special Issue of International Studies Quarterly, 34:3, September 1990, Co-editor: Richard K. Ashley.

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.
  • "After the Future: Enclosures, Connections, Politics," in R. Falk, L. Ruiz and R.B.J. Walker, eds., Reframing the International: Law, Culture, Politics (New York: Routledge, 2002), 3-26. Earlier version published in Transnational Law and Contemporary Problems, Millennium Special Issue, 9:2, Fall 1999, 427-449.
  • "They Seek it Here, They Seek it There: Looking for Politics in Clayoquot Sound," in Karena Shaw and Warren Magnusson, eds., A Political Space: Reading the Global Through Clayoquot Sound (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2003), 237-262.
  • "Alternative, Critical, Political,” in Michael Brecher and Frank Harvey, eds., Millennial Reflections on International Studies (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2002), 258-270; also in the part-volume edition, Critical Perspectives in International Studies (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press 2002), pp. 109-125.
  • "Partition: On the Discriminations of Modernity," Alternatives: Global, Local, Political, 27:2, April-June 2002. (with Sankaran Krishna).
  • "Apertura: Race in International Relations," Alternatives, 26: 4, Oct-Dec 2001, 373-376 (with Randolph B. Persaud).
  • "Peace in the Wake of Sovereign Subjectivities," in Barry Hindess and Margaret Jolly, eds., Thinking Peace, Making Peace (Canberra: Academy of Social Sciences, Australia, Occasional Paper 1, 2000), 21-35.
  • "Europe is Not Where it is Supposed to Be," in Morten Kelstrup and Michael Williams, ed., International Relations and the Politics of European Integration (London: Routledge, 2000), 14-32.
  • "International Relations Theory and the Fate of the Political," in Michi Ebata and Beverly Neufeld, eds., Confronting the Political in International Relations (London: Macmillan, 2000), pp. 212-238.
  • "Both Globalization and Sovereignty: Re-Imagining the Political," in Paul Wapner and Lester Edwin J. Ruiz, eds., Principled World Politics: The Challenge of Normative International Relations (Lanham: Rowman and Littlefield, 2000), 23-34.
  • "Does it Make Sense to Envisage a Regional Politics in the Pacific Northwest?" in Sukumar Periwal, ed., PNWER in the 21 Century (Victoria, BC.: British Col st umbia Intergovernmental Relations Secretariat, 1999), pp. 1-7.
  • "Foreword," in Jenny Edkins, Veronique Pin-Fat and Nalini Persram, eds., Sovereignty and Subjectivity (Boulder: Lynne Rienner Publishers, 1999).
  • "The Hierarchicalization of Political Community," (Forum on Andrew Linklater) Review of International Studies, 25: 1, January 1999, pp.151-156.
  • "Citizenship and the Modern Subject," in Kimberly Hutchings and Roland Dannreuther, eds., Cosmopolitan Citizenship (London: Macmillan, 1999), pp. 171-200.
  • "Multiculturalism and Leaking Boundaries," in Dieter Haselbach, ed., Multiculturalism in a World of Leaking Boundaries (Munster: LIT Verlag, 1998), pp. 309-322.
  • "Relaciones internacionales y politica mundail," in Carlo Nasi, ed., Postmodernismo y relaciones internacionales (Santafe de Bogata, Colombia: Ediciones Uniandes, 1998, 53-81.
  • "The Subject of Security," in Keith Krause and Michael C. Williams, eds., Critical Security Studies: Concepts and Cases (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1997), pp. 61-82. Also published as The Subject of Security, with Commentary by Stephen Toulmin, Working Paper on Rethinking Security #7 (Los Angeles: Center for International Studies, University of Southern California, Fall 1995); and New York: Columbia University Press International Affairs Online, 1997).
  • "Possibilities and Limits of Republican World Politics: A Concluding Trialogue," (with Stefano Guzzini and Heikki Patomaki) in Heikki Patomaki, ed., Peaceful Change in World Politics (Helsinki: TAPRI, 1995), 404-430.
  • "After Modern Utopias: Reflections on the Possibilities of World Order Discourse," in Heikki Patomaki, ed., Peaceful Change in World Politics (Helsinki: TAPRI, 1995), 380-403.
