Prof. Dr Anna Geis

Senior Research Fellow

Käte Hamburger Kolleg / Centre for Global Cooperation Research
Schifferstraße 44
47059 Duisburg


since 04/2016

Helmut Schmidt University / University of the Federal Armed Forces Hamburg

Department of Economics and Social Sciences, Institute of International Politics

Full Professor of International Security and Conflict Studies

05/2019 - 06/2019

Queen’s University in Kingston/Canada

Centre for International and Defense Policy

Visiting Researcher

02/2019 - 04/2019

WZB Berlin Social Science Center

Research Department 'Global Governance'

Visiting Research Professor

09/2018 - 10/2018

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

Department of Political Science and Public Administration

Guest Researcher

10/2010 - 03/2011

Ludwig Maximilians University Munich

Geschwister Scholl Institute

Visiting Professor

10/2009 - 03/2012

Goethe University Frankfurt am Main

Cluster of Excellence “The Formation of Normative Orders”; working group “International Organization

Senior Research Fellow

10/2008 - 03/2009

Goethe University Frankfurt am Main

Department of Political Science; denomination: External Relations of Western European States

Visiting Professor

10/2007 - 02/2008

Goethe University Frankfurt am Main

Department of Political Science; denomination: International Relations

Visiting Professor

08/2002 - 09/2009

Peace Research Institute Frankfurt am Main (PRIF)

Postdoctoral Research Fellow

05/1999 - 05/2002

Universität Hamburg

Department of Political Science; Political Theory and History of Ideas

Research Associate

Teaching Responsibilities

Helmut Schmidt University / University of the Federal Armed Forces Hamburg

BA Lectures and BA/MA seminars on:

  • Foreign Policy Analysis
  • Introduction to Peace and Conflict Studies
  • Europe in the World: Theoretical approaches and empirical cases
  • World Order Politics and World Order Problems
  • Conflicts, Wars, and Peace Processes
  • Research Design


Universität Hamburg

  • Seminar: Transitional Justice as a Global Norm?

Expertise and Consulting Work

  • Since 2021: Member of the Scientific Council of the Institute for Theology and Peace Hamburg
  • Since 2021: Member of the Editorial Advisory Board of the journal “German Politics” (Taylor & Francis)
  • 2020-2023: Elected member of the Review Board (Fachkollegium), Section Social Sciences, of the German Research Foundation (DFG)
  • Since 2020: Member of the Steering Group “Peace and Conflict Studies” of the Hamburg Behörde für Wissenschaft, Forschung und Gleichstellung (BWFG)
  • Since 2020: Deputy Chair of the Foundation Council of the German Foundation for Peace Research (DSF) (Member since 2019)
  • Since 2018: Member of the Editorial Board of the German Social Science Journal ‘Leviathan’
  • Since 2017: Member of the Academic Board of the German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP), Berlin
  • Since 2016: Chair of the Academic Board of the Institute for Peace Research and Security Policy (IFSH), Hamburg
  • 2013-2018: Member of the Academic Board of the German Foundation for Peace Research (DSF)
  • Reviewer for national and international journals, publishing houses, and foundations


Prof. Dr Anna Geis joined the research group 'Legitimation and delegitimation in global cooperation' in October 2021 and was a Senior Research Fellow at the Centre until September 2022.


Research Project at the Centre

20 Years of the US “War on Terror” in Afghanistan. A Critical Review of Interventionist Practices and their Justification

In summer 2021, the withdrawal of Western troops from Afghanistan, the rapid takeover of Afghanistan by the Taliban, horrifying images from Kabul airport, and the enduring humanitarian plight have brought central questions concerning Western military interventions back to the political agenda again. No less than 20 years of military and civilian engagement in Afghanistan require a self-critical review and evaluation of the engagement.

Afghanistan has been one of the most enduring intervention theatres for Western troops since the military intervention started as major part of the US-led “global war on terror” in 2001. Analysing interventionist practices of Western states, including their justifications, is key to understanding liberal ordering practices The West and the “International Community” have dedicated considerable material and immaterial resources to Afghanistan, exerted “hard” and “soft” power: troops, civilian staff, time, money, diplomatic efforts, trust and reputation. In light of the current situation, many critics evaluate this engagement today as disaster or failure.

Taking the escalation in 2021 into consideration (which can lead to retrospective new evaluations of prior processes), this project seeks to analyse three variations of US political actors’ “politics of legitimacy” regarding the military engagement  and the diplomatic attempts to promote a sustainable peace:

(a) the US peace negotiations with the Taliban (2018-2020), from which the elected Afghan government was excluded (de facto recognition of an armed non-state actor as legitimate);

(b) the US administration’s renewed resistance against the International Criminal Court (ICC) under President Trump in reaction to the ICC’s investigations of war crimes in Afghanistan (enhanced expressions of non-recognition of a central institution of the liberal world order);

(c) critical reviews of the Afghanistan engagement/ ”lessons learned” in the US/ NATO (accountability vis-à-vis domestic audiences and NATO partners).

