Universiteit Leiden

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Claire Vergerio


Dr. C. Vergerio
+31 71 527 2727

Claire Vergerio is Senior Assistant Professor of International Relations at the Institute of Political Science.

More information about Claire Vergerio

Claire Vergerio is Senior Assistant Professor of International Relations at the Institute of Political Science.

As a scholar of international relations, she works at the intersection of political thought, history, and international law. She is particularly interested in the regulation of warfare and its relationship to different visions of international order; her current research revolves around the issue of when and why the right to wage war became the exclusive legal prerogative of sovereign states. Through her work on the history of the laws of war, Claire also examines the historical construction of various popular but misleading narratives that are widespread in the disciplines of International Law and International Relations.

Claire’s first book, War, States, and International Order: Alberico Gentili and the Foundational Myth of the Laws of War was published in the Cambridge Studies in International Relations (Cambridge UP) in 2022. She has now begun working on her second major project, funded by an NWO VENI grant and entitled Beyond the Myth of Westphalia: States, International Law, and the Monopolization of the Right to Wage War.

Before delving into historical materials, Claire had a longstanding interest in transitional justice and international criminal law. She was the Chief Editor of Oxford Transitional Justice Research, she worked on the Hissène Habré case during her time at Human Rights Watch in 2010-2011, and she was a legal officer on a defense team before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda in 2013-2014. This practical involvement in international justice cases pertaining to post-conflict situations constituted one of the key starting points of her historical investigations.

As a teacher, Claire tries to show students how valuable it can be to turn to the past to understand contemporary international relations. She has won Leiden’s Casimir Prize, a distinction awarded annually to the best lecturer in the Faculty of Social and Behavioral Sciences, she was a finalist for the EU-wide European Award for Excellence in Teaching in the Social Sciences and Humanities, and in 2022 she was elected to Leiden University’s prestigious Teachers’ Academy.

Prior to her time at Leiden, Claire studied at Brown University and at the University of Oxford, from which she received her MPhil (2013) and DPhil (2018). Her doctoral work won various awards, including Oxford University’s Winchester Thesis Prize, awarded annually to an outstanding thesis on international relations with particular reference to the area of human rights and fundamental freedoms. She also briefly left Leiden to spend a year at Princeton University as a Global Fung Fellow (2019-2020).

For a full overview of her publications, please consult her profile on researchgate.net.

Curriculum vitae Claire Vergerio

PhD supervision

Claire Vergerio is available to supervise PhD students and invites PhD research proposals in the areas of:

  • international political thought
  • empire and international relations
  • history of international law

See for more information on PhD positions:

Institute of Political Science: PhD


  • Faculteit der Sociale Wetenschappen
  • Instituut Politieke Wetenschap
  • No relevant ancillary activities
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