  • "International Relations and the Possibility of the Political," in Ken Booth and Steve Smith, eds., International Political Theory Today (Cambridge: Polity, 1995), 306-327.
  • "From International Relations to World Politics," in Joseph Camilleri, et al, eds., The State in Transition, (Boulder: Lynne Rienner, 1995), 21-38.
  • "The More Things Change: Sovereignty, Quebec and the New World," Constitutional Forum, 6:1, Fall 1994, 34-38.
  • "Norms in a Teacup: Surveying the New Normative Approaches," featured review article, Mershon International Studies Review, Volume 38, Supplement 2, 1994.
  • "On Pedagogical Responsibility: A Response to Roy Jones," Review of International Studies, June 1994.
  • "On the Possibilities of World Order Discourse," Alternatives, 19:2, Spring 1994, 237-246.
  • "Sovereign Identities and the Politics of Forgetting," Public, Volume 9, 1994, 95-117.
  • “Violence, Modernity, Silence: From Max Weber to International Relations Theory," in G. M. Dillon and David Campbell, eds., The Political Subject of Violence (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1993), 137-160.
  • "World Order and the Reconstitution of Political Life," in Richard Falk, Robert Johansen and Samuel Kim, eds., The Constitutional Foundations of World Peace (Albany: SUNY Press, 1993), 191-209.
  • "Pedagogies on the Edge: World Politics Without "International Relations," in Lev Gonick and Edward Weisband, eds., Teaching World Politics: Contending Pedagogies in World Politics (Boulder: Westview Press, 1992).
  • "Gender and Critique in the Theory of International Relations," in V. Spike Peterson, ed., Gendered States: Feminist (Re)Visions of International Relations Theory (Boulder: Lynne Rienner, 1992), 179-202.
  • "State Sovereignty and the Articulation of Political Space/Time," Millennium: Journal of International Studies, 20:3, Winter 1991, 445-461.
  • "Socialism and Monotheism: A Response to Jenson and Keyman," (with Warren Magnusson) Studies in Political Economy, 34, Spring 1991, 235-239.
  • "Ethics, Modernity and the Theory of International Relations," in Richard Higgott and Jim Richardson, eds., International Relations: Global and Australian Perspectives on an Evolving Discipline (Canberra: Department of International Relations, Australian National University, 1992), 128-162.
  • "On the Spatio-Temporal Conditions of Democratic Practice," Alternatives, 16:2, Spring 1991, 243-262. A version also published in Ashis Nandy and D.L. Sheth, eds., The Multiverse of Democracy (Delhi: Oxford University Press, 1996), 145-167.
  • "Speaking the Language of Exile: Dissident Thought in International Studies" (with Richard K. Ashley), International Studies Quarterly, 34:3, September 1990, 259-268. Partly reprinted in John A. Vasquez, ed., Classics of International Relations 3rd ed. (New York: Prentice Hall, 1996).
  • "Reading Dissidence/Writing the Discipline: Crisis and the Question of Sovereignty in International Studies" (with Richard K. Ashley), International Studies Quarterly, 34:3, Sept 1990, 367-416. Reprinted in Andrew Linklater, ed., International Relations: Critical Concepts in Political Science Volume 1 (London: Routledge, 2000), 126-189.
  • "Security, Sovereignty and the Challenge of World Politics," Alternatives, 15:1, Spring 1990, 3-27. Also published as Sovereignty, Security and the Challenge of World Politics, Working Paper No 87 (Canberra: Australian National University Peace Research Centre, 1990). Reprinted in Michael Sheehan, ed., National and International Security, International Library of Politics and Comparative Government (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2000).
  • "Interrogating State Sovereignty"(with Saul Mendlovitz), in Walker and Mendlovitz, eds., Contending Sovereignties, 1-12.
  • "Sovereignty, Identity, Community: Reflections on Contemporary Political Practice," in Walker and Mendlovitz, eds., Contending Sovereignties, 1990, 159-185.
