Short bio

Ulrich Franke joined the Faculty of Economics, Law and Social Sciences on 1 October 2019. He coordinates International Relations as a field of study and advises students in the Bachelor's programme of International Relations. Ulrich is one of the speakers of the working group on sociology of international relations (AK SiB) in the German Political Science Association (DVPW) and co-editor of a book series on reconstructive world politics research. After having studied political science at the Goethe University in Frankfurt/M. (1997-2003), Ulrich received his doctorate at the University of St. Gallen (2008) and obtained his habilitation at the University of Bremen (2017).

(Faculty of Economics, Law and Social Sciences)
Lehrgebäude 1 / Room 0036
Office hours
Wednesdays 12-2 pm
(Registration via website)
Profile page


Postal address

PD Dr. Ulrich Franke
University of Erfurt
Faculty of Economics, Law and Social Sciences
Lecturer, International Relations
P.O. Box 900 221
D-99105 Erfurt

Phone: +49 (0)361 737-4508

Visitor address
University of Erfurt
Nordhäuser Straße 63
Lehrgebäude 1, room 0036
D-99089 Erfurt

Office hours

General and specific advice

The purpose of the office hours is to discuss concrete seminar work and qualification projects. It also serves as general student counselling in the field of International Relations.

Please register here:









If I have been assigned as your mentor, you are welcome to use the office hours to discuss matters related to your studies.

If you are interested in writing your Bachelor's thesis in International Relations with me, please read on here (Please note that I do not suggest topics to you - I consider finding a topic to be your task).

If you want to know how I envision the structure of your internship reports, seminar papers, Bachelor's or Master's theses, please continue reading under "Academic Writing".

Academic Writing

Instructions for writing term papers (including internship reports) and theses



Use a common font and size such as Times New Roman 12 pt, 1.5 line spacing, full justification and hyphenation. Quote uniformly – in Harvard style (in continuous text: name year: page number) or in Chicago style (footnote with all bibliographic information). Beware of the use of "cf." – it is only appropriate when you find your own thought elsewhere (usually it is the other way around). Also check the guidelines by the editors of the “Zeitschrift für Internationale Beziehungen.”



Each presentation includes a 4-page handout consisting of precise and comprehensible keywords (bullet points) and a bibliography. Please also document the origin of your keywords (in the form: name year: page number or range). Each presentation should be based on (at least) 5 academic sources of the size of an article in an academic journal. (A comprehensive overview of academic journals in International Relations can be found here).



The purpose of your essay(s) is to practice arguing in a pointed manner. Begin by briefly introducing your topic or underlying problem and the direction into which you want to argue. In the remainder of the first third of your essay, reconstruct that central argument (of the reading) upon which you will draw. Develop your own argument in the subsequent (almost) two thirds of your essay, while making use of other readings that you independently looked up. Do not forget to end with a brief conclusion that completes your essay. Each essay should be based on (at least) 5 academic sources of the size of an article in an academic journal. (A comprehensive overview of academic journals in International Relations can be found here).


Term paper and thesis proposals

Explicate your research interest (What is the topic that concerns you?). Translate your interest into a research question as precise as possible. Discuss the (social and academic) relevance of this question. Identify a strand of literature to which your work should refer (Who are your academic interlocutors?). Finally, answer the two aspects of the question about how you want to answer your question, namely based on which theoretical assumptions and guided by which method(s) you want to do this. In addition, draft an annotated outline in which you reflect on each major item with one or two sentences (see “On the structure of term papers”).


On the structure of term papers

Each term paper should be based on at least 10 academic sources of the size of an article in an academic journal. (A comprehensive overview of academic journals in International Relations can be found here). Two of the many possibilities for structuring a seminar paper are outlined below:

A. Empirical Investigation

1 Introduction
- What is your research interest/topic/question? Why is it relevant?
- What is the structure of your paper?
2 State of the art
- To what parts of the discipline is your paper directed? Whom are you talking to?
- Present what you have read in a connected, meaningful way.
3 Theoretical framework/presumptions
- Based on which theory or theoretical presumptions are you addressing your subject matter?
4 Methodology
- What is your subject matter/case? Give reasons for its selection.
- Explicate the (methodological) presumptions upon which your methods are based.
- Describe the methods you will be using.
5 Investigation/Findings
- Apply both your theoretical presumptions and your methods to your subject matter.
6 Answering the research question
- Answer your research question and connect your answer to the state of the art.
7 Conclusion and outlook
- Briefly summarize your findings and give an idea of avenues for further research in light of your findings.


