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Durham University

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Staff Profile

Dr Peter Stirk, BA (Birmingham Polytechnic), PhD (Exeter)

Telephone: +44 (0) 191 33 47183
Room number: SE101, Southend House

(email at


Peter is Senior Lecturer and Director of the Centre for the History of Political Thought. He has held appointments at York, Teeside and Sunderland and was Leverhulme Research Fellow at Hull (1986-9).

Dr Stirk is currently working on a history of military occupations. This builds on his Politics of Military Occupation and is related to a second project on the state as a community of liability (intended for publication of a co-edited book on the The Concept of the State in International Relations). The history of military occupation will be a multivolume project which seeks to provide a comprehensive, analytically informed history of military occupation from their origins as a conceptually distinct political phenomenon in the eighteenth century through to today's occupations. The project seeks to address such questions as: how is military occupation defined?; when and why did political leaders, military officers and occupied populations come to think of military occupation as a distinctive form with its own rules and laws?; what forms of government have military occupiers developed; what has been the relationship between the armed forces of the occupying power(s) and the civilian agencies which have often formed part of the occupation administration?; do occupied populations have a duty of obedience to occupying forces?; what has happened to justice under military occupation?; does the concept of sovereignty have any meaning under military occupation?; has military occupation changed in any fundamental way?; are cases of 'international territorial administration' in fact disguised military occupations? All of these questions have troubled those involved in military occupation. The project seeks to bring together these question and the implications of the way they have been answered in a historical synthesis of a topic that has been unduly neglected by political scientists.

Research Groups

School of Government and International Affairs

  • Political Theory

Research Interests

  • The Politics of Military Occupation
  • Political Thought and International Relations
  • German Political Thought


Authored book

  • Stirk, Peter M.R. (2016). A History of Military Occupation from 1792 to 1914. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.
  • Stirk, P.M.R. (2009). The Politics of Military Occupation. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.
  • Stirk, Peter M.R. (2006). Twentieth-Century German Political Thought. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.
  • Stirk, P.M.R. (2005). Carl Schmitt, Crown Jurist of the Third Reich On Preemptive War, Military Occupation and World Empire. Lewiston, N.Y.: Edwin Mellen Press.
  • Stirk, P.M.R. (2000). Critical Theory:Politics and Society. London: Pinter.
  • Stirk, P.M.R. (1996). A History of European Integration since 1914. London: Pinter.
  • Stirk, P.M.R (1992). Max Horkheimer: A New Interpretation. Hemel Hempstead: Harvester Wheatsheaf.

Edited book

  • Dimova-Cookson, Maria & Stirk, P.M.R. (2009). Multiculturalism and Moral Conflict. Routledge Innovations in Political Theory. London: Routledge: Routledge.
  • Stirk, P.M.R. & Weigall, D (1999). The Origins and Development of European Integration: A Reader and Commentary. London: Pinter.
  • Stirk, P.M.R. & Weigall, D. (1995). An Introduction to Political Ideas. London: Pinter.
  • Stirk, P.M.R. (1994). Mitteleuropa: History and Prospects. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.
  • Stirk, P.M.R. & Weigall, D. (1992). The Origins and Development of the European Community. Leicester: Leicester University Press.
  • Stirk, P.M.R. & Willis, D. (1991). Shaping Postwar Europe: European Unity and Disunity, 1945-1957. London: Pinter.
  • Stirk, P.M.R. & Smith, M.L. (1990). Making the New Europe: European Unity and the Second World War. London: Pinter.
  • Stirk, P.M.R. (1989). European Unity in Context: Interwar Europe. London: Pinter.

