Alumni Postdoc Fellow

Dr Jessica Schmidt

Alumni Fellows

Käte Hamburger Kolleg / Centre for Global Cooperation Research
Schifferstr. 196
47059 Duisburg

Tel:  +49 (0)203 29861-100
Fax: +49 (0)203 29861-199


Dr Jessica Schmidt joined Käte Hamburger Kolleg / Centre for Global Cooperation Research as a Postdoc Fellow. She conducted her research in Research Unit 4 “Paradoxes and Perspectives of Democratization” from August 2013 to July 2014.

Research Project at the Centre

From Artifice to Life: Crisis of Legitimacy and the Rise of Democracy as Social Form

Located at the intersection between political theory and international relations, the overall objective of this project is to explore the changing notion of democracy in discourses and practices of international policy-making. Initially understood to operate as part of a liberal-representative edifice of governing, democracy has undergone significant dislocations in the context of a multi-dimensional crisis of legitimacy, authority, politics and the subject. Increasingly, a different understanding of democratisation as reflexive self-transformation is silently but forcefully permeating discourses of development, climate change and global governance. These developments are conceptually framed and further engaged within a shift in understandings of power, governance and agency from ‘artificial’ constructs (mental, theoretical, political) to an autopoietic ontology of ‘life’.  It is particularly interested in the ‘local turn’, the rise of democracy as social (-ecological) form, and the emerging governing rationality of complexity and resilience.

Research Interests

  • Changing Discourses of Democracy and the "Illusion" of Autonomy
  • Shift from Political to Social Understandings in International Politics
  • Agency, Performativity and the Decline of the Subject
  • Complexity, Resilience and Governance
  • Pragmatism and New Materialism

Current Projects

  • Crisis of Legitimacy and the Rise of Democracy as Social Form (book project)
  • Pragmatism, Performativity and the Ontological Turn in "Global Relations": Excess of Life against the Artifice
  • Resilience and Gender: the Re-Essentalisation of Difference
  • Learning from life itself: novel understandings of democratic empowerment
  • Resistance, Disturbance and Interference: Sociological Contributions


01/2011-06/2013 University of Westminster, UK
Department of Politics and International Relations
Visiting Lecturer
10/2009-07/2013 University of Westminster, UK
Department of Politics and International Relations
PhD candidate


Schmidt, Jessica (2013 forthcoming): The Empirical Falsity of the Human Subject: New Materialism, Climate Change and the Shared Critique of Artifice, in: Resilience: International Policies, Practices and Discourses

Schmidt, Jessica (2013): From Transformation to Reality: The Role of Local Context in EU Democracy Promotion, in: International Relations, vol. 27 (2): 246-252

Schmidt, Jessica (2012): Welcome to the Club (review article), in: Radical Philosophy, no.174 (July/August): 38-40

Teaching Responsibilities

University of Westminster, London (Jan 2011- June 2013):

  • Humanitarian Intervention and International Relations: Morality, Human Rights and the Use of Force
  • Sovereignty and Intervention after the Cold War
  • Introduction to the Politics of Developing Countries
  • Globalization, Power and International Governance

Seminars and Conferences

  • ‘Resilience, Recalcitrance, Empowerment: Governing the Human without Politics’; SGIR, 8th Pan-European Conference on International Relations, 18-21 September 2013, Warsaw, Poland
  • ‘Taking Stock: Reframing Governance Research – Suggestions’, workshop on Rethinking Governance in a World of Complexity, 27-28 June 2013, Käte Hamburger Kolleg / Centre for Global Cooperation Research, Duisburg, Germany
  • ‘The Politics of the Invisible and the Necessity of Everyday Resistance’; British International Studies Association Annual Conference, 21-22 June 2013, Birmingham, UK
  • ‘God after the Death of Nietzsche: Climate Change, New Materialism and the Uncanny “Government by Nature”' [original title: Unbounded Agency and the Question of Responsibility: Challenging the Radical Potential of Posthumanist Approaches to Democracy]; International Studies Association Annual Convention, 3-6 April 2013, San Francisco, USA
  • ‘Democracy in Private: Empowerment and the Rise of the Social’; conference on Democracy Promotion: Hegemony, Resistance and the Shifting Discourses of Democracy in International Relations, 1 February 2013, Senate House, University of London, jointly hosted by Institute for the Study of the Americas (University of London) and Department of Politics and International Relations (University of Westminster), London, UK
  • ‘Democracy Against the Subject: Complex Ecologism, Posthuman Epistemologies and the Politics of World Alienation’; Millennium: Journal of International Studies Annual Conference on ‘Materialism and World Politics’, 20-22 October 2012, LSE, London, UK
  • ‘The Rise of Invisibility: Statebuilding, Democracy and Resilience’; International BISA-ISA conference, Joint International Conference, 20-22 June 2012, Edinburgh, UK
  • ‘Unholy Immortals: The Subjectivity of Truth, Politics as Cognitive Deficit and the Peculiar Revival of Democracy in Contemporary Conflicts’; workshop on Political Violence in International Relations after the Death of God, 12 May 2012, University of Leeds, Leeds, UK
  • ‘Embeddedness as Substance: The EU’s Socialised Approach to Democratization’; authors workshop on Comparative Perspectives on the Substance of EU Democracy Promotion, EU iPodS Research Project: The Substance of EU International Democracy Promotion, 26-27 March 2012, Ghent University, Ghent, Belgium

