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Janina Dill

Co-Director, ELAC | Co-Convener, Ethics, Law and Nuclear Deterrence

Janina Dill is the Dame Louise Richardson Chair in Global Security and a Professor at the Blavatnik School of Government at the University of Oxford. She is also a Fellow at Trinity College and Co-Director of the Oxford Institute for Ethics, Law, and Armed Conflict (ELAC).

Her research concerns international law and ethics in international relations, specifically in war. Janina investigates how legal and moral imperatives interact with strategic thinking and technological developments to explain conduct in war and the development of armed conflict. She also works on IR theory, specifically constructivism, and the intersection of explanatory IR theories with normative political theory.

Janina is a co-convener (with Scott Sagan) of a research project on the “Law and Ethics of Nuclear Deterrence,” which is part of the Research Network on Rethinking Nuclear Deterrence, funded by the MacArthur Foundation and hosted by the Harvard Belfer Centre. The project runs from 2022-2024. Starting in 2024, she will also work on a three-year project entitled, “Cumulative Civilian Harm: Addressing the Hidden Human Cost of the Law’s Blind Spot”, which is funded by a joint grant from the ESRC and the National Science Foundation. 

In 2021, Janina won a Philip Leverhulme Prize for researchers “whose work has had international impact and whose future research career is exceptionally promising.” She has used the prize to conduct further research on the moral psychology of decision-making in war. 

Janina’s research has been cited in The Guardian, The Economist, twice in The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, and Pravda (Slovakia). Her first book, entitled Legitimate Targets? International Law, Social Construction and US Bombing, proposes a constructivist theory of international law and highlights tensions between a legal and a moral definition of a legitimate target of attack. It appeared with Cambridge University Press as part of the series Cambridge Studies in International Relations in 2015. The book was Runner-Up for the Birks Prize for Outstanding Legal Scholarship of the Society of Legal Scholars in 2016, and it has received an Honourable Mention by the Theory Section of the International Studies Association. Her second book (co-authored with Ziv Bohrer and Helen Duffy), Law Applicable to Armed Conflict, proposes a moral division of labour between human rights and humanitarian law and examines under what empirical circumstances each body of law should prevail over the other. The book was published in 2020 by Cambridge University Press as part of the series Max Planck Trialogues on the Law of Peace and War.