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University of Colorado Denver College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

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Faculty and Staff Directory

Thorsten H. Spehn, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor C/T

Office Location: King Center 516
Phone: (303) 556-8317
Fax: (303) 556-6041

Office Hours: Spring 2014: Tuesdays and Thursdays from 12:15-1:15pm.

Areas of Expertise: 

  • International Politics
  • State Socialization and Compliance
  • Security Studies
  • Foreign Policy Analysis
  • Comparative Politics and European Politics
  • ​​Ph.D., International Studies, University of Denver, Denver
  • M.A., Political Science, Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität, Münster, Germany
  • B.A., Government, Oberlin College, Ohio

​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.

  • “Rhetorical Persuasion and Foreign Policy: German Foreign Policy Debates during the Bosnian Civil War”, Conference Paper to be presented at the International Studies Association Annual Convention, San Francisco, 2013.
  • “Constructing National Security Policy: Global Media Frames and German Security Policy Normalization after 1990”, Conference Paper presented at the International Studies Association Annual Convention, San Diego, 2012.
  • “Spectacular Victims: The Construction of Victimhood in the Global Media”, joint conference paper with Lucy McGuffey presented at the International Studies Association Annual Convention, San Diego, 2012.
  • “Role Expectations and State Socialization: Explaining German Security Policy Reorientation after Reunification”, Conference Paper presented at the International Studies Association Annual Convention, New Orleans, 2010.
  • “Presenting the Holocaust in Interdisciplinary, Multimedia Format at an Urban American College”, Conference Paper for the 8th International Graduate Conference, Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg, 2007. Co-authored with Robert Hazan and Lawrence Glatz. Presented by Lawrence Glatz.
  • “Institutionen und Neo-Institutionalismus”. Chapter in: Barrios, Harald und Christoph Stefes,. Eds. 2006. Einführung in die Comparative Politics. München: Oldenbourg Verlag, p. 182-197.
  • “Nuclear Proliferation in North Korea – About American Diplomacy and the Problems of Power.” In: Asia-Pacific Today. Taiwan Institute of Economic Research (TIER), Vol. 1, May 2005, p. 10-11.
  • PSC 1001: Introduction to Political Science
  • PSC 3011: Research Methods
  • PSC 3022: Introduction to Comparative Politics
  • PSC 3042: Introduction to International Relations
  • PSC 4105: Comparative Politics: Europe
  • PSC 4807: Revolution and Political Violence
  • PSC 4225/5225: Democracy and Democratization (with Lucy McGuffey)
  • PSC 5238: Comparative Foreign Policy
  • PSC 5000: State of the Discipline
  • PSC 5216: International Relations
  • PSC 5008: German Politics (with Christopher Stefes)
  • PSC 4085/5085: Comparative Public Policy
  • PSC 4995/5995: Ethnic Conflict and Coexistence (taught in Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina)
  • PSC 5008: Ideas and Socialization in International Society