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School of Politics and International Relations

Dr Peter Brett, BA (UCL), MSc (SOAS), PhD (SOAS)


Senior Lecturer in International Politics

Telephone: 020 7882 6913
Room Number: Arts One, 2.16A
Office Hours: Tuesday 12-1pm (online) & Friday 12-1pm (F2F)


Peter joined the School in 2015. Previously he was a Teaching Fellow in Politics at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), where he did his graduate studies. He has also worked as an Adjunct Professor at Richmond – the American International University in London, and has taught at the University of Paris (Panthéon-Sorbonne). While at Queen Mary he has taught regularly at the University of London in Paris. He is currently the co-convenor (with Dele Kogbe) of the British International Studies Association working group on Africa.

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Undergraduate Teaching

On leave in 2020-1.


Research Interests:

Peter has a broad range of interests, including the politics of Sub-Saharan Africa, international law, legal sociology, the politics of rights, and the history of international relations. He specialises in Southern and (Francophone) West Africa. Some current projects focus on the politics of judicial appointments and dissenting judgments, conservative anti-colonialism and the relationship between Christianity and liberalism. He has a particular interest in the work of Bernard Williams , Niklas Luhmann and Alasdair MacIntyre.

Examples of research funding:

Peter's recent research into the politics of judicial appointments, with Sara Dezalay (University of Cardiff), was funded by a British Academy/Leverhulme Small Grant for 2017-9. 



(with Line Engbo Gissel) Africa and the Backlash Against International Courts (Zed Books, 2020).

Human Rights and the Judicialisation of African Politics (Routledge, 2018).

Journal articles

"Revolutionary legality and the Burkinabè insurrection" The Journal of Modern African Studies. Forthcoming. 

'Politics by Other Means in South Africa Today.' Journal of Law and Society. Forthcoming.

"Who are Judicial Decisions Meant For? The ʽGlobal Community of Lawʼ in Southern Africa." International Political Science Review 39:5 (2018): 585-599.

(with Line Engbo Gissel) "Explaining African Participation in International Courts." African Affairs 117:467 (2018): 195–216.

‘Cause lawyers sans frontières: juristes sud-africains et judiciarisation du politique en Afrique australe.’ Politique Africaine 138:2 (2015): 93-113.

‘Explaining South Africa’s Bill of Rights: An Interpretive Approach.’ Commonwealth and Comparative Politics 52:3 (2014): 423-442.

Selected Opinion Pieces

'Lessons from history: Constitution and insurrection in Burkina Faso' The Daily Maverick (December 2019).

'A Global Human Rights Movement?' OpenDemocracy (July 2013).

Selected book reviews and review essays

Tom Ginsburg and Nuno Garoupa, Judicial Reputation: A Comparative Theory, in Commonwealth and Comparative Politics 54:4 (2016).

Karen Alter, The New Terrain of International Law, in E-IR (October 2014).

The New Historiography of Human Rights.’ E-IR (February 2013).

Kathryn Sikkink, The Justice Cascade, in E-IR (June 2012). 



Peter would be interested in supervising PhDs on the politics of rights, international law and courts, legal professionals, and African states in the international system. He would also welcome proposalsrelating to the domestic politics of South Africa, Namibia or Burkina Faso.

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