Portrait of Dr Maria Mälksoo

Dr Maria Mälksoo

Senior Lecturer


Maria Mälksoo earned her PhD in International Studies at the University of Cambridge (2008). Before joining BSIS in 2016, she worked as Senior Researcher in International Relations at the University of Tartu in her native Estonia.
She has held post-doctoral research fellowships at the Centre for International Studies, London School of Economics and Political Science (2015), Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies (2012), and the University of Tartu (2010-2014).
Dr Mälksoo has policy experience from the Estonian Ministry of Defence, International Centre for Defence Studies in Tallinn, and the Office of the President of Estonia. She is a member of the editorial boards of Global Studies Quarterly, Contemporary Security Policy, New Perspectives, Journal of Genocide Research, International Political Anthropology, and an incoming co-editor of Global Society.
She is the President of the Central and East European International Studies Association (CEEISA) (2019-2022) and Executive Secretary of the European International Studies Association (EISA) (2018-2021). At BSIS, Dr Mälksoo serves as the Director of Research and Ethics.

Research interests

Critical Security Studies, International Relations Theory, Social Theory, Constructivism, Poststructuralism, Politics of Memory, Political Anthropology, Central and Eastern Europe, Russia

Dr Mälksoo’s research covers social theoretic perspectives of the EU and NATO’s strategic developments, liminality and rituals in world politics, conflicts over historical memory between Russia and its former Soviet/East European dependents, and the nexus between transitional justice and foreign policy on the example of post-communist Russia. She has collaborated with historians, lawyers and Russianists in her academic work.
Her current research focuses on the ritual practices of deterrence in NATO’s eastern flank countries, mnemonical status contestation in Russia, Poland and Ukraine, and provincializing IR from CEE. Dr Mälksoo is the author of The Politics of Becoming European: A Study of Polish and Baltic Post-Cold War Security Imaginaries (Routledge, 2010) and a co-author of Remembering Katyn​ (Polity, 2012). She is currently editing the Handbook on the Politics of Memory (Edward Elgar).

BSIS Research Cluster

Security, Identity, Memory


At BSIS, Dr Mälksoo teaches the following modules: PO924 Foreign Policy Analysis, PO934 Conflict and Security, PO930 Critical Approaches to Security. She also contributes to PO8113 Conflict Transformation and Peace and the Fundamentals for Dissertation Research.


Maria Mälksoo supervises PhD students in the fields of International Relations and International Conflict Analysis. She welcomes in particular doctoral students in the following areas: Critical Security Studies (including deterrence, cyber security, hybrid warfare), Discourse Theory/Analysis, Memory Politics, Critical Constructivist and Poststructuralist International Relations.

Current PhD researchers

Shota Kakabadze, The Stigma of Non-Europeanness in the Post-2000 Georgian Public Discourse, University of Tartu, Johan Skytte Institute of Political Studies (co-supervision with Prof. Andrey Makarychev)

Raphaël Bicente Benjamin Wolff, Future Freedom: The Fight Against Digital Mass Surveillance after Snowden, University of Kent, BSIS (co-supervision with Dr Albena Azmanova)

Shaymaa Badawi, ‘Religionisation’: a New Framework of Analysis of Religious International Conflict and its Transformation in the Middle East and Beyond, University of Kent, BSIS (primary supervisor; secondary: Dr Bojan Savic)

Thomas Chevalier, Space Military Politics: Exploring the Role of Imaginaries in the United States and France (primary supervisor; secondary: Dr Bojan Savic)

Mario Baumann, Discursive Interaction in EU-Russia Relations (secondary supervisor; primary: Dr Tom Casier)


PhD students who have completed

Birgit Poopuu, Acting is Everything: The European Union and the Process of Becoming a Peacebuilder, Johan Skytte Institute of Political Studies, University of Tartu

Camilla Edemann Callesen, Intergroup Dynamics and Protracted Conflicts: an Analysis of the Ukraine and Georgia Conflicts, University of Kent, BSIS (secondary supervisor; primary: Dr Tom Casier)

Abdullah Al-Jabassini, Tribalocracy: Wartime Social Order and its Transformation in Tribal Regions. Evidence from Daraa Governorate in Southern Syria, University of Kent, BSIS (secondary supervisor; primary: Dr Yvan Guichaoua)

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