People Feature

Jasper Theodor Kauth

DPhil in Politics

Research Interests: migration and citizenship; colonialism, racism, and antisemitism; constitutional history and theory; historical sociology and historical institutionalism (European and American Political Development); philosophy and methodology of social science

I am currently working on two related research projects:

First, in my dissertation project, I analyse the relationship of movement control and state building processes. By drawing from ideational critical juncture and institutional order arguments and by comparing political developments in Europe, the British Empire, and the United States, I set out to show that there exist long exclusionary traditions of attempts to control population movements in today’s Western democracies. These attempts, I argue, are entangled with ideas about colonialism, race, and differential humanity. I set out to show that the monopolisation and institutionalisation of movement control in the late 19th and early 20th centuries is closely entangled with the rise of the modern nation state system.

Secondly, I am interested in the phenomenon of illiberalism in liberal democracies. As outlined in a recent article, I argue that what is commonly referred to as illiberalism should be analytically separated into two concepts: one anti-democratic variant termed disruptive illiberalism and one rooted in the politics of exclusion termed ideological illiberalism. By analysing these two strains individually, I develop a general theory of illiberalism in liberal democracies and try to answer the central question that motivated both of my projects: Why do even purportedly liberal democracies regularly and frequently engage in glaringly illiberal acts? To do so, I combine approaches from history and the social sciences to uncover distal causes of political traditions and the interactions of ideas and institutions. My work employs qualitative, historical, and comparative methods. My primary supervisor is Desmond King. My secondary supervisors are Andrew Thompson (College) and Matthew Gibney (Department).

Before starting the DPhil in Politics at Oxford’s Department of Politics and International Relations and Nuffield College in 2019, I completed the MSc in Politics Research (St Hilda's College, Oxford, 2019). I hold a double-major BA in History and Political Science from Heidelberg University, Germany (2018). During my studies at Heidelberg, I spent a year at St Hugh’s College (Oxford, 2016-17). My Bachelor and Master's programmes in Heidelberg and Oxford were funded by the German Academic Scholarship Foundation and St Hilda's College. My doctoral studies have been jointly funded by Nuffield College and the Economic and Social Research Council's Grand Union DTP (Migration Pathway). I previously acted as the Action Reconciliation Service for Peace Fellow (ARSP) at the Holocaust Center of the Jewish Federation and the August Wilson Center for African American Culture, both Pittsburgh, PA, (2012-13) and as the Allianz Foundation Fellow at ARSP in Philadelphia, PA (2017).

I offer undergraduate teaching in Prelims "Introduction to the Practice of Politics" (Section B) and of papers 205: "The Government and Politics of the United States" and 212: "International Relations in the Era of Two World Wars". I also teach Qualitative Methods on a postgraduate level.


Jasper Theodor Kauth