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Ian Hurd


B.A.: Carleton University, 1994; Ph.D.: Yale University, 2000
Curriculum Vitae


Research Interest(s): International Relations, International Law, International Organizations, The United Nations, Research Methods, IR Theory, International Rule of Law

Program Area(s): Methods; Law and Politics; International Relations

Subfield Specialties: International Organizations and International Law; International Theory; Law and Politics

Joint Appointment

International Studies

Legal Studies


Ian Hurd is Professor of Political Science and Director of the Weinberg College Center for International and Area Studies at Northwestern University. His research on international law and politics combines contemporary global affairs with attention to the conceptual frames that serve to make sense of the world. His latest book, How to Do Things With International Law (Princeton 2017), examines the ideology of the rule of law in international affairs. His earlier work on the UN Security Council includes the prize-winning After Anarchy: Legitimacy and Power in the UN Security Council (Princeton 2007). He is co-editor of the Oxford Handbook of International Organizations (Oxford 2017) and The UN Security Council and the Politics of International Authority (Routledge 2008). His widely used textbook on the law and politics of global governance, called International Organizations: Politics, Law, Practice is going into its fourth edition in 2020 (Cambridge). He has been chair of the International Organization section at ISA and a visiting scholar at the American Bar Foundation, the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton, WZB-Berlin, Sciences Po in Paris, and elsewhere. He is a frequent contributor to media on current events and his commentary has appeared in the New York Times, Foreign Affairs, the Washington Post, and other outlets. He is currently writing a biography of the idea of the liberal world order.


  • Ian Hurd, How to Do Things With International Law (Princeton University Press, 2017). ian-hurd-international-law.jpg
  • Ian Hurd, International Organization: Politics, Law, Practice (Cambridge University Press, 4th edition, 2020).
  • Ian Hurd, After Anarchy: Legitimacy and Power at the UN Security Council (Princeton University Press, 2007).
  • Bruce Cronin and Ian Hurd eds. The UN Security Council and the Politics of International Authority (Routledge, 2008). 
  • Jacob Katz Cogan, Ian Hurd, and Ian Johnstone eds. The Oxford Handbook of International Organizations (Oxford University Press, forthcoming 2015).

Select Publications 

  • Ian Hurd, “‘If I Had a Rocket Launcher’: Self-Defense and Forever War in International Law,” Houston Law Review, 56(4), 2019.
  • Ian Hurd, “Legitimacy and Contestation in Global Governance: Revisiting the Folk Theory of International Institutions,” Review of International Organizations, 14(4), 2019.
  • Ian Hurd, “Empire of International Legalism,” Ethics and International Affairs, 32(3), 2018.
  • Ian Hurd, “Targeted Killing in International Relations Theory: Recursive Politics of Technology, Law, and Practice,” Contemporary Security Policy, 2017. Reprinted in The Transformation of Targeted Killing and International Order, Martin Senn and Jodok Troy eds. Routledge, 2019.
  • Ian Hurd, “The Permissive Power of the Ban on War,” European Journal of International Security 2(1), February 2017.
  • Ian Hurd, with Mara Pillinger and Michael Barnett “How to Get Away with Cholera: The UN, Haiti, and International Law,” Perspectives on Politics, March 2016.
  • Ian Hurd, “Enchanted and Disenchanted International Law,” Global Policy, 2015.
  • Ian Hurd, “Permissive Law on the International Use of Force,” American Society of International Law Proceedings, 2015.
  • Ian Hurd, “The International Rule of Law and the Domestic Analogy,” Global Constitutionalism 4, no.3 2015: 365-395.
  • Ian Hurd, “The UN Security Council and the International Rule of Law,” Chinese Journal of International Politics, 2014. Appeared in Chinese in Zhejiang University Journal, 2013.
  • Ian Hurd, “The International Rule of Law: Law as the Limit of Politics,” Ethics and International Affairs, 2014.
  • Ian Hurd, “Almost Saving Whales: The Ambiguity of Success at the International Whaling Commission,” Ethics and International Affairs, 2012.
  • Ian Hurd, “Choices and Methods in the Study of International Organizations,” Journal of International Organization Studies, 2011, v.2, n.2.
  • Ian Hurd, “Law and the Practice of Diplomacy,” International Journal, 2011, v.66, n.3.
  • Ian Hurd, “Is Humanitarian Intervention Legal?  The Rule of Law in an Incoherent World," Ethics and International Affairs, 2011, v.25, n.3. Reprinted in Karen A. Mingst and Jack L. Snyder, Essential Readings in World Politics 5th ed. Norton, 2014; and in James Pattison, ed. Humanitarian Intervention, Sage, 2013.
  • Ian Hurd, “Myths of Membership: The Politics of Legitimation in UN Security Council Reform,” Global Governance, 2008, v.14, n.2.
  • Ian Hurd, “Breaking and Making Norms: American Revisionism and Crises of Legitimacy,” International Politics, 2007, v.44:194-213.

Courses Taught

  • ‘Introduction to International Relations’ (Poli.Sci 240)
  • ‘International Relations Theory’ (Poli.Sci. 340)
  • ‘International Organizations’ (Poli.Sci. 342)
  • ‘Methods of Political Inquiry’ (Poli.Sci. 408)
  • ‘International Relations’ (Poli.Sci. 440)