Professor John Peterson

Professor John Peterson
Professor John Peterson
Politics and International RelationsSchool of Social and Political ScienceUniversity of Edinburgh
Research Interests
US-European relations, EU politics and policy, US foreign policy, EU trade policy

We’re very sorry to say that John passed away in May. Please check here for more information. If you would like to pass on a tribute or a memory about John to send on to his family, please email

Please also note that the John Peterson Memorial Fund has been established at the University of Edinburgh to support a range of studentships in Politics and International Relations, in honour of John’s long career as Professor of International Politics at the University. If you would like to make a donation please go to the John Peterson Memorial Fund page.

Thank you, 

From John’s colleagues at the School of Social and Political Science


  • BSc (Ithaca College)
  • MA (California, Santa Barbara)
  • PhD (London School of Economics)

Recent Posts

John joined Politics/IR in 2005. He previously held posts teaching international, European and American politics at the Universities of Glasgow, York, Essex, Oxford, and the University of California (Santa Barbara). He has also held visiting posts at the Universities of Vienna, California (Berkeley), Johns Hopkins University, Sciences Po Paris, University College Dublin, the University of Agder (Norway) and the College of Europe (Bruges).  He was Head of Politics/IR from 2007-10.  John is Editor in Chief of the British Journal  of Politics and International Relations (follow us on Twitter @BritJPIR).   

During most of 2018, John was a Visiting Fellow at the Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS) in Brussels. He was also a Fellow at the Social Science Research Centure (WZB) in Berlin during 2010-11. John was privileged to be a Visiting Scholar at the Institute of Governmental Studies at UC Berkeley and Center for Transatlantic Relations (CTR; Johns Hopkins University) in Washington DC during 2015. To view his CTR presentation (10th April 2015) entitled 'Desperately Seeking Europe', click here (you can  also see John's reflections on his time at Cal on our Blog and at CTR  here).  His recent reflections on his time in Brussels can be found here.  

Follow John on Twitter:  @redsocksjp.

Current Research and Teaching 

John is host and chair of our weekly Transatlantic Seminar series.  

John teaches on our compulsory 2nd year course International Cooperation in Europe and Beyond (ICEB) as well as our 1st year course (for non-PIR students) Politics of a Changing World.  He taught the postgraduate course Analysing European Governance in autumn term 2018.  John also teaches an honours course in US Foreign Policy . 

He offered a special course - Contemporary Issues in Political Science - the 2016 US Election (with Professor Elizabeth Bomberg) - for 4th year honours students during autumn 2016 (click here to listen to a podcast to which John contributed - along with Edinburgh colleagues - on the 2016 US election).  

John has recently been conducting research on EU  decision-making and US-European relations. He  worked extensively on TRANSWORLD, an EU-funded programme of research on transatlantic relations (2012-15). Click here to see a 'Research in a Nutshell' 1 minute video.  He co-edited a book with TRANSWORLD colleagues - The West and the Global Power Shift - that was published in 2016.

John co-led an international research team on an ESRC- and EU-funded project on the European Commission. ‘The Commission of the 21st Century’ project spawned the largest-ever independent attitudinal survey of European Commission officials. He was also Director of Research for MERCURY, a 3-year EU-funded project designed to examine critically the European Union's contribution to multilateralism. 

Research Interests

John has membership in the following Politics Research Groups: International Relations; European Integration; Public Policy.

Recent Publications

John has numerous books that will shortly be or have been recently published:

Europe and America: Partners and Rivals in International Relations, Rowman and Littlefield, 2020.

Power, Decision and Policy in the European Union (co-authored with Megan Dee), Oxford University Press, 2020.

How the European Union Decides (co-authored with Megan Dee), Palgrave Macmillan, 2020.

The European Union:  How Does it Work? (co-edited with Daniel Kenealy and Richard Corbett, 5th edition), Oxford University Press, 2018 (for an inspection copy click here).

The Institutions of the European Union (co-edited with Dermot Hodson, 4th edition), Oxford University Press, 2017 (click here to watch a 9 minute video that previews this book:  '10 Things You Need to Know About the EU's Institutions').

The West and the Global Power Shift:  Transatlantic Relations and Global Governance (co-edited with Riccardo Alcaro and Ettore Greco), Palgrave Macmillan, 2016.

Parochial Global Europe: 21st Century Trade Politics (co-authored with Alasdair Young), Oxford University Press, 2014.  To read an excerpt from this book, click here.

Some of John's other works include 

You can see John's Transatlantic Seminar (arising from the MERCURY project) on Obama and Multilateralism:  Hell No More? by clicking on the image below.  His inaugural lecture - US Democrats - the True Europeans?  Foreign Policy and Public and Public Opinion - can be heard by clicking the 2nd image below.

Links to Publications

To read John's recent contribution (with Dermot Hodson) to the Washington Post's Monkey Cage blog, on the 60th anniversary of the EU's Treaty of Rome, click here.

John is co-editor (with Helen Wallace) of the ‘New European Union’ series for Oxford University Press.

To read John’s recent article in the Journal of Common Market Studies, entitled 'Juncker's Political European Commission and an EU in Crisis', click here.   For a perspective on US foreign policy under Donald Trump - published in International Spectator  - click here.

Topics interested in supervising

I welcome queries about supervision of theses on EU politics and policy-making (particularly external policy), US-European relations, and US foreign policy. I recently supervised 5 PhD students (to successful completion) funded through the EU Marie Curie International Training network EXACT (, which focused on EU external action. I have a long track record of supervising PhD students to successful completion.

If you are interested in being supervised by Professor John Peterson, please see the links below for more information:

PhD in Politics