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Daniel R. Brunstetter

Associate Professor of Political Science, University of California, Irvine

Daniel studies political theory, with a focus on early modern thought and just war. His first book, Tensions of Modernity, revisits Europe’s initial encounter with the Native Americans of the New World to shed light on how the West’s initial defense of so-called ‘barbarians’ has influenced the way we think about diversity today, and elucidate the arguments of exclusion that unconsciously permeate the moral world we live in. The main thread of the book traces Bartolomé de Las Casas’s oft heralded defense of the Native Americans in the sixteenth century through the French Enlightenment. While this defense has been rightly lauded as an early example of human rights discourse, tracing Las Casas’s arguments into the eighteenth century shows how his view of equality enabled arguments legitimizing the annihilation by ‘just’ war of those perceived to be ‘barbarians’. This philosophical narrative can be useful when thinking about concepts such as just war, multiculturalism, and immigration, or any area in which politics confronts radical difference.

His work on the ethics of force has appeared in Ethics & International Affairs, the Journal of Military Ethics, Political Studies, Review of International Studies, International Journal of Human Rights, Raisons politiques and elsewhere.

He also is co-editor of two edited volumes that cover a variety of themes related to the ethics of war: The Ethics of War and Peace Revisited: Moral Challenges in an Era of Contested and Fragmented Sovereignty (w/Georgetown University Press) and Just War Thinkers: From Cicero to the 21st Century (w/Routledge)

His current research interests include questions of otherness, the just war tradition, drone warfare, and early modern political thought. His new book project examines the ethics of limited force - what he calls the notion of jus ad vim.


  • –present
    Associate Professor, University of California, Irvine