Maria Josepha Debre

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About Me 

Authoritarianism & Democratization, Regional & International Organizations, Institutional Design, Contested Liberal International Order, Middle East

I am currently a post-doctoral researcher and lecturer at the Chair for International Organizations at Potsdam University, Germany


I am also an associated researcher in the ERC project "Who get's to live forever? Toward an Institutional Theory on the Decline and Death of International Organisations" at Maastricht University, the Netherlands.  

I received my Ph.D from the Free University Berlin in International Relations in 2018, where I was funded by the Research College (KFG) "The Transformative Power of Europe."  As part of my PhD research, I spent the academic year 2017/2018 as a Fox International Fellow at the Whitney and Betty MacMillan Center for International and Area Studies at Yale University. 

You can download my full CV here

 

Research

My research is situated at the intersection of international relations and comparative politics. I am interested in how authoritarian regimes cooperate and the domestic and international consequences that result from this, in drivers and consequences of institutional design of International Organizations, and current challenges to the international liberal order. My research draws on a combination of quantitative research and  case-based analysis with a special focus on the Middle East and Muslim China.

Dissertation

My dissertation explores when and how regional organizations can be exploited by authoritarian regimes to ensure their survival. I argue that regional organiztions can empower autocratic incumbents to prevent democratic regime change by strengthening domestic survival strategies with unconditional diplomatic support, strategic information, and security resources. My argument is supported by a nested research design, combining both statistical analysis and in-depth case studies.

Books

Post-Doc 

 Within my work for the ERC project, I examine why some International Organizations decline and die while others manage to adapt and survive and what role institutional design plays in explaining resilience. 

My second project deals with international networks between autocrats and populist leaders and examines the consequences of increased illiberal cooperation for international human rights regimes. 

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Publications

 

Peer-Reviewed Publications

Clubs of Autocrats: Regional Organizations and Authoritarian Survival, The Review of International Organizations,
online first.

 Covid-19 policy responses by international organizations: Crisis of liberal international order or window of opportunity. Global Policy, forthcoming (with Hylke Dijkstra). 

Institutional design for a post-liberal order: Why some International Organizations live longer than others. European Journal of International Relations, 2021: 27(1):311-339 (with Hylke Dijkstra).

 

The dark side of regionalism: how regional organizations help authoritarian regimes to boost survival. Democratization, 2021: 28(2), 394-413.

 

Legitimation, regime survival, and shifting alliances in the Arab Spring: Explaining sanction politics during the Arab Spring. International Political Science Review, online first, 2020.

Die „digitale IO“: Chancen und Risiken von Online-Daten für die Forschung zu Internationalen Organisationen. [The “digital IO“: Chances and Risks of Online Data for Research on International Relations.] ZIB Zeitschrift für Internationale Beziehungen, 2018: 25(1) (with Sebastian Knecht).

Out of the Shadows: Authoritarian Regimes, Flawed Elections and International Legitimation, Contemporary Politics, 2017: 23(3), 328-247 (with Lee Morgenbesser).

Public Affairs Commentary

Trump's 'America First' Approach has Targeted International Institutions -  But they've proved to be resilient. The Loop, (November 25, 2020) (with Hylke Dijkstra) 

How Global Efforts to Promote Regional Organizations Can Strengthen Authoritarian Regimes. Scholars Strategy Network, (June 4, 2018). 

Fatma gegen Goliath. Frauen erlangen das Wahlrecht in Saudi-Arabien. [Fatma vs Goliath. Women gain the Right to Vote in Saudi Arabia.] Mediterranes 1/2016, 40-41.

Der Club der Monarchien – Saudi-Arabiens Kampf um den Erhalt der sunnitisch-royalen Vormachtstellung im Nahen Osten. [The Club of Monarchies. Saudi Arabia’s Fight for Sunni-Royal Hegemony in the Middle East] Alsharq Blog, (Aug. 22, 2015).

 

Omans ungewisse Zukunft – dem Sultanat droht eine Nachfolgekrise. [Oman’s Uncertain Future - Is the Sultanate Threatened by a Succession Crisis?] Alsharq Blog, (Nov. 11, 2014).

Work in Progress

Autocracy from Above: Regional Organizations and Authoritarian Resilience. Unpublished Book Manuscript.

 Causes of death of major international organizations: When institutional stickiness is not enough, under review (with Hylke Dijkstra).

Conceptualizing and Measuring the Decline of International Organizations. Toward a relational view of Institutional Change. ERC Working Paper (with Hylke Dijkstra).

