2018-2019: Dr. Matthew Specter

Dr. Matthew Specter

Dr. Matthew Specter

Duke University Center for International & Global Studies is pleased to host Dr. Matthew Specter as a Visiting Research Scholar during the 2018-2019 academic year.

Field Specialties

Modern European intellectual history, 18th-20th centuries; modern Germany, especially 20th century political thought; social, political, legal, and cultural theory; history of emotions; human rights and humanitarianism; modern international political and legal thought and institutions; theory of history and historiography


Matthew Specter was born in New York City, attended Harvard and Brown Universities, and received his Ph.D. from Duke University in History in 2006. He currently holds multiple positions: Associate Editor at History and Theory; Lecturer in the Department of History at UC Berkeley; Lecturer in Global Studies, also at UC Berkeley; Faculty Affiliate at the Institute of European Studies, UC Berkeley; and Lecturer in the Department of History at Stanford University. From 2008-2017, he was Assistant, and then Associate Professor of History at Central Connecticut State University. There he taught modern German history, European intellectual history, and modern world history in the BA and MA programs in both History and International Studies, was nominated for teaching awards, and was honored with the university's highest research award in 2011-12. Prior to that he was Term Professor in History at George Mason University, from 2005-2008.

He was also a Visiting Fellow at the Wesleyan University Center for the Humanities in 2015-16 and has held other fellowships and grants from the Friedrich Ebert Foundation (Bonn), the Institute for the Human Sciences (Vienna), the Institute for Cultural Sciences (Vienna), the Max Planck Institute for European Legal History (Frankfurt), the American Council on Germany, and the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum.

His book, Habermas: An Intellectual Biography (Cambridge Univ. Press, 2010), the first biography of Habermas by an historian, was widely reviewed and translated into Spanish and Turkish. He is also the author of a contribution to the Oxford Handbook of Carl Schmitt, multiple essays in Modern Intellectual History and History and Theory, and reviews for the Journal of Modern History and Constellations. He is the author of the forthcoming Atlantic Realisms: Political Thought and Foreign Policy, 1890-1980 with Stanford University Press.

With fellow Duke alumnus Daniel Bessner, he has co-organized an international workshop at DUCIGS on the liberal and realist traditions in international political thought and foreign policy, which is scheduled for February 8-9, 2019. In that workshop, they will address questions about the origins and development of realism, liberal internationalism and geopolitics in 20th century Western political thought as well as its continuing relevance to current policy dilemmas.