Karen Alter's current research investigates how the proliferation of international legal mechanisms is changing international relations. Her book in progress, The New Terrain of International Law: International Courts in International Politics provides a new framework for comparing and understanding the influence of the twenty-four existing international courts, and for thinking about how different domains of domestic and international politics are transformed through the creation of international courts.
Alter is author of The European Court's Political Power (Oxford University Press, 2009), and Establishing the Supremacy of European Law: The Making of an International Rule of Law in Europe. (Oxford University Press, 2001) and more than forty articles and book chapters on the politics of international law and courts. Recent publications investigate the politics of international regime complexity, how delegation of authority to international courts reshapes domestic and international relations, and politics in the Andean Community's legal system.
Professor Alter teaches courses on international law, international organizations, ethics in international affairs, and the international politics of human rights at both the graduate and undergraduate levels.
Alter has been a German Marshall Fund Fellow, a Howard Foundation research fellow and an Emile Noel scholar at Harvard Law School. Her research has also been supported by the DAAD and France's Chateaubriand fellowship. She has been a visiting scholar at the American Bar Foundation where she is an associate scholar of the Center on Law and Globalization, Northwestern University's School of Law, Harvard University's Center for European Studies, Institute d'Etudes Politiques, the Deutsche Gesellschaft fur Auswartiges Politik, Universität Bremen, and Seikei University. Fluent in Italian, French and German, Alter serves on the editorial board of European Union Politics and Law and Social Inquiry and is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.