Karen J. Alter

PhD, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Professor Alter's research focuses on the interaction between international organizations and domestic politics. Trained in political economy, comparative politics and international relations, her research employs historical institutionalist approaches to understand international judicial politics involving Europe, the United States, Latin America and Africa. Her new book, The New Terrain of International Law:  International Courts in International Politics (Princeton University Press, 2014) provides a framework for comparing and understanding the influence of the twenty-four existing international courts, and for thinking about how different domains of international politics are transformed through the creation of international courts.

Alter holds a courtesy appointment at Northwestern Law school, and she is an associate scholar at the Center for Law and Globalization at the American Bar Foundation and the University of Illinois, and the Program of African Studies at Northwestern University. Alter is co-editor of the Oxford Handbook on International Adjudication (2014) and she co-directs the institutionalization research cluster at the iCourts Center of Excellence, University of Copenhagen Faculty of Law.  She is author of: The European Court’s Political Power (Oxford University Press, 2009), and Establishing the Supremacy of European Law: The Making of an International Rule of Law in Europe. (Oxford University Press, 2001).  Alter has published over forty articles and book chapters, with her work appearing in International Organization, Comparative Political Studies, the American Journal of International Law, the European Journal of International Relations, European Union Politics, Law and Contemporary Problems and the European Journal of Public Policy. Her research has been supported by the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, the American Academy in Berlin, the German Marshall Fund, the Howard Foundation, the DAAD, and the Chateaubriand fellowship.  Fluent in Italian, French and German, Alter has been a visiting scholar at the American Academy in Berlin, the Institute d'Etudes Politiques, the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Auswärtige Politik, Harvard University's Center for European Studies, Harvard Law School, Seikei University, the Sonderforschungsbereich of Universität Bremen, and the American Bar Foundation.  Alter is on the editorial boards of International Organization and Law & Social Inquiry, the advisory board of Pluricourts, and she is a member of the New York based Council on Foreign Relations.


Karen Alter's Webpage