Toni Erskine

Photograph of Toni Erskine.

Professor in International Politics

BA (Hons.) University of British Columbia
MSc (with Distinction) University of Edinburgh
PhD Cambridge University


Phone: +44 (0)1970 622699
Fax: +44 (0)1970 622709
Office: 3.02



In addition to being Professor of International Politics at Aberystwyth, Toni Erskine is Honorary Professor of Global Ethics at RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia. She is a member of the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) Peer Review College and on the Editorial Boards of the following journals: International Theory; Review of International Studies; Cambridge Review of International Affairs; International Relations; Journal of International Political Theory and International Journal of Intelligence Ethics.  She is past Chair of the International Ethics Section of the International Studies Association (2008-10), and was Lurie-Murdoch Senior Research Fellow in Global Ethics at RMIT University (2008-11), British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow at Cambridge University (1999-2002) and Research Fellow at Clare Hall, Cambridge University (1999-2002).  She received a University Award for Teaching Excellence in 2006 and was awarded a Personal Chair in International Politics by Aberystwyth University in April 2009.



Her research interests include the following:  the moral agency and responsibilities of formal organizations such as states, intergovernmental organizations, and transnational corporations ('institutional moral agency'); the apportioning of blame and punishment to ‘delinquent institutions’ (and specifically the problems with punitive responses in the form of fines, economic sanctions, war and boycotts); the ethics of war, including issues of non-combatant immunity and intelligence collection; communitarian and cosmopolitan conceptions of duty; the changing nature of norms of restraint in world politics, such as the prohibitions against torture and preventive war; assumptions of agency within International Relations (IR) theory, and, recently, the role of 'moral luck' in world politics.

Teaching Areas

Teaching Areas

IP3420 The Ethics of War in Theory and Practice
IP30120 International Political Theory Today
IP 37120 International Peacekeeping

IPM0630 International Politics I: Theories and Concepts
IPM0530 International Politics II: Normative Approaches to Global Issues
IPM2120 Political Research: Philosophy, Methods and Application

PhD Supervision
International Relations (IR) theory
Ethics and international relations
International political theory (IPT)
Ethics of war/just war theory
Political philosophy (particularly communitarian, cosmopolitan and feminist theory)
Questions of moral responsibility and agency/moral agency
Intelligence collection
Anticipatory war; ‘preventive’ and ‘pre-emptive’ self defense
Responsibility to protect/humanitarian intervention
Ethics of secession
State personhood
Theories of citizenship

Staff Publications

Key Publications

Embedded Cosmopolitanism: Duties to Strangers and Enemies in a World of ‘Dislocated Communities' (Oxford University Press, 2008), xiii and 277pp

Co-editor (with Richard Ned Lebow) and contributor, Tragedy and International Relations, (Palgrave Macmillan, forthcoming 2011)

‘Locating Responsibility: The Problem of Moral Agency in International Relations’, The Oxford Handbook of International Relations, ed by Christian Reus-Smit and Duncan Snidal (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008)

‘“As Rays of Light to the Human Soul”? Moral Agents and Intelligence Gathering’, Intelligence and National Security, Vol. 20, No. 1 (Summer 2004), pp 359-381.

Editor and contributor, Can Institutions Have Responsibilities? Collective Moral Agency and International Relations (New York and Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2003), xii and 241pp.

‘Assigning Responsibilities to Institutional Moral Agents: The Case of States and Quasi-States’, Ethics and International Affairs, Vol 15 (Oct. 2001), pp 67-85.

Works in Progress

Who is Responsible? Institutional Moral Agency and International Relations (single-authored monograph)

Full list of publications