Academic Profile

People Feature

Anette Stimmer

Postdoctoral Prize Research Fellow in Politics

Research Interests: International law, International organisations, International relations, Violence, security and conflict.

My research is situated at the intersection of International Relations and International Law.  I am interested in the effect that contestation over how to apply international law has on norm development. The debates over the legality of the Iraq War, the humanitarian intervention in Libya and over maritime entitlements in the South China Sea show, such norm contestation is a regular occurence in international affairs. Specifically, I develop theoretical frameworks on processes and possible effects of norm contestation on norm development that can guide empirical research. For this research, I have  received an award from the International Studies Association-Theory Section ('Conference Pre-PhD Award' 2018) and an Honorable Mention from the International Studies Association-International Security Studies Section (Honorable Mention, 'Patricia Weitsman' Award 2018).

I am currently working on turning my DPhil thesis into a book. In my DPhil thesis, I  develop a typology of the different effects norm contestation can have on norm development and discuss explanations for this variation in effects. I look at contestation by the United States but also by less powerful actors such as international courts and small states. My case studies include high-stakes debates over maritime boundaries, the interventions in Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya and over the prohibition of torture. With my research, I seek to bridge divides between constructivist and rational choice scholars and I am particularly interested in insights from rhetorical approaches.

Before starting a doctorate at Oxford University, I studied the M.A. in Law and Diplomacy at the Fletcher School, Tufts University, and a B.A. In International Relations at the University of Dresden. In between degrees, I worked for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) in Panama. Furthermore, I coordinated the canvassing campaign of the Social Democratic Party (SPD) in the federal elections 2014 and worked as chief of staff of a member of the German Bundestag.

When I don’t do research on norm contestation, I like to spend time with my family and friends, travel and discuss politics.

Anette Stimmer


Journal Articles

“Beyond Internalization: Alternate Endings of the Norm Life Cycle.” International Studies Quarterly 2019Available at:

“Star Wars or Strategic Defense Initiative: What’s in a name?” Journal of Global Security Studies 2019. Available at 

“The Dynamics of Dissent: When Actions are Louder than Words.” International Affairs 2019. I am the co-author of this special section introduction and co-guest editor of the special section (with Lea Wisken). Available at (open access):


Blog Posts

‘You did not act in time’: Greta Thunberg and behavioural contestation, May 11, 2019, Medium – The International Affairs Blog.

Bizarre, strange or last straw? Slideshows in International Relations, May 8, 2018, The Oxford Politics Blog (OxPol).

Even more unpredictable: Trump’s U-turn on Syria, April 8, 2017, The Oxford University Politics Blog (OxPol)

Trump’s Impact on International Relations, November 21, 2016, OxPol