Karen J. Alter
Professor (also Law, Legal Studies and African Studies)
Research Interest(s): Multilateralism; International Law; International Courts; Politics of Human Rights, Law and Politics
Program Area(s): Comparative Politics; International Relations; Law and Politics
Regional Specialization(s): Africa; Europe; Latin America
Subfield Specialties: Comparative Historical Analysis; International Organizations and International Law; International Theory; Law and Politics
Karen J. Alter is Professor of Political Science and Law at Northwestern University, a permanent visiting professor at the iCourts Center for Excellence, University of Copenhagen Faculty of Law, and the co-director Research Group on Global Capitalism and Law at the Buffett Institute 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 (Princeton University Press, 2014); International Legal Transplants: Law and Politics of the Andean Tribunal of Justice (Oxford University Press, 2017, with Laurence Helfer); The European Court’s Political Power (Oxford University Press, 2009) and Establishing the Supremacy of European Law (Oxford University press, 2001), and more than fifty articles and book chapters on the politics of international law, comparative international courts, and international regime complexity. She is also co-editor of the Oxford Handbook on International Adjudication (Oxford University Press, 2014) and International Court Authority (Oxford University Press, 2018). Alter serves on the editorial boards of the American Journal of International Law, International Studies Review, Journal of International Dispute Settlement, and International Organization, and she is a member of the Council of Foreign Relations. Alter is a former Guggenheim Fellow, winner of the Berlin Prize from the American Academy in Berlin, and the winner of the American Society of International Law’s Certificate of Merit for a Preeminent Contribution to Creative Scholarship. Alter’s new research focuses on the construction of global economic rules regulating trade and money, and on the determinants of politically sustainable capitalism.
- International Court Authority, Karen J. Alter, Laurence R. Helfer and Mikael R. Madsen Eds (Oxford University Press, 2018)
- Transplanting International Courts: The Law and Politics of the Andean Tribunal of Justice With Laurence Helfer (Oxford University Press, 2017)
- The New Terrain of International Law: Courts, Politics, Rights (Princeton University Press, 2014)
- Oxford Handbook on International Adjudication (Oxford University Press, 2014) (co-editor with Cesare Romano and Yuval Shany)
- The European Court’s Political Power (Oxford University Press, 2009)
- Establishing the Supremacy of European Law (Oxford University Press, 2001)
- “The Rise of International International Regime Complexity” with Kal Raustalia. Annual Review of Law and Social Science, 2018.
- “The Evolution of International Law and Courts.” in: Orfeo Fioretos ed, International Politics and Institutions in Time. Oxford University Press, 2017: 251-274.
- "How Context Shapes the Authority of International Courts.” With Laurence Helfer and Mikael Rask Madsen. Law and Contemporary Problems. 79 (1): 1-38. 2016.
- Karen J. Alter, James T. Gathii and Laurence R. Helfer “Backlash against International Courts in West, East, and Southern Africa” With Laurence Helfer and James Thuo Gathii. European Journal of International Law 27 (2): 293–328. 2016.
- “The Politics of International Regime Complexity.” With Sophie Meunier Perspective on Politics 7 (1) 13-24. 2009.
- PS 101: The International Politics of Human Rights
- PS 343: The Politics of International Law
- PS 347: Ethics and International Affairs
- PS 395: International Organizations and National Policy
- PS 398: Honors Thesis Seminar
- PS 440: International Relations Theory
- PS 442: International Organization
- PS 443: International Law and International Politics
- International Courts and Tribunals
- Certificate of Merit for a Preeminent Contribution to Creative Scholarship, American Society of International Law, 2015.
- Best Book, ILAW Section of the International Studies Association, 2014.
- Honorable Mention Chadwick F. Alger Prize for the best book published on the subject of international organization and multilateralism. International Studies Association, 2014.
- American Academy Berlin Prize, 2012.
- John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship, awarded in the field of law, 2011.