Prof. Dr. Ireneusz Pawel Karolewski

Prof. Dr. Ireneusz Pawel Karolewski


Political Theory and Democracy Research
Geisteswissenschaftliches Zentrum
Beethovenstraße 15, Room H3 0.11
04107 Leipzig

Phone: +49 341 97 - 35614
Fax: +49 341 97 - 35696


Ireneusz Pawel Karolewski is Professor of Political Theory and Democracy Research. He was Professor of Political Science at the University of Wroclaw and adjunct professor of Political Science at the University of Potsdam. He obtained his Ph.D. in Political Science as well as his professorial degree (Habilitation) from the University of Potsdam, where he also was assistant professor. He was visiting professor, among others, at the Harvard University, Université de Montréal and the New York University. Karolewski's main areas of research are democracy theory, nationalism, collective identities and citizenship. His publications include "The Nation and Nationalism in Europe" and "Citizenship and collective Identity in Europe". He is ordinary member of the Academia Europaea, associate editor of the journal Political Research Exchange (PRX), managing editor of the Annual of European and Global Studies and the Steering Committee Chair of the ECPR Standing Group on Identity.

Professional career

  • 04/1999 - 09/1999
    Research assistant, Chair of Political Theory, University of Potsdam
  • 10/1999 - 02/2008
    Assistant Professor, Chair of Political Theory, University of Potsdam
  • 08/2008 - 09/2019
    Adjunct Professor, Political Science, University of Potsdam
  • 06/2009 - 09/2019
    Professor of Political Science, Wroclaw University
  • 01/2015 - 07/2015
    Pierre Keller Visiting Professor, Harvard University.
  • since 10/2019
    Professor for Political Theory and Democracy Research, University of Leipzig


  • 10/1999 - 07/2008
    Habilitation (German professorial degree), Universität Potsdam
  • 04/1995 - 05/1999
    PhD program, Political Science, Dr.rer.pol. (German PhD), University of Potsdam
  • 10/1990 - 03/1995
    Political Science, MA (German equivalent), University of Potsdam

Ireneusz Pawel Karolewski's research focuses on modern political theory. In particular, he is interested in democratic backsliding, identity politics in democratic regimes and nationalism in both democracies and authoritarian regimes. In addition, he conducts research on collective identities and their relevance for democracies and particularly democratic citizenship. Furthermore, Professor Karolewski has been exploring nationalism and its role in democratic theory for longer than ten years. One of his key competences lies with the applied political theory. Already for some time, he has been interested in democratic backsliding in Central and Eastern Europe, mainly with regard to Poland and Hungary. He is a laureate of a number of research awards. In 2012, he received the Leopoldina Research Award of the Wroclaw University. In 2015, Karolewski was Pierre Keller Visiting Professor at the Harvard University, where he was also teaching at the John F. Kennedy School of Government. Since 2018 he has been ordinary member of the Academia Europaea.

  • Karolewski, I. P.
    Towards a Political Theory of Democratic Backsliding? Generalising the East Central European Experience
    In: Lorenz, A.; Anders, L. H. (Eds.)
    Illiberal Trends and Anti-EU Politics in East Central Europe. London: Palgrave Macmillan. 2020.
    show details
  • Karolewski, I. P.
    Two Faces of Nationalism in the European Union
    In: Greenfeld, L.; Wu, Z. (Eds.)
    Research Handbook on Nationalism. Northampton: Edgar Elgar. 2020.
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  • Karolewski, I. P.; Sata, R.; Roose, J.
    Patterns and Implications of Migration and Rebordering
    Migration and Border-Making: Reshaping Policies and Identities. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press. 2020. pp. 1–33.
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  • Karolewski, I. P.; Sata, R.
    Caesarean Politics in Hungary and Poland
    East European Politics. 2019. pp. 1–20.
    show details

more publications

Ireneusz Pawel Karolewski's teaching focuses on theoretical and empirical problems of modern democracies. His teaching includes democratic theory, identities, nationalism and citizenship. In particular, he is interested in current challenges to constitutional democracy, the rise of illiberalism and the new Caesarism.

The Chair of Political Theory and Democratic Research is for the modules "Fundamental module Political Theory" and the modules "Democracies in comparison" and "Research Basics". The Chair is also present in further modules of all teaching programs at the Institute of Political Science. The Chair contributes to further internationalization of teaching, also through the coordination of the MA program European Integration in East Central Europe, which offers an international double degree in collaboration with the Andrássy University Budapest.

  • Introduction to Political Theory (lecture)

    BA, German.

  • Einführung in die Politische Theorie (Seminar)

    BA, German

  • Theories of Nationalism (Seminar)

    MA, English

  • Theories of Citizenship (Seminar)

    MA, English

  • Transition of Power (Seminar)

    MA, English

Research fields

Politics, political science


  • Europäische Integration
  • Osteuropa
  • Polen
  • Entdemokratisierung
  • Rechtsstaatlichkeit

Contact for media inquiries

Fax: +49 341 97-35696
Phone: +49 341 97-35614