Authoritarian Politics and International Relations (APIR)

This new workshop series on Authoritarian Politics and International Relations offers a forum for systematic debate about authoritarianism in world politics by bringing together scholars from comparative politics and international relations. We are convinced that studies from both sub-disciplines will greatly benefit in terms of theory development and empirical analysis by discussing the international consequences of authoritarian rule and how developments abroad affect dictatorships domestically. All too often, relevant contributions to one discipline miss important debates from the other. Empirically, both the relevance of authoritarianism and of the international level is growing and become increasingly related. It is therefore important to integrate insights into the specifics of authoritarian rule and international politics in order to develop more accurate theories and analyses.

We invite papers combining comparative authoritarianism and IR, but are open to contributions that help clarify important theoretical concepts and empirical patterns in either discipline that can shed novel light on the seminar’s overall theme. Also, we encourage presentations on normative political theory with a focus on regime type and international affairs. Colleagues interested in presenting in the workshop series should email Alex Tokhi (alexandros.tokhi [at] or Alex Schmotz (alexander.schmotz [at]

When: Once a month on a Tuesday afternoon (see dates below)

Where: WZB Berlin Social Science Center, Reichpietschufer 50, 10785 Berlin, Room A305

What: A classic format: 90 minute research seminar with one paper presentation (15 min), one discussant (10), and plenty of time for Q&A

Who: All scholars from WZB and the Berlin area and anyone interested in authoritarian politics and/or international relations

Organized by Alexandros Tokhi (Department Global Governance) and Alexander Schmotz (Department of Democracy & Democratisation)

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Upcoming sessions
December 11, 2018

“Comparing authoritarian publics: The benefits and risks of three types of publics for autocrats”
Florian Töpfl; Discussant:

November 20, 2018

Cedric Koch (tbc)

October 30, 2018

“Democratization vs Militarization. The Politics of Welfare in Tunisia and Egypt after the Arab Spring”
Roy Karadag, Saara Inkinen & Kressen Thyen; Diskussant: tba

October 9, 2018

“Democracy under Pressure. Investigating the nature and origins of democratic backsliding in Europe’s new democracies?”
Julia Langbein (Freie Universität Berlin); Discussant: Alexander Schmotz

Past sessions
July 17, 2018

“Russian Norm Entrepreneurship in Crimea: Serious Contestation or Cheap Talk?”
Christoph Stefes (University of Colorado Denver); Discussant: Alexandros Tokhi

June 19, 2018

“International Authority and the Emergency Problematique. IO Empowerment Through Crises”
Christian Kreuder-Sonnen (WZB); Discussant: Alexander Schmotz

To register please contact Alexandros Tokhi (alexandros.tokhi [at] or Alexander Schmotz (alexander.schmotz [at]