Authoritarian Regionalism. The interplay between regional politics and international regimes. Paper presented at the 2020 German International Relations Section Conference Freiburg (with Daniëlle Flonk).

Overview of Courses

This undergraduate seminar focuses on theories of emergence, institutional design, and effect of regional integration in a globally comparative perspective to understand variation in integration across issue areas and regions. 

Comparative Regionalism

Undergraduate

Now on Sale

This undergraduate seminar looks at the role of  International Organizations in democratization processes around the world, covering a variety of activities, from election monitoring, to foreign aid, or sanction politics. 

International Organizations & Democratization

Undergraduate

Now on Sale

This seminar offers an introduction to research design in the social sciences, covering the research question, literature review, theory development, and methods. It includes a practical colloquium component, and can be adjusted to undergraduate and graduate students.

Introduction to Research
Design

Undergraduate & Graduate

Now on Sale

This undergraduate seminar explores the strategies and interests of the EU and its major member states in the Middle East and Northern Africa (MENA), addressing political, economic, cultural and security aspects of EU Mediterranean relations. 

EU Foreign Policy in the Middle East

Undergraduate

Now on Sale
 

The course explores variations in gender (in)equality across time and regions, addressing how biology, markets, and politics influence socio-economic status and political power of women. 

Sex, Markets, and
Power 

Undergraduate
(Teaching Assistant)

Now on Sale

This undergraduate seminar serves as an introduction to basic theories of International Relations and the role of IGOs and NGOs in various issue areas such as migration, environment, and security. The course employs the problem-based teaching method. 

International Relations: Contemp. Issues & Actors

Undergraduate

Now on Sale

This graduate seminar introduces students to contemporary research on challenges posed to the liberal international order, ranging from contestation and deligitimation by populist and authoritarian governments, to state withdrawal, or death of International Organizations.

Global Governance
in Crisis

Graduate

This graduate seminar introduces students to contemporary debates around  types, legality, employment, 

and effectiveness of bi- & multilateral sanctions by 

comparatively assessing cases in the fields of democratization, conflict studies, disarmament, and terrorism.  

Sanctions in World
Politics

Graduate

This graduate course explores the role, relationships, and modes of influence of global actors in various fields of global public policy making, including an extensive in-class group research project on challenges and reform options of major global conventions. 

Global Public Policy

Graduate

 

Conferences & Workshops

Get in Touch

Berlin, Germany

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Conferences

International Studies Association (ISA) Annual Conventions – 2017-2021 [2020 canceled due to Covid]

ECPR Joint Sessions of Workshops – 2016, 2019, 2021

ECPR General Conference – 2016, 2019-2020 [2020 online] 

German Political Science Association (DVPW) International Relations Section Conference, Freiburg University 2020 [online] 

Annual Meeting of the Political Science Section of the German Association for American Studies, Heidelberg, 2019

5th Joint Nordic Conference on Development Research, Copenhagen Business School, 2019

Fox International Fellowship Conference, Yale University, 2018  

German Political Science Association (DVPW) 3-Länder Tagung, University of Heidelberg, 2016   

German Association for the Middle East (DAVO) Annual Congress, University of Bochum, 2015

German Political Science Association (DVPW) Comparative Political Science Section Conference, GIGA Hamburg, 2015   

Workshops

Politics and Culter (PCE) Research Cluster Meeting 'Europe and the Crisis of Rule-Based Order', January 2021 [online]

Politicologenetmaal, Workshop “Global Order in Crisis?”, Radboud University, Nijmegen, 2020 (Co-organizer) [workshop canceled due to Covid]

 

ERC Workshop ‘Decline and Death of International Organizations’, Brussels Campus, Maastricht University, 2020 (Co-organizer)

Maastricht-York Workshop, ‘Europe and the future of global rules and multilateralism’, Maastricht University, 2019

ISA Venture Research Workshop ‘International Organization Dissolution’, University of Zurich, 2019  

Authoritarian Politics and International Relations (APIR) Seminar, Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin (WZB), 2019 

Author’s Workshop ‘Regional Democracy Protection and Sanctions’, Stockholm University, 2019  

7th International Joint Ph.D. Workshop of the Berlin Graduate School for Transnational Studies (BTS) and the Leonard Davis Institute for International Relations at the Hebrew University, Jerusalem, 2017

 

Authoritarianism in a Global Age Project Meeting, University of Amsterdam, 2017