Chapter in book

  • Stirk, Peter. (2011). 'No peace beyond the line'. In Spatiality, Sovereignty and Carl Schmitt. Legg, Stephen. Routledge. 276-283.
  • Stirk, Peter M.R. (2010). Multiculturalism and the Concept of the State. In Multiculturalism and Moral Conflict. Dimova-Cookson, Maria. & Stirk, Peter M. R. Abingdon: Routledge. 151-169.
  • Stirk, P.M.R. (2006). ‘Integration and Disintegration before 1945’. In Origins and Evolution of the EU. Dinan, Desmond Oxford: Oxford University Press. 9-28.
  • Stirk, P.M.R. (2000). 'Habermas on Theory and Political Practice'. In Marxism at the Millenium. Cowling, M. & Reynolds, P. London: Palgrave. 97-115.
  • Stirk, P.M.R. (1994). 'Ideas of Economic Integration in Interwar Mitteleuropa'. In Mitteleuropa: History and Prospects. Stirk, P.M.R. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press. 86-111.
  • Stirk, P.M.R. (1994). 'The Idea of Mitteleuropa'. In Mitteleuropa: History and Prospects. Stirk, P.M.R. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press. 1-35.
  • Stirk, P.M.R. (1991). 'Americanism and Anti-Americanism in British and German Responses to the Marsahll Plan'. In Shaping Postwar Europe: European Unity and Disunity 1945-1957. Stirk, P.M.R. & Willis, D. London: Pinter. 27-42.
  • Stirk, P.M.R. (1991). 'Authoritarian Federalists in Central Europe'. In A Constitution for Europe. King, P. & Bosco, A. London: Lothian Press. 199-212.
  • Stirk, P.M.R. (1991). 'The Preconditions of European Integration: Observations on the Years 1918-1945'. In Europese Eenwording in Historisch-Perspectief. Camphuis, W.A.F. & Wildboer-Schut, C.G.J. Zaltbommel: Europese Bibilotheek. 174-185.
  • Stirk, P.M.R. (1990). 'Anti-Americanism in National Socialist Propaganda during the Second World War'. In Making the New Euroope: European Unity and the Second World War. Stirk, P.M.R. Stirk & Smith, M.L. London: Pinter. 66-86.
  • Stirk, P.M.R. (1989). 'Authoritarian and National Socialist Conceptions of Nation, State, and Europe'. In Stirk, P.M.R. London: Pinter. 125-48.

Journal Article

  • Stirk, P.M.R. (2015). 'The Concept of Military Occupation in the era of the French Revolution and Napoleonic Wars'. Comparative Legal History 3(1): 60-84.
  • Stirk, Peter M.R. (2012). 'The Westphalian model and sovereign equality'. Review of International Studies 38(3): 641-660
  • Stirk, P.M.R. (2009). ‘Et l’ère de l’État touché sa fin: Carl Schmitt et la conceptualisation du changement d’époque historique en relations internationales’. Études Internationales 40(1): 37-54.
  • Stirk, P.M.R. (2008). 'John H. Herz and the International Law of the Third Reich'. International Relations 22(4): 427-440.
  • Stirk, Peter M.R. (2006). 'The Concept of the State in German Political Thought'. Debatte:Journal of Contemporary Central and Eastern Europe 14(3): 213-228.
  • Stirk, P.M.R. (2005). 'The Westphalian Model, Sovereignty and Law in Fin-de-siecle German International Theory'. International Relations 19(2): 153-72.
  • Stirk, Peter M.R. (2005). ‘John H. Herz: Realism and the Fragility of the International Order’. Review of International Studies 31(2): 285-306.
  • Stirk, Peter M.R. (2004). ‘Carl Schmitt, the Law of Occupation and the Iraq War’. Constellations 11( 4): 527-536.
  • Stirk, Peter M.R. (2003). ‘Carl Schmitt’s Enemy and the Rhetoric of Anti-Interventionism’. European Legacy 8(1): 21-36.
  • Stirk, Peter.M.R (2002). ‘Hugo Preuss, German Political Thought and the Weimar Constitution’. History of Political Thought 23(3): 497-516.
  • Stirk, P.M.R. (1999). 'Eros and Civilisation Revisited'. History of the Human Sciences 12(1): 73-90.
  • Stirk, P.M.R. (1999). ‘Carl Schmitt’s Völkerrechtliche Grossraumordnung’. History of Political Thought 20(2): 357-374.