B. Literature Report

1 Introduction
- What is your topic/question? Why is it relevant?
- What is the structure of your paper?
2 State of the art
- Present what you have read on your topic/question and connect your readings meaningfully to each other.
3 Critical appraisal
- Present an independent argument on what you have read.
4 Conclusion


On the structure of theses

A well-proven suggestion for the structure of theses is the following:

1 Introduction,
2 State of the art,
3 Theoretical framework,
4 Methodology,
5 Examination,
6 Answering the research question,
7 Conclusion and outlook.

Describe your topic in the introduction and outline the research question, its relevance and the structure of the thesis (1). Then embed your work in existing academic literature on the topic and set out the answers already given by other researchers. Do not proceed additively in this description of the state of the art, but relate the literature you have processed to each other and work out existing lines of conflict (2). Furthermore, your work should contain a conceptualization of the subject of your research, i.e. a section in which you explain the theoretical perspective you take on this subject at the beginning of the research process. Give an answer to the question of what theoretically informed assumptions you make in order to be able to work on your subject at all (3). After this step, it is useful to present your methodology. Make it clear how – in which steps – you want to arrive at well-informed statements about your subject and to answer your research question. The (socio-theoretical) premises on which this procedure is based also have their place in this section (4). What follows is the investigation itself, the analysis of the case or its summary. This can be done, for example, by first briefly presenting the specifics of the case(s) you are investigating and then explaining how you applied your analytical tools to your subject and what observations you made (5). Towards the end of the paper, you summarize your findings, answer the research question, and connect this answer to the state of the art (6). You then condense your answer into a conclusion. You critically reflect on your own approach and outline new research questions that arise from your findings (7). Whatever structure you decide on, always remember that you are constantly making decisions in the course of elaborating on your question, i.e. during the research process – be it the choice of question, method or case(s) – and that you must justify these decisions in the course of your thesis.


On the structure of internship reports

Describe i) the institution where you did your internship, ii) your motives for choosing it and iii) your activities during the internship. Engage in iv) a reflection on your work and v) link aspects of your work during the internship or fields of activity of the institution where you have completed your internship with (theoretically informed) literature from the field of International Relations. (It is up to you to arrange the components of your internship report).



Ongoing Projects

A Year in Tweets
Toward the meaning of the death of German soldiers (with PD Dr. Ulrich Roos, University of Augsburg)
The Institutionalization of Prevention and Intervention: Towards a Theoretical Framework (with Prof. Dr. Peter Mayer, University of Bremen and Dr. Sebastian Mayer, German-Kazakh University, Almaty/Kazakhstan)

Completed Projects

Pragmatist Research on World Politics
NATO's Persistence after 1989



Die Nato nach 1989. Das Rätsel ihres Fortbestandes, Wiesbaden: Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften, 2010.

Edited Volumes (peer-reviewed)

Book Series on „Rekonstruktive Weltpolitikforschung“ (Nomos, with Ulrich Roos).
Rekonstruktive Methoden der Weltpolitikforschung. Anwendungsbeispiele und Entwicklungstendenzen, Baden-Baden: Nomos, 2013 (with Ulrich Roos).

