Professor Jason Ralph

Professor Jason Ralph


Jason Ralph is Professor of International Relations and former Head of the School of Politics and International Studies. He was also Honorary Professor of International Relations at the University of Queensland. He is author of four books: On Global Learning (CUP 2023)  America’s War on Terror. The State of the American Exception from Bush to Obama (OUP 2013); Defending the Society of States. Why America’s Opposes the International Criminal Court (OUP 2007). Beyond the Security Dilemma. Ending America’s Cold War (Ashgat 2000, republished by Routledge 2019). 

His most recent work brings philosophical Pragmatism in from the margins of International Relations (IR) as a means of encouraging normative inquiry.  Publications in this area include   On Global Learning (CUP 2023), which develops a ‘pragmatic constructivist’ normative test to assess the appropriateness of international practices and associated communities of practice; “What Should be Done? Pragmatic Constructivist Ethics and the Responsibility to Protect” International Organization 2018, which encourages norm studies to assess the usefulness of (and not simply trace) a norm’s meaning in use; and “Securing the self, embracing anxiety or nurturing growth? How the Pragmatism of Dewey, James and Mead speaks to Ontological Security Studies" Global Studies Quarterly, forthcoming 2024.  

Other contributions to this research agenda can be found in two Oxford Handbooks on Norm Studies in IR (forthcoming) and Grounded and Engaged Normative Theory; (forthcoming); Contesting the World edited by Phil Orchard and Antje Wiener, and (with Jess Gifkins) ‘The purpose of UN Security Council Practice. Contesting Competence Claims in the Normative context created by the Responsibility to Protect”, which was awarded best article to be published by the European Journal of International Relations in 2017.

Ralph has been the recipient of research awards from the Economic and Social Research Council, the British Academy, Research Councils UK, and the European Union, including a Marie Curie International Outgoing Fellowship 2014-2016. His work during this fellowship was nominated for a Marie Curie Prize Award in the area of “contributing to society”. Central to this was his role as a founding director of the European Centre for the Responsibility to Protect, which is based at the University of Leeds.


  • Director MA International Relations

Research interests

Professor Ralph most recent book is “On Global Learning. Pragmatic Constructivism, International Practice and the challenge of Global Governance” (CUP 2023).  It is published as part of the British International Studies Association’s Series Cambridge Studies in International Relations.  The book answers three questions: to answer three questions: (1) what can classical Pragmatism bring to debates in IR, including those centered on the perennial question of how norms, practices and interests interact to influence international society and its practitioners? (2) How, if at all, should international practices and practitioners adapt in the face of pressing global security, climate and health challenges?  (3) Given the Pragmatist answer to these first two questions, what normative conclusions can we come to about actual practice in contemporary international society?



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Student education

Professor Ralph teaches on the following modules:

  • International Politics
  • Contemporary International Relations Theory
  • Diplomatic Practice
  • Responsibility to Protect

Research groups and institutes

  • European Centre for Responsibility to Protect

Current postgraduate researchers

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