  • "History and Structure in the Theory of International Relations," Millennium: Journal of International Studies, 18:2, Summer 1989, 163-183. Also in David G. Haglund and Michael K. Hawes, eds., World Politics: Power, Interdependence and Dependence (Toronto: Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich, 1990), 482-505. Reprinted in James Der Derian, ed., International Theory: Critical Investigations (London: Macmillan; New York: New York University Press, 1994), 308-339.
  • "The Concept of Culture in the Theory of International Relations," in John Chay, ed., Culture and International Relations (New York: Praeger, 1990), 3-17.
  • "Tradition and Modernity: A Discussion of R.B.J. Walker's "The Prince and 'The Pauper,'" in James Der Derian, ed., "Reading/ Writing/Teaching Poststructuralism in International Relations," Conference Proceedings, CIS, University of Southern California, May 1990.
  • "The Prince and 'The Pauper': Tradition, Modernity, and Practice in the Theory of International Relations," in James Der Derian and Michael J. Shapiro, eds., International/Intertextual Relations: Postmodern Readings of World Politics (Lexington: Lexington Books, 1989), 25-48.
  • The Concept of Security and The Theory of International Relations, Working Paper No.3 (San Diego: University of California Institute of Global Conflict and Co-operation, 1988).
  • State Sovereignty, Global Civilization and The Rearticulation of Political Space, World Order Studies Program Occasional Paper No. 18 (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Center of International Studies, 1988).
  • "Decentring the State: Political Theory and Canadian Political Economy" with Warren Magnusson, Studies in Political Economy, 26, Summer 1988, 37-71.
  • "Genealogy, Geopolitics and Political Community: Richard K. Ashley and the Critical Theory of International Relations," Alternatives, 13:1, January 1988, 84-88.
  • "Realism, Change and International Political Theory," International Studies Quarterly, 31:1, March 1987, 65-86.
  • "Peace, Politics and Contemporary Social Movements" (with Saul Mendlovitz), in Mendlovitz and Walker, eds., Towards a Just World Peace, 1987, 3-12.
  • "Culture, Discourse, Insecurity," Alternatives, 11:4, October 1986, 485-504. Reprinted in Mendlovitz and Walker, eds., Towards a Just World Peace, 1987, 171-190, Current Research in Peace and Violence,10:1, 1987, 50-64., and abbreviated in Issues in Education and Culture, July 1986, 63-9.
  • "Politics, Ideology and Everyday Life," in Magnusson, et. al., eds., After Bennett, 1986, 325-335.
  • "The Territorial State and the Theme of Gulliver," International Journal, 39:3, 1984, 529-552.
  • "East Wind, West Wind: Civilizations, Hegemonies and World Orders," in Walker, ed., Culture, Ideology and World Order, 1984, 302-322.
  • "Contemporary Militarism and the Discourse of Dissent," Alternatives, 9:3, 1983, 345-364. Reprinted in Walker, ed., Culture, Ideology, World Order, 1984, 302-322.
  • "World Politics and Western Reason: Universalism, Pluralism, Hegemony," World Order Models Project Working Paper No.19 (New York: Institute for World Order, 1982). Also published in Alternatives, 7:2, 1981. Reprinted in Walker, ed., Culture, Ideology, World Order, 1984, 192-216.
  • Political Theory and The Transformation of World Politics, World Order Studies Program, Occasional Paper No. 8 (Princeton: Princeton Center of International Studies, 1980).
  • "Holistic Knowledge and the Politics of Fragmentation," in William Higginson, ed., An Image of the Whole: Knowledge and Curriculum in an Age of Fragmentation (Kingston, Ontario: Queen's University Faculty of Education, 1979).
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.
  • "Jakten Pa Det Politiske," Interview by Iver B. Neumann, in Norwegian, Samtiden, 2/3, 1999, pp. 104-114.
  • "Yhteyksia rajojen ja identiteettien poikki-kohti uutta maailmanpolitiikkaa?" Interview by Heikki Patomaki, in Finnish, Kosmopolis, 25:4, 1995, 23-37.

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.
  • Lene Hansen, "R.B.J. Walker and International Relations: Deconstructing a Discipline," in Iver B. Neumann and Ole Waever, eds., The Future of International Relations (London: Routledge, 1997), pp. 316-336.