Journal Articles (peer-reviewed)

Proclaiming a prophecy empty of substance? A pragmatist reconsideration of global governance, Journal of International Political Theory, Online First (July 7, 2021) (with Matthias Hofferberth).
Leader of the ‘free world’? Studying German foreign policy by means of external attributions, German Politics, 30: 1 (March 2021), 72-86.
Eine pragmatistische Perspektive auf interorganisationale Beziehungen: Der Ständige interinstitutionelle Ausschuss (IASC) zur Koordination humanitärer Hilfe, Politische Vierteljahresschrift, Sonderheft 49/2014, 266-293.
Inter-Organizational Relations as Structures of Corporate Practice, Journal of International Organizations Studies, 4: Special Issue (2013), 85-103 (with Martin Koch).
‘They don’t really care about us’! On Political Worldviews in Popular Music, International Studies Perspectives, 14: 1 (February 2013), 39-55 (with Kaspar Schiltz).
At the Papini Hotel. On Pragmatism in the Study of International Relations, European Journal of International Relations, 18: 4 (December 2012), 669-691 (with Ralph Weber).
Über unerwünschte Handlungsfolgen in den Internationalen Beziehungen, Zeitschrift für Internationale Beziehungen, 19: 1 (June 2012), 65-84 (with Ulrich Roos).
Actor, structure, process: Transcending the state personhood debate by means of a pragmatist ontological model for international relations theory, Review of International Studies, 36: 4 (October 2010), 1057-77 (with Ulrich Roos).
Beyond the Deadlock: How Europe Can Contribute to UN Reform, The International Spectator, 43: 1 (March 2008), 43-55 (with Ulrich Roos and Gunther Hellmann).

Journal Articles (non-peer-reviewed)

Inter-Organizational Relations, Academic Foresights No. 14 (July-December 2015).
Globale Solidarität als nationales Interesse, WeltTrends. Zeitschrift für internationale Politik, 18: 4 (July/August 2010), 105-108 (with Ulrich Roos).

Contributions to edited volumes (peer-reviewed)

American Pragmatism in Foreign Policy Analysis, in: Cameron Thies (ed.) 2018: The Oxford Encyclopedia of Foreign Policy Analysis, Vol. 1: A-H, New York: Oxford University Press, 14-32 (with Gunther Hellmann).
Inter-Organizational Relations, in: Renée Marlin-Bennett (ed.) 2017: Oxford Research Encyclopedia of International Studies, New York: International Studies Association and Oxford University Press (Online Publication).
Zur Erforschung der NATO mit den Methoden der objektiven Hermeneutik, in: Ulrich Franke and Ulrich Roos (Hrsg.) 2013: Rekonstruktive Methoden der Weltpolitikforschung. Anwendungsbeispiele und Entwicklungstendenzen, Baden-Baden: Nomos, 271-307.

Contributions to edited volumes (non-peer-reviewed)

Rekonstruktiv-interpretative Ansätze in den Internationalen Beziehungen und der Weltpolitikforschung: Objektive Hermeneutik und Grounded Theory, in: Frank Sauer, Lubo von Hauff and Carlo Masala (eds.) 2022: Handbuch Internationale Beziehungen, Wiesbaden: VS Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften, Living reference work entry (with Ulrich Roos).
Rekonstruktiv-interpretative Designs, in: Claudius Wagemann, Achim Goerres and Markus Siewert (eds.) 2018: Handbuch Methoden der Politikwissenschaft, Wiesbaden: Springer VS, 169-191 (with Ulrich Roos).
Eine pragmatistische Analyse und Kritik der pragmatischen Globalstrategie der Europäischen Union. Zugleich der Versuch einer Weiterentwicklung der Ethik von Charles Sanders Peirce und John Dewey, in: Alexander Merkl and Bernhard Koch (eds.) 2018: Die EU als ethisches Projekt im Spiegel ihrer Außen- und Sicherheitspolitik. Baden-Baden: Nomos, 147-179 (with Ulrich Roos).
The United Nations and Regional Security Organizations in Africa, Europe and the North-Atlantic Region, in: Stephen Aris, Aglaya Snetkov and Andreas Wenger (eds.) 2018: Inter-Organisational Relations in International Security: Cooperation and Competition, London and New York: Routledge, 21-37.
Sociological Approaches, in: Rafael Biermann and Joachim Koops (eds.) 2017: The Palgrave Handbook of Inter-Organizational Relations in World Politics, London: Palgrave Macmillan, 169-187 (with Martin Koch).
Rekonstruktive Ansätze in den Internationalen Beziehungen und der Weltpolitikforschung: Objektive Hermeneutik und Grounded Theory, in: