Scuola superiore sant'anna

Research fellows

Elisa Piras


I am a postdoctoral Fellow in Political Philosophy at Dirpolis Institute, currently working on a research project about (contemporary) models of public space and transnational identities. I have a background in international relations and history of political thought. 

I obtained my PhD in Politics, Human Rights and Sustainability at Scuola Sant'Anna in 2015 (dissertation: Transformative Foreign Policy as States' Agency. A Theoretical Analysis of Liberal Projects for Global Order). During my PhD I have spent a 6-months research period at the Department of Government of the London School of Economics and Political Science (2012-2013) and a 3-months research period at the Cluster of Excellence "The formation of Normative Orders", Goethe Universität - Frankfurt am Main (2014).

After my PhD, I have been working as a postdoctoral Fellow and teaching assistant in History of Political Thought at the Department and School of Social and Political Science of Bologna University, Bologna and Forlì campus (2015-2016) and I have taught a module (20 hours) in the MA course Teoria e Storia dell'Opinione Pubblica, MA in Mass Media and Politics, Bologna University, Forlì Campus (2016).


phone: +39 050 881979



Research articles and Dissertations:

  • together with Kateryna Pishchikova, “The European Union Global Strategy: What kind of Foreign Policy Identity?”, The International Spectator, vol. 52, 3 (2017): 103-120.
  •  "A Refutation of Democratic Peace Assumptions in Liberal Projects for Global Order", Etica & Politica/Ethics & Politics, vol. XVII, 3 (2015): 262-280.
  •  Transformative Foreign Policy as States' Agency. A Theoretical Analysis of Liberal Projects for Global Order, PhD Dissertation, Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies, 2015. Supervisor: Prof. Anna Loretoni
  • together with Alessandra Russo, “Democratic diffusion failures or successful authoritarian protection? Central Asian undeclared policies vis-à-vis the ‘Arab Spring'”, RISP Rivista Italiana di Scienza Politica, vol. XLIV, n. 3 (2014): 247-265.
  • “EU democracy promotion: missing the target?”, ITPCM International Commentary, vol. IX, n. 33 (2013): 13-18.
  • Dissecting the Concept of Normative Power Europe. A Literature Review, MRes Dissertation, European University Institute, 2010.
  • “La meteora eurocomunista”, Il pensiero mazziniano, 3 (2006): 154-165.
  • “Emilio Lussu e la nascita del Partito Sardo d'Azione”, Il pensiero mazziniano, 2 (2005): 218-231.

Book Translation

  • Lea Ypi, Stato e Avanguardie Cosmopolitiche (Roma: Laterza, 2016).

Book Reviews

  • “Bilgrami and Cole (eds), Who’s afraid of academic freedom?”, in Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies, forthcoming.
  • “King and Le Galès (eds), Reconfiguring European States in Crisis”, in Europe Now Journal, forthcoming.
  • “Miller, Strangers in our Midst”, in Governare la paura. Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies, July 2017 (Figures of Security), pp. 99-103.
  • “Loretoni, Ampliare lo sguardo. Genere e teoria politica”, in Filosofia politica, vol. XXX, n. 3 (2016), pp. 560-562.
  • “Gherardi, Marco Minghetti. Il liberalismo e l’Europa, in Filosofia politica, vol. XXIX, n. 2 (2015), pp. 372-374.
  • “Cotellessa, La pluralità addomesticata. Politiche pubbliche e conflitti politici”, in Filosofia politica, vol. XXIX, n. 3 (2015), pp. 575-576.
  • “Mazzone, Una teoria negativa della giustizia. Per un’etica del conflitto contro i mali comuni, in Filosofia politica, vol. XXIX, n. 2 (2015), pp. 371-374.
  • “Ypi, Global Justice and Avant-Garde Political Agency”, in Filosofia politica, vol. XXVII, n. 1 (2013): 168-171. 

My research focuses mainly on contemporary liberalism - theories of domestic and global justice; multiculturalism; cultural and political pluralism; moral and institutional cosmopolitanism. I am especially interested in theoretical analyses of the current transformations of sovereignty within the international system and in liberal and non-liberal conceptions of world order. 


Teaching activities (selection):

(2012-2017) Teaching Assistant in History of Political Thought, School of Political Science (Forlì and Bologna Campus), Bologna University. [In Italian]

(2016) Lecturer in Theory and History of Public Opinion, School of Political Science (Forlì Campus), Bologna University. [In Italian]

(2014-2015-2016) Lecturer in Political Theory at Sant'Anna School for Advanced Studies, Master of Arts in Human Rights and Conflict Management (MAHRCM). [In English]

(2012) Lecturer in International Politics at Spring Hill College Italy Center (Bologna, Home Campus in Mobile, Alabama). [In English]


Lectures, Workshops and Paper presentations (selection):

  • Bertinoro, 1-2 July 2017 – GLOBUS Workshop, Political Theory and Migration: Challenging Liberal Conceptions of Justice
  • Trento, 12 May 2017 – Training Center for International Cooperation Workshop, I corridoi umanitari: un modello in evoluzione
  • Frankfurt am Main, 21 April 2017 – Justitia Amplificata Workshop, Frontiers of Global Justice: Migration Management in Multilevel Political Orders
  • Bologna, 18 October 2016 – Lecture within the course Teorie Politiche del Multiculturalismo (Proff. Lanzillo and Raschi), Multiculturalismo e Società Internazionale
  • Milano, 15-17 September 2016 – XXX Convegno SISP, Nuanced realism or discouloured liberalism? EU attitudes toward Democracy Promotion (1992-2016)
  • Rovereto, 21 November 2015 – OBC Conference, Workshop “L’Europa vent’anni dopo Dayton”
  • Glasgow, 4 September 2014 – VIII ECPR General Conference, Transformative Foreign Policy as an Attempt to Impact on Global Order Redefinition
  • Bruxelles, 24 May 2014 – IES, ULB Conference “The EU in International Affairs IV”, A grey power? Reconsidering the EU’s transformative power a decade after the «Colour Revolutions»
  • Pisa, 8 November 2013 – Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna, “The Global Land Issue”, Global Justice, the Resource Curse and the Moral Problem of Land Redistribution
  • London, 18 October 2013 – King’s College, Workshop “Re-Joining Central Asia and IR”, Intra-cartel dynamics within the SCO and Kyrgyzstan’s troubled transition (with Alessandra Russo)
  • Bruges, 19 June 2013 – UNU-CRIS, Democratic diffusion failures or successful authoritarian protection? Central Asian undeclared policies vis-à-vis the ‘Arab Spring’ (with Alessandra Russo)
  • London, 21 February 2013 – LSE London School of Economics, Political Theory Working Group Seminars, Presentation and discussion of the PhD project
  • London,1 February 2013 – Westminster University, Conference on Democracy Promotion, Political Liberalism and the ‘Internal Resistance’ to Democracy Promotion
  • Roma, 13-15 September 2012 – XXVI Convegno SISP, Kosovo and the International Community: the Democratization Dilemma
  • Pavia, 16-17 September 2010 – IUSS 8th Graduate Conference in Political Theory, Considering the ‘Democratic Peace’ Assumption in Rawls’ Law of Peoples
  • Hamburg, 3-5 June 2010 – GIGA International Interdisciplinary Symposium, Unclenching fists. Dialogue and Diversity in Diplomatic Interactions (discussant)



Institute of Law, Politics and Development