Karen Alter


Karen Alter is Professor of Political Science and Law at Northwestern University. Karen Alter's current research investigates how the proliferation of international legal mechanisms is changing international relations. Her book The New Terrain of International Law: Courts, Politics, Rights (Princeton University Press, 2014) provides a framework for comparing and understanding the influence of the twenty-four operational international courts, and for thinking about how different domains of domestic and international politics are transformed through the creation of international courts. Alter continues her research in international courts as co-director of the institutionalization research cluster at the iCourts Center of Excellence, Copenhagen University Faculty of Law, and through ongoing collaborative research on international courts in Latin America and Africa.

Recently Published

The New Terrain of International Law: A Reply by Karen Alter

Thanks very much to Nico Krisch and Antonios Tzanakopoulos for their thoughtful commentaries on my book. I speak to some of Nico and Antonio’s comments in my separate response on Opinio Juris where I addresses limitations from my focus on international courts (IC) as defined by the Project on International Courts and Tribunals (PICT); how case…

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The New Terrain of International Law: Courts, Politics, Rights

The New Terrain of International law: Courts, Politics, Rights uses the universe of operational permanent international courts (ICs), those with appointed judges that stand ready to receive cases, as a laboratory to explore the changing reach and influence of international courts in contemporary politics. In 1989 when the Cold War ended, there were six operational…

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