Research Interests

  • Theories of War, Military Interventions, Democratic Peace
  • Security Governance
  • Issues of Global Order
  • Citizen Participation in (German) Foreign and Security Politics
  • Recognition and Legitimacy in International Politics
  • Transitional Justice

Current Projects

  • 20 Years of the US “War on Terror” in Afghanistan. A Critical Review of Interventionist Practices and their Justification

  • Recasting the role of citizens in foreign and security policy? Democratic innovations and changing patterns of interaction between European executives and publics

  • Armed non-state actors and the politics of recognition

  • Democratising Security in Turbulent Times

Seminars and Conferences

  • Workshop: “African Agency in the Transforming Field of Security Governance: Norms, Organizations and Futures”, Helmut Schmidt University/University of the Federal Armed Forces Hamburg, November 2020 (organized with Louise Wiuff Moe, Stephanie Jänsch, Christian Opitz)

  • Workshop: “(Non-)Recognition of Armed Non-State Actors: Risks and Opportunities for Conflict Transformation”, Helmut Schmidt University/University of the Federal Armed Forces Hamburg, Juni 2018 (organized with Maéva Clément and Hanna Pfeifer; funded by German Foundation for Peace Research).

  • 4. Open Section Conference of the German Political Science Association/ Section International Relations (organized as speaker of the section, with Hanna Pfeifer and Gabi Schlag), Otto von Guericke University Magdeburg, September 2014.

  • Workshop: “Visual Culture and the Legitimacy of Military Interventions: Images, Media and War“, Otto von Guericke University Magdeburg, August 2014 (organized with Gabi Schlag; funded by Fritz Thyssen Foundation).

  • Workshop: “Recognition in Global Politics”, Cluster of Excellence “Normative Orders“, Goethe University Frankfurt, June 2012 (organized with Caroline Fehl, Christopher Daase and Georgios Kolliarakis).

  • Workshop: “Evil in International Politics“, Peace Research Institute Frankfurt, May 2012 (organized with Christopher Hobson and Piki Ish-Shalom).


  • 'Best dissertation' award of the German Political Science Association (Deutsche Vereinigung für Politische Wissenschaft) in 2006 for the book 'Regieren mit Mediation' (Governing with Mediation)

Publications (Selection)

Clément, Maéva, Geis, Anna and Pfeifer, Hanna (eds.) (2021). ‘Armed non-state actors and the politics of recognition’. Manchester: Manchester University Press.

Geis, Anna (2021). 'The ambivalence of (not) being in a “war” – the “civilian power” Germany and the “stabilization operation” in Afghanistan', in: Piki Ish-Shalom (ed.): Concepts at Work: On the Linguistic Infrastructure of World Politics, Michigan: Michigan University Press, 65-90.

Geis, Anna and Wagner, Wolfgang (2021). '“What We Are fighting For”: Democracies’ Justifications of Using Armed Force since the End of the Cold War', in: Lothar Brock/Hendrik Simon (eds.): The Justification of War and International Order. From Past to Present, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 293-310.

Wiuff Moe, Louise and Geis, Anna (eds.) (2020). 'Hybridity and Friction in Organizational Politics: New Perspectives on the African Security Regime Complex', Special Issue of Journal of Intervention and Statebuilding, 14: 2.

Wiuff Moe, Louise and Geis, Anna (2020). 'From Liberal Interventionism to Stabilization: Towards a New Consensus on Norm-Downsizing in Interventions in Africa', in: Global Constitutionalism, 9:2, 387-412 (Special Issue “After Fragmentation”, guest-edited by Christian Kreuder-Sonnen/Michael Zürn).

Pfeifer, Hanna, Opitz, Christian & Geis, Anna (2020). ‘Deliberating Foreign Policy: Perceptions and Effects of Citizen Participation in German Foreign Policy’, in German Politics, online first.

Geis, Anna and Schlag, Gabi (eds.) (2017). Visualizing violence: aesthetics and ethics in international politics. Special Issue of Global Discourse, 7: 2-3.

Daase, Christopher, Fehl, Caroline, Geis, Anna & Kolliarakis, Georgios (eds.) (2015). Recognition in International Relations: Rethinking a Political Concept in a Global Context, London: Palgrave Macmillan.

Geis, Anna and Hobson, Christopher (eds.) (2014). 'The Existence and Use of “Evil” in International Politics', Special Issue of International Politics, 51: 4.

Geis, Anna, Müller, Harald and Schörnig, Niklas (eds.) (2013). 'The Militant Face of Democracy: Liberal Forces for Good', Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Geis, Anna and Wagner, Wolfgang (2011). 'How far is it from Königsberg to Kandahar? Democratic Peace and Democratic Violence', in International Relations, in Review of International Studies, 37: 4, 1555-1577.

Geis, Anna (2005). 'Regieren mit Mediation: Das Beteiligungsverfahren zur zukünftigen Entwicklung des Frankfurter Flughafens', Wiesbaden: VS Verlag (Studien zur politischen Gesellschaft, Vol. 6).