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School of Politics and International Relations

Dr Jaakko Heiskanen, PhD (Cambridge)


Lecturer in International Relations

Room Number: Arts One, 2.42
Office Hours: Tuesdays 14:30-15:30 and Thursdays 09:30-10:30


Jaakko Heiskanen joined the School of Politics and International Relations at Queen Mary in 2022. Previously he worked as a Leverhulme Early Career Fellow at the University of Cambridge, where he also completed his PhD in 2020. His main research interests lie at the intersection of international relations theory, nationalism studies, and conceptual history.

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Research Interests:

I am currently working on two main research projects. The first is a book project called Ethnos of the Earth, which charts the conceptual history of ethnicity in the twentieth century. It shows how the invention and popularisation of ethnicity as a new category for organising human diversity helped to mask the enduring role of racial and civilisational hierarchies in international politics. The second project, funded by the Leverhulme Trust, explores on the concept of the nomad and asks what the growing fascination with nomadism in the twenty-first century can tell us about changing conceptions of mobility and temporality.

More broadly, I am interested in questions of sovereignty and international order, the history and politics of nationalism, conceptualisations of modernity and postmodernity, continental philosophy, and the interface between language, history, and theory.

Examples of research funding:

Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship (2020-2023)


Journal Articles

2021 ‘In the Shadow of Genocide: Ethnocide, Ethnic Cleansing, and International Order’, Global Studies Quarterly, vol. 1, no. 4, ksab030.

2021 ‘Found in Translation: The Global Constitution of the Modern International Order’, International Theory, vol. 13, no. 2, pp. 231-259.

2021 ‘The Nationalism-Populism Matrix’, Journal of Political Ideologies, vol. 26, no. 3, pp. 335-355. 

2020 ‘Liminal Sovereignty Practices: Rethinking the Inside/Outside Dichotomy’, Cooperation and Conflict, vol. 55, no. 3, pp. 284-304, co-authored with Dylan Loh.

2019 ‘Spectra of Sovereignty: Nationalism and International Relations’, International Political Sociology, vol. 13, no. 3, pp. 315-332.

Book Chapters

2021 ‘Nations and Nationalism in International Relations’, in The Routledge Handbook of Historical International Relations, edited by Julia Costa López, Halvard Leira, and Benjamin de Carvalho, Routledge, pp. 244-252.

Other Publications

2022 ‘Review: Nationalisms in International Politics’, E-International Relations, 23 October.

2021 ‘Nationalism and Populism: Political Ideologies or Ideologies of the Political?’, Ideology, Theory, Practice, 15 February.


I welcome PhD proposals on topics relating to the history and future of world order(s), nationalism and the nation-state, modern international theory and international political thought, and/or any form of conceptual history.

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