CISRUL’s PhD candidates represent a variety of disciplines, including sociology, law, race studies, international security studies, and history. Browse their individual profiles to learn more about their backgrounds, projects, and their unique interdisciplinary contributions to CISRUL.

Elise Marie Boyle Espinosa

Elise was hired in our second call in September 2019. She has an interdisciplinary background in international studies and global development.

Her PhD project examines the education system of Islamic State, and the impact that living under Islamic State control has had on education more broadly. This project is supervised by Professor Pamela Abbott and Dr Rachel Shanks.



Valentin Clavé-Mercier

Valentin was hired in the first call in October 2018 and holds a B.A. in Political Studies and a M.A in Political Analysis from the Unirsidad Complutense de Madrid (Spain)

His PhD project, supervised by Dr Trevor Stack and Dr Ritu Vij, is focused on the concept of sovereignty and more exactly on the use, mobilisation and materialisation of this notion by Maori people in New Zealand.

Anna Sophie Lauwers

Sophie was hired in the first call in October 2018,  she completed her Research Master Political Philosophy at the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (Belgium), where she wrote a thesis on Islamophobia and racism.

Her PhD project is supervised by Dr. Brian BrockProfessor Nadia Kiwan ,and Dr. Tamas Gyorfi and investigates to which extent political secularism in Europe is still influenced by its Christian past, and whether a potential Christian bias has (problematic) consequences for certain groups in European society.

Daniel Matthews-Ferrero

Daniel was hired in the first call in October 2018, is a European Studies graduate (BA from the University of Kent, UK; MA from the College of Europe, Poland).

He is working on his PhD, under the supervision of Prof. Claire WallaceProf. Tom Weber, and Dr. Natasha Danilova, investigating the growth of populist movements in Western Europe and beyond as a reaction against liberal overreach at the “end of history”.

Jorg Meurkes

Jorg was hired in our second call in September 2019. His Phd project will investigate to what extent contemporary Spinozist and Nietzschean inspired conceptions of politics are at odds with Liberal-Kantian ones, and whether the former can be linked to a recent boom in speculative or ontological (i.e. anti-transcendental) philosophies. He will be supervised by Dr Beth Lord and Dr Ritu Vij.

Aditya Mohanty

Since 2012 Aditya has worked as an Assistant Professor of Development Studies at the Central University of South Bihar, Gaya, India. His PhD research project falls within the interstices of Urban Studies and Post-colonial/ South Asian studies. It aims to explore a) the tractions that new urban politics exerts on the subaltern groups and b) how that in turn recasts the contours of identity politics and processes of contentious politics.

Stephan Ritscher

Stephan was hired in the first call in October 2018 and studies political philosophy with a focus on the concept of the Political. His PhD dissertation, supervised by Dr. Ritu Vij and Dr. Tamas Gyorfi, seeks to investigate the interdependencies between democracy and populism and how populists challenge the status quo by advocating a counter-hegemonic understanding of the people.

Maxim van Asseldonk

Maxim was hired in our second call in September 2019. His project at POLITICO investigates what role the concept of political community may play in philosophical theories of civil disobedience, particularly in contentious circumstances such as post-conflict societies. He is supervised by Dr Beth Lord and Dr Trevor Stack.

Fredericke Weiner

Fredericke was hired in our second call in September 2019. Her PhD research, supervised by Dr. Ritu Vij and Dr. Nadia Kiwan, she is investigating the Utopian potential of the Global Women’s March Movement. She studies the movement’s global interconnectedness as well as the concrete local activism to understand these glocalized processes. She is supervised by Dr. Nadia Kiwan and Dr Ritu Vij

Marie Wuth

Marie was hired in the first call in October 2018. Her interests include political and social philosophy as well as affect theory and French theory.

Her PhD project takes a feminist-political stance on Spinoza’s relational ontology and epistemology in order to develop an affect theoretical account of political agency and political bodies building on and informed by Foucault, Deleuze, and Butler, supervised by  Dr Beth Lord and Dr Andrea Teti.

Andreas Zaunseder

Interests: Historical, Political and Economic Sociology, Political Theory, Critical Theory, Alternative Economies, Cryptomarkets

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