Politics and International Relations


Seán Molloy joined the School of Politics and International Relations from the University of Edinburgh in May 2013. His research focuses on International Relations Theory and International Political Theory, with secondary interests in international security and politics and literature. He is currently working on two projects:

The first project is an investigation of Immanuel Kant’s texts that examines the political theology contained within his works and the implications of his theological orientation for his theory of IR and those of his successors in Democratic Peace Theory and Cosmopolitanism.

The second project is a study of the role of ethics in Realist IR theory, especially in the works of E.H. Carr and Hans J. Morgenthau. The latter project has been funded by the AHRC and the Royal Society of Edinburgh. Seán is also one of the principal investigators on the Leverhulme Trust international research network ‘Classical Realism Meets Critical Theory: Crises, Modernity and the Return of Humanity’

Seán received his PhD from the University of Limerick in 2003. Since graduating he has been a Visiting Fellow and Fulbright Scholar at the Watson Institute for International Studies, Brown University and been employed as a lecturer at the universities of Sussex, Glasgow and Edinburgh. Seán is interested in supervising PhDs that critically interrogate IR theory, especially Realism, Kant and “Kantianism” in IR, and the international theory of Martin Wight and Hedley Bull. He is also interested in projects exploring political theology and IR, post-positivist IR theory and the work of certain philosophers whose work applies to IR, e.g. Nietzsche, Spinoza, Hume, Machiavelli.

Contact Information


Rutherford S4.N6

Academic office hours are available on the Moodle Student Guide

Expertise: International Ethics International Relations Available for: TV Press Radio Consultancy

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Also view these in the Kent Academic Repository

Molloy, S. (2014). Pragmatism, Realism and the ethics of crisis and transformation in international relations. International Theory [Online] 6:454-489. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1017/S1752971914000189.
Molloy, S. (2013). 'Cautious politics': Morgenthau and Hume's critiques of the balance of power. International Politics [Online] 50:768-783. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1057/ip.2013.37.
Molloy, S. (2013). Spinoza, Carr, and the ethics of The Twenty Years' Crisis. Review of International Studies [Online] 39:251-271. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0260210512000356.
Molloy, S. (2013). An 'All-Unifying Church Triumphant' A Neglected Dimension of Kant's Theory of International Relations. International History Review [Online] 35:317-336. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/07075332.2012.761148.
Molloy, S. (2010). Escaping the Politics of the Irredeemable Earth? Anarchy and Transcendence in the Novels of Thomas Pynchon. Theory and Event [Online] 13:1. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1353/tae.2010.0004.
Molloy, S. (2010). From The Twenty Years' Crisis to Theory of International Politics: a rhizomatic reading of realism. Journal of International Relations and Development [Online] 13:378-404. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1057/jird.2010.15.
Molloy, S. (2009). Aristotle, Epicurus, Morgenthau and the Political Ethics of the Lesser Evil. Journal of International Political Theory [Online] 5:94-112. Available at: https://doi.org/10.3366%2FE1755088209000342.
Molloy, S. (2009). Aristotle, Epicurus, Morgenthau and the Political Ethics of the Lesser Evil. Journal of International Political Theory [Online] 5:94-112. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.3366/E1755088209000342.
Molloy, S. (2004). Truth, Power, Theory: Hans Morgenthau's Formulation of Realism. Diplomacy and Statecraft [Online] 15:1-34. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1080/09592290490438042.
Molloy, S. (2003). Realism: A Problematic Paradigm. Security Dialogue [Online] 34:71-85. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1177%2F09670106030341007.
Molloy, S. (2003). The Realist Logic of International Society. Cooperation and Conflict [Online] 38:83-99. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1177%2F0010836703038002001.
Molloy, S. (2003). Dialectics and Transformation: Exploring the International Theory of E. H. Carr. International Journal of Politics, Culture, and Society [Online] 17:279-306. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1023/B:IJPS.0000002998.70236.a0.
Book section
Molloy, S. (2018). Morgenthau and the ethics of realism. in: Routledge Handbook of Ethics and International Relations. Abingdon, UK: Routledge, pp. 182-195.
Molloy, S. (2016). A Fine Bromance: Kant and Machiavelli. in: The Return of the Theorists - Dialogues with Great Thinkers in International Relations. Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 110-116.
Molloy, S. (2008). Hans J. Morgenthau versus E. H. Carr: Conflicting Conceptions of Ethics in International Relations. in: Political Thought and International Relations: Variations on a Realist Theme. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, pp. 83-104.
Molloy, S. (2006). Security Strategy and the 'War on Terror'. in: Security Strategy and Transatlantic Relations. London: Routledge.
Molloy, S. (2004). The New Politics of Realism: Theoretical Response to Developments Within Transatlantic Relations. in: The Changing Face of Transatlantic Relations. New York: Institute of the Study of Europe, Columbia University.
Conference or workshop item
Molloy, S. (2017). Kant's International Relations: The Political Theology of Perpetual Peace. [Online]. Michigan, USA: University of Michigan Press. Available at: https://doi.org/10.3998/mpub.5036715.
Molloy, S. (2006). The Hidden History of Realism: A Genealogy of Power Politics. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.
Molloy, S. (2018). Academic Freedom, Democracy and Dissensus: Morgenthau on the Right and Duty of an Academic to Oppose Government Policy. European Journal of International Relations.
Molloy, S. (2018). Kant and International Relations: The Promise of Political Theology. in: Political Theologies of the International. Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan.
Total publications in KAR: 22 [See all in KAR]
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Research Interests

Research Interests

  • ‘Classical’ Realist International Relations theory
  • Kant and International Relations theory
  • International Society/English School IR Theory
  • History of International Political Thought
  • Genealogies and other Critical-Historical / philosophical approaches to IR theory

Current Projects:

  • Kant and International Relations
  • Realist Ethics in International Relations

Research Supervision

Seán is interested in supervising PhD students in aspects of classical and post-classical International Relations theory and International Political Theory. See publications for an indication of research expertise.

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Last Updated: 21/01/2019