Dr Maia Pal

Lecturer in International Relations

I am bilingual in French and English and came back to the UK in 2002 to start a BA in International Relations and Philosophy followed by an MA and PhD in International Relations at the University of Sussex, after growing up and studying Law in France. My first area of research is international history with a focus on early-modern European and colonial state-formation. I am specifically interested in the development of sovereign and extraterritorial jurisdictions. The second area of research is contemporary issues in global economic governance, specifically extraterritorial jurisdiction and trade agreements in the North (EU-US). Both areas contribute to theories of International Relations and International Law, and more specifically to global historical sociology, historical materialism and Political Marxism in International Relations. The third area of research is social movements, theories of resistance and critical pedagogies. I explore these in the context of universities in post-Fordist political economies and through Michel Foucault's concept of counter-conduct.

I teach histories and theories of international relations and international law through the following modules: Introductions to IR and Politics, Researching IR and Politics (analytical modes and research methods), and a Level 6 research-based module 'Law, States, Revolutions'.





  • U23201 Introduction to International Relations: Perspectives (Co-Lecturer)
  • U23XXX Level 6 Independent Study Module: Law, States, Revolution (Module Leader)
  • U23130 Researching Politics and International Relations: Analytical Mode (Co-Lecturer)
  • U23202 Introduction to International Relations: Issues (Co-Lecturer)


Editor for the peer-reviewed journal Historical Materialism: Research in Critical Marxist Theory (http://booksandjournals.brillonline.com/content/journals/1569206x)

Member of the Political Marxism Research Group at the University of Sussex (www.politicalmarxism.wordpress.com). 

I am currently working on a monograph proposal based on my doctoral thesis, Jurisdictional Accumulation: A history of law, states and capital. I am also working on articles and book chapters on the origins or capitalism; Marxism and IR; student resistance, other-regardedness and critical pedagogy. 

My doctoral thesis defended in December 2013 consisted in a historical and theoretical reconstruction of the praxis of extraterritoriality through the cases of the early modern Spanish, French and British empires. I am now working on developing the concepts of jurisdictional struggles and jurisdictional accumulation as basis to a historical sociology of (extra)territorial jurisdiction. The aim is to compare and understand the contemporary rise of extraterritorial disputes between the US and its trading partners and their repercussions on practices of state sovereignty.

Thesis available at http://ethos.bl.uk/OrderDetails.do?uin=uk.bl.ethos.574962



'Migrants and borders: exploring new historical subjects for critical pedagogies in international law and international relations' Legacies of the Tricontinental, University of Coimbra (Portugal), 22-25 September 2016

‘Counter-Conduct in the University Factory: Locating the Occupy Sussex Campaign’ International Studies Association (ISA) Annual Convention, Atlanta (USA), 16-19 March 2016

‘My Capitalism is Bigger than Yours: Early-Modern Legal Sovereignties and UCD's theoretical delusions’,Historical Materialism Annual Conference, London, 5-8 November 2015

'Retrieving Agency in IR/IL: a Historical Sociology of Jurisdiction', British International Studies Association (BISA) Annual Conference, London, 17-19 June 2015

'From Conflict of Laws to Jurisdictional Resistance: Rights against States and Capital', Humanities and Social Sciences Faculty Research Conference, Oxford Brookes University, 11 June 2015

‘Jurisdictional Struggles’, Symposium to celebrate the work of Ellen Meiksins Wood, organised by Verso Publishers and the Politics Department at Birkbeck University, London, 4 November 2015

Participation in Roundtable 'Resisting Everyday Sexism in the Academy: Stories and Strategies', International Studies Association (ISA) Annual Conference, New Orleans (USA), 18-21 February 2015

'Extraterritorial Obligations and Jurisdictional Accumulation: Towards A Historical Sociology', International Studies Association (ISA) Annual Conference, New Orleans (USA), 18-21 February 2015

Organisation of panel ‘Contending Perspectives of Extraterritorial Jurisdiction: International Law, International Relations, Historical Sociology’, International Studies Association (ISA) Annual Conference, New Orleans (USA), 18-21 February 2015

'Thoughts on theory and jurisdiction from IR and Political Marxism', Symposium: Towards a Materialist History of International Law’, London School of Economics, 5-6 December 2014

'Human Rights or State Capitalism ‘Beyond Borders’? Extraterritorial Obligations and Jurisdictional Accumulation', Annual Historical Materialism Conference, London, 6-9 November 2014

'Is HE a Public Space? Occupying universities for asylum seekers in France', Critical Legal Conference, Brighton, 4-6 September 2014 

'Beyond Capitalism (The Alternative Queen's Speech)' People's Parliament, House of Commons, Committee Room 8, Wednesday 4 June 2014, Chaired by MP John McDonnell, with Dr. Luke Cooper, Simon Hardy, Prof. Lynne Segal, Mary Griffiths Clarke 

Occupy Sussex: Counter-Conduct in the University Factory, ‘Governing Academic Life’: Conference at the London School of Economics and British Library, 25-26 June 2014

Jurisdictional accumulation: the geographical and political limits of transhistorical concepts ‘Geographies of Law: Power, Space, Borders’ workshop Altonaer Stiftung fur philosophische Grundlagenforschung, Hamburg (Germany), 16-18 May 2014

Methodological Problems in Theories of International Law: Calling for a Historical Sociology of Jurisdiction, 55th International Studies Association (ISA) Annual Conference, Toronto (Canada), 26-29 March 2014

Processes of Jurisdictional Accumulation in Early Modern Spain and France: a pre-capitalist history of international law, Annual Historical Materialism Conference, London, 7-10 November 2013