Prof. Dr Claudia Derichs

Prof. Dr Pablo Holmes

Dr Mariana Nardone

Dr James Nyomakwa-Obimpeh

Dr Zeynep Sahin Mencutek

Prof. Dr Frank Adloff

Prof. Dr Gerald Chan

Gerardo Bracho

Prof. Dr Dr Marlies Ahlert

Dr Stephen Adaawen

Prof. Dr Anja Jetschke

Dr Peter Finkenbusch

Dr Dr Ariel Hernández

Dr Esref Aksu

Dr Charmaine Misalucha-Willoughby

Dr Pol Bargués-Pedreny

Dr Burcu Bayram

Dr Isaline Bergamaschi

Dr Felix Bethke

Dr Sarah Van Beurden

Dr Petra Gümplová

Jun.-Prof. Dr Manuel Borutta

Dr Morgan Brigg

Prof. Dr Gunther Hellmann

Prof. Dr Lothar Brock

Dr Yannis Kallianos

Prof. Stephen Brown

Prof. Dr Susanne Buckley-Zistel

Prof. Dr Bettina Burger-Menzel

Dr Alessandra Cappelletti

Prof. David Carment, Ph.D.

Dr Paula Castro

Dr Ayse Cavdar

Prof. David Chandler

Prof. Hongming Cheng

Prof. Dr Manjiao Chi

Prof. Andrew Cooper

Prof. Dr Larry Crump

Prof. Dr Susan Erikson

Dr Alejandro Esguerra

Prof. Dr Isabel Feichtner

Jaroslava Gajdošová, Ph.D.

Prof. Noemi Gal-Or, Ph.D., LL.B.

Dr Daniel Gaus

Mneesha Gellman, Ph.D.

Dr Joe Hoover

Dr Payam Ghalehdar

Prof. Faten Ghosn

Dr Gianluca Grimalda

Dr Jennifer Gronau

Dr Stefan Groth

Prof. Dr Eric Grynaviski

Dr Heike Hennig-Schmidt

Prof. Dr Jon Hovi

Prof. Meibo Huang

Dr Abou Jeng

Prof. Dr Jonathan Joseph

Dr phil. habil. Otto Kallscheuer

Prof. Dr Babacar Kanté

Prof. Dr Ina Kerner

Dr Kai Koddenbrock

Mag. Dr Martina Kopf

Prof. Dr Bernd Lahno

Dr Deepshikha Shahi

Prof. Siddharth Mallavarapu

Dr rer. pol. Winfried Veit

Dr Xavier Mathieu

Aysem Mert, Ph.D.

PD Dr Christian Meyer

Dr Elisabetta Nadalutti

Dr Dirk Peters

Dr Steven Pierce

Prof. Elena Pulcini

Prof. Dr Sigrid Quack

Dr Salvador Santino F. Regilme

Dr Nicole Renvert

Dr Mathieu Rousselin

Dr Galya Ruffer

Dr Olivia Rutazibwa

Mag. Dr Ariane Sadjed

Dr Shirin Saeidi

Prof. Dr Enrique Saravia

Dr Andrea Schapper

Prof. Dr Klaus Schlichte

Dr Jessica Schmidt

Dr Mario Schmidt

Prof. Dr Ulrich Schneckener

Prof. Jan Aart Scholte

Dr habil. Birgit Schwelling

Dr Katrin Seidel

Dr Balraj K. Sidhu

Dr Abdolkarim Soroush

Prof. Detlef Sprinz, Ph.D.

Dr Holger Straßheim

Dr Ángela Suárez-Collado

Dr Liam Swiss

Prof. Dr Christian J. Tams

Margret Thalwitz

Dr Peter Thiery

Prof. emerit. Arild Underdal

Dr Wanda Vrasti

Prof. Dong Wang

Dr Hung-Jen Wang

Prof. Dr Herbert Wulf

Prof. Dr Dvora Yanow

Dr Fariborz Zelli

Prof. Dr Shirin Zubair