Sussex Research Group

Adam Fishwick

Adam’s current research is on the politics of industrialisation in Chile and Argentina between the 1930s and 1970s. He is particularly interested in the relationship between policy making, ideas and class formation in these particular historical and political contexts. Adam is currently working on a paper exploring the emergence of working class consciousness in the late 1960s-1970s in the context of particular patterns of industrialisation in these two countries.

Can Cemgil

Can’s doctoral research focuses on the subdisciplinary gap between Foreign Policy Analysis and International Relations. Primarily of a theoretical nature, his research seeks to offer an explanation for this divide at a deeper level in terms of the ontoepistemology of capitalist modernity with specific focus on human social action and subjectivity. His research interests include Marxist theory and philosophy, theories of foreign policy and international relations, social change, American and Turkish foreign policy, and the geopolitics of the Middle East.

Clemens Hoffmann

Clemens’s doctoral research focused on the emergence of the inter-state system beyond Europe. His thesis historicises the rise of modern ‘national’, territorial rule as distinct from the emergence of capitalist social property relations in the post-colonial world. In doing so, he problematizes the rise nationalism and identity politics to overcome an ahistorical ontology of ‘multiplicity’. This, in turn, provides for a fresh understanding of multiplicity and ‘order’ as something intrinsically instable. This also helps understanding the thus far undertheorised great anomaly of International Relations: Secessions. This theoretical research is embedded within a strong historical and contemporary interest in the Eastern Mediterranean and former Ottoman worlds, a region still characterized by the prevalence of the so-called ‘Eastern Question’. In particular, the transition from Ottoman ‘imperial’ to modern Turkish Kemalist rule lies at the heart of this research agenda. Clemens’s current work follows two strands. One follows chronologically from his doctoral research, looking at Turkey’s contemporary geopolitical transformation in relation to its peculiar political economic trajectory into neoliberalism from the foundation of the republic onwards. The second strand looks at processes of secession, partition and continued attempts at homogenization more broadly.

Matthieu Hughes

Matthieu’s doctoral research is centred on the development of the German “bank-based” financial system during the ‘long nineteenth century’ (1780-1918). His research critically engages with narratives of German financial development during industrialistion. Specifically, this engagement is pursued through a study of the political struggles around financial regulation in and between the German states that unified as the German Empire in 1871. Matthieu’s research aims are twofold. Firstly, he wishes to enhance our understanding of the German financial system by excavating its profoundly political roots. Secondly, he aims to finesse a more explicit theorization of finance for the theoretical corpus of Political Marxism.

Samuel Knafo

Samuel’s research focuses on Britain and liberal financial governance. His work on British finance grew out of a project to use Brenner’s thesis about the transition to capitalism in order to re-interpret the financial revolution in England. The project has since evolved into a broader reflection on the role of the English state in shaping the rise of modern finance. Going beyond the traditional image of liberal financial governance as a passive and depoliticised form of governance, Samuel shows how the gold standard contributed to reshape financial governance. In parallel, Samuel has undertaken a theoretical project to systematically rearticulate Marx’s key theoretical categories in light of the concept of agency. This project posits agency as a key methodological imperative to go beyond structuralist and ahistorical approaches and to radically historicise social developments. It addresses critical methodology, fetishism, value theory, crisis theory, etc.

Maïa Pal

Maïa’s work looks at the development of modern public international law from a historical sociological perspective. She argues that a combined history of public international law and international relations is better understood through the history of extraterritoriality as a constitutive process of international ordering. Through this prism, i.e. the claiming of jurisdiction beyond the reach of a sovereign or state’s power, mainstream and critical historiographies are problematised for assuming false continuities and ruptures. In contrast, her thesis develops a theory of ‘juridical territorialisation’, to deploy an early modern history of extraterritoriality as ‘legal strategies of territorial expansion’. These strategies are broken down into distinct processes of accumulation: jurisdictional, primitive and capitalist. The historical research is based on the cases of early modern Spain, France and England-Britain. These show that international juridical institutions and corresponding forms of sovereignty (colonial, dynastic, extraterritorial) are products of the jurisdictional drive of dominant international actors, from Spanish theologians and conquistadores, French nobility and traders, to British capitalists and administrators. As a result, her thesis argues for the heterogeneous continuity of jurisdictional struggles, mostly constitutive of, but also at times potentially challenging, international legal orders.

Benno Teschke

Benno’s research project revolves around three axes. First, it has drawn upon PM to revise the standard account in IR Theory of the rise of the modern inter-state system in Europe that centers on the centrality of the Westphalian Peace Treaties. In the process, he has provided an alternative account of world-order formations premised on the interplay between social conflict, socio-economic development, state-formation and geopolitical rivalry. Benno is currently working on a sequel to his ‘Myth of 1648’, which seeks to extend this theoretically-informed reconstruction of the evolution of the European interstate system into the 18th and 19th centuries, centering on Prusso-German state-formation. Second, PM’s theoretical premises and historical counter-narrative is deployed for a large-scale critique of Carl Schmitt’s theory and history of international law and order and – more broadly – 19th and 20th Century German social and political theory and the theory of historiography. Third, these projects remain grounded in an ongoing but more systematic attempt to rethink PM as a distinctive approach in relation to classical Marxism and alternative critical epistemologies in the social sciences and International Relations.

Nancy Turgeon

Nancy’s research focuses on the problematic of Eurocentrism in International Relations and Historical Sociology. Theoretically, this research engages both traditional narratives of the emergence of capitalism and the modern state in Europe, as well as critical approaches (e.g. the California school and anti-Eurocentric Marxism). Nancy’s research examines the problem of Euro-centrism specifically in relation to accounts of the developmental trajectory of China. This stems in part from the observation that many Weberian and Marxist approaches to Historical Sociology conceptualize China through the lense of Europe’s ‘success.’ Her research is operationalised through a social history of China from the Mongol conquest to the alleged ‘Great divergence’ of the early 19th century. This history also endeavours to elucidate the impact of the geopolitical context in which it unfolded. A central goal of Nancy’s work is to examine the potential of Political Marxism to generate a basis for non-Eurocentric world history.

Steffan Wyn-Jones

Steffan’s current research focusses on the historical specificity of US state formation. In particular, his investigation of US state formation is concretely operationalised through a critical engagement with literature on the ‘military-industrial complex’. Steffan’s work also tarries constructively with a broad array of further research interests: The transition to capitalism debate, Marxist epistemology, Philosophy of Science, and Philosophy of Social Science.

Norihisa Yamashita

Based on the World-System perspective,  Norihisa analyzes the social fluctuation brought by globalizations from long-term viewpoint. His current research themes are a) socio-cultural study of things to capture the shift of mode of articulation between social system and ecological system (specifically study of wine industry) and b) study of the alteration of the mode of spatial imagination on which the global order of the world-system is (re-)constructed (specifically study on empire).