Sussex Against Privatisation: Educational Notes from a Campaign, Radical Lawyering: Theory and Practice, Cumberland Lodge Weekend hosted by Birkbeck Law School and Haldane Society of Socialist Lawyers, 13-15 September 2013

Occupy Sussex: Beyond Counter-Conduct? Presented with Kerem Nisancioglu at Counter-Conduct in Global Politics CAIT Workshop, University of Sussex, 10-12 September 2013

Thinking Beyond the Neoliberal Project: Comparing Cases of Jurisdictional Struggles, Understanding Neoliberal Legality: Perspectives on the Use of Law By, For, and Against the Neoliberal Project Workshop, University of Oxford, 21 June 2013

The Sussex Occupation: Ideas and Practices Against Neoliberalism in Education, The Utopian Law School and the Fate of the University, Law On Trial Series, Birkbeck University, 17 June 2013

Le concept d’hégémonie et le problème d’extraterritorialité: une critique des approches néo-gramsciennes, CÉDIM (Centre d’Études du Droit International et de la Mondialisation), UQÀM (Université du Québec À Montréal, Canada), 8-10 May 2013

Historical Materialism and International Law: Developing Legal Agency in Political Marxism, Social and Political Thought Research Group Seminar Series,Brunel University, 13 December 2012

Social Movements Against the Extraterritorial Application of SOPA and PIPA: Jurisdictional Agency vs. Juridical Accumulation? Annual Historical Materialism Conference, London, 8-10 November 2012

La transformation du concept ‘d’amélioration territoriale’ en pratique d’extraterritorialité par l’Empire Brittanique du XIXème siècle : enjeux contemporains pour les droits de propriété intellectuelle (SOPA - PIPA), Congrès annuel Société Québécoise de Science Politique (SQSP), Ottawa (Canada), 23 May 2012

Des enclosures à la globalisation juridique : socialiser l’histoire de l’extraterritorialité, 80e Congrès de l’Association Francophone pour le Savoir (Acfas) Montréal (Canada), 11 May 2012

English state formation, the rise of capitalism and nineteenth century international law: a legacy of double standards, Annual Historical Materialism Conference, London, 7-10 November 2011

The Separation of International Relations from International Law: A Critical Marxist Approach European Consortium for Political Research (ECPR) Joint Sessions Muenster (Germany), 22-27 March 2010


  • Journal articles
  • Book chapters
  • Other

Journal articles

​Louiza Odysseos and Maïa Pal, 'Towards Critical Pedagogies of the International? Student Resistance, Self-formation and Other-regardedness in the Neoliberal University', International Studies Perspectives, forthcoming
Maïa Pal, ‘ ‘My Capitalism is Bigger than Yours’: Histories of Legal Sovereignty and U&CD's delusions’, Historical Materialismforthcoming 
Kerem Nisancioglu and Maïa Pal, ‘Counter-Conduct in the University Factory: Locating the Occupy Sussex Campaign’, Global Society, Vol. 30, Issue 2, (2016), 279-300, DOI:10.1080/13600826.2016.1144565


Book chapters

Maïa Pal, ‘Marxism’ in International Relations Theory: A Practical Introduction (edited by Stephen McGlinchey and Rosie Walters), E-International Relations Publishing, 2017​


‘Introduction to ‘Britain versus France: How Many Sonderwegs?’ by Ellen Meiksins Wood’, Historical Materialism, Vol. 24, issue 1, 2016, pp3-10

‘The Past is Dead. Long Live the Past!  A Manifesto for (Teaching) Social Change’, E-International Relations, 17 July 2015 (http://www.e-ir.info/2015/07/17/the-past-is-dead-long-live-the-past-a-manifesto-for-teaching-social-change/)

‘Old Alliances, New Struggles: The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership’, Radical Philosophy, February-March 2015, pp8-12

‘David Harvey et la géographie de l’accumulation capitaliste’, Les Nouveaux Cahiers du Socialisme (Société de développement des périodiques culturels québécois - SODEP), Hiver 2015, Issue 13, pp145-151 

‘#BlackLivesMatter: The New Black Liberation Movement’, The Disorder of Things, 13 January 2015 [Online] (http://thedisorderofthings.com/2015/01/13/blacklivesmatter-the-new-black-liberation-movement/)

‘The University in Turmoil: Occupations, Strikes and the Search for More’, 3 December 2013, New Left Project.org (http://www.newleftproject.org/index.php/site/article_comments/the_university_in_turmoil_occupations_strikes_and_the_search_for_more)

‘In Between Priests and Units: A Manifesto for Education as Labour’, 22 October 2013, Re-Framing Activism Blog (http://reframe.sussex.ac.uk/activistmedia/2013/10/in-between-priests-and-units-a-manifesto-for-education-as-labour/)

‘Outsourcing battle at Sussex Uni: censorship, dictat and the mutation of managerialism’, 26 March 2013, OpenDemocracy.net (http://www.opendemocracy.net/ourkingdom/maia-pal/outsourcing-battle-at-sussex-uni-censorship-dictat-and-mutation-of-managerialism)

‘Education for sale: Sussex should learn from London Met’, 1 November 2012, OpenDemocracy.net  (http://www.opendemocracy.net/ourkingdom/maia-pal/education-for-sale-sussex-should-learn-from-london-met)

‘Fighting for Education à la Québécoise’, 4 June 2012, Anticapitalists.org (http://anticapitalists.org/2012/06/04/fighting-for-education-a-la-quebecoise/)

(with Luke Cooper) ‘Lectures from a spin doctor: a NATO strategist’s position at a top British university’, 30 June 2011, OpenDemocracy.net  (http://www.opendemocracy.net/ourkingdom/luke-cooper-and-ma%C3%AF-pal/lectures-from-spin-doctor-nato-strategists-position-at-top-britis