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School of Social and Political Science: About


Professor John Peterson

The School of Social and Political Science and the University of Edinburgh are greatly saddened by the death of Professor John Peterson at the weekend.

Joining the University in 2005, Professor Peterson was at the forefront of teaching and research in areas including US-European relations, EU politics and policy, US foreign policy and EU trade policy.

Professor John Peterson

His work at Edinburgh engaged countless students through his lectures and seminars, his supervision of research students and his leadership of programmes such as the MSc in International and European Politics. 

John was a boundlessly enthusiastic and supportive colleague and mentor to other members of staff. In particular, his time as Head of Politics and International Relations between 2007 and 2010 was exemplary of his ability and willingness both to lead and to collaborate with others. John played a great role in forging Politics and International Relations as a leading international research and teaching centre. Most recently, this was exemplified by John’s role as Editor-in-Chief of the British Journal of Politics and International Relations.  

John founded and led the weekly Transatlantic Seminar series, which promoted informed discussion of current issues and research on US and European politics, economy, and society and (especially) transatlantic relations for an enthusiastic audience of students and staff. He was particularly adept at bringing famed speakers to Edinburgh, including Francis Fukuyama and, most recently, John Ikenberry.

Through his work, the University of Edinburgh was connected with universities and research centres in Brussels, Berlin, Berkeley, and Washington DC, while John was a prominent and active figure in UK and international networks such as The University Association for Contemporary European Studies (UACES), The Political Studies Association (PSA), the European Union Studies Association (EUSA) and The International Studies Association (ISA).

Before his time at Edinburgh, Professor Peterson taught and researched at universities including Glasgow, York, Essex, Oxford and UC (Santa Barbara).

There is much more that can and will be remembered about John in the coming days and years, with great gratitude. At this time, the School and the University extend their profound sympathies to John’s family, friends, fellow scholars and students in Edinburgh and beyond.

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