Mathilde von Bülow
  • KY16 9AX

    United Kingdom

Accepting Postgraduate Research Students

PhD projects

I would be happy to supervise PhD projects in the following broad areas:
historical international relations, with a particular focus on France, Germany, North Africa, the global Cold War and/or decolonisation;
late colonial governance;
intelligence studies;
non-state or civil society actors in international relations;
internationalisms and solidarity movements.

Personal profile

Research overview

I am an historian by training with a broad interest in the history of international relations. Geographically, my research focuses largely (but not exclusively) on the foreign relations, broadly conceived, of Germany, France, and Algeria. Temporally, I focus on the era of the Cold War and of decolonisation, though I am equally interested in contemporary ramifications of these complex and global phenomena. Thematically, my research covers a broad range of themes, including: (colonial) insurgency and counterinsurgency warfare; colonial governance; intelligence & covert action; diplomacy; civil society actors in international relations; humanitarianism and development; 'internationalisms' & solidarity movements in international relations.

In terms of IR, my work and teaching fall into the following categories: diplomatic studies; historical IR; conflict studies/military sciences, intelligence studies, peace and security studies.

My first book, West Germany, Cold War Europe and the Algerian war, which brought together many of these themes, was published by Cambridge University Press in 2016. It examines a particularly complex phase of European integration in a context marked by rising Cold War tensions and significant international shifts brought on by decolonisation. The Algerian war exposed real tensions between France and the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG) upon whose rapprochement the European project hinged. France was trying to maintain itself as a global power and demanded West German loyalty in the Algerian question. An economically-resurgent FRG, meanwhile, could ill afford to alienate France but also sought out an independent role, especially beyond Europe. Their interactions over the Algerian War helped establish the Europe we know today. In terms of conflict studies, the work pays particular attention to the role of external sanctuaries in insurgency/counter-insurgency warfare. It argues that the subversive activities of Algerian nationalists in the FRG and Europe, combined with the counter-efforts of the French security and intelligence services, helped shape not only West German foreign policy and Franco-German relations but also the Algerian war itself. 

I am working on a number of new projects, including a book project on the significance and legacy of the so-called 'Battle of Algiers' (the actual event, not Pontecorvo's eponymous film) and another on 'Labour Diplomacy and Decolonisation in the Maghreb, c.1945-1965'. I am continuing to pursue my interest in German civil society actors and their relations with the 'global South'; and I am part of a team leading a Carnegie Research Network Grant (2022-2024) on 'Rethinking Strategy'. 

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 8 - Decent Work and Economic Growth
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

Education/Academic qualification


Award Date: 21 Jul 2007


Award Date: 13 Oct 2001

Bachelor of Arts, University of Toronto

Award Date: 1 Jul 2000

External positions

Co-Editor in Chief, War in History

2021 → …

Book Reviews Editor, War in History


Book Reviews Editor, International Journal: Canada's Journal of Global Policy Analysis


External Examiner (PGT programmes), Dept of International History, LONDON SCHOOL OF ECONOMICS

Sept 2011Jun 2016


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