Thorsten Spehn received a B.A. degree in Government from Oberlin College and a M.A. degree in Political Science from the Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität, Germany. He graduated from the University of Denver with a Ph.D. in International Studies in 2009.
Dr. Spehn joined the University of Colorado Denver as Adjunct Lecturer in 2001, was promoted to Instructor in 2006 and to Senior Instructor in 2009. He became Director of the Graduate Program in Political Science in 2009. He currently co-directs a joint teaching apprenticeship program with the Josef Korbel School of International Studies and will be the department’s first faculty development consultant starting in the fall 2012.
Dr. Spehn has taught 14 different undergraduate and graduate courses and has developed several new ones including a unique course on political violence which addresses psycho-analytical processes during inter-group conflicts. With a focus on ethnic conflict and coexistence, this course was taught in Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina in 2010. A new course on the processes of socialization and identity formation in international society was taught in 2012. Prof. Spehn received a faculty development grant in 2008 to create a website that supports the teaching of international relations theories.
Dr. Spehn devotes his research efforts to the social constructivist tradition in International Relations which focuses on processes of state socialization and norm compliance/promotion by domestic actors. He maintains a particular interest in the application of social/cultural models to the study of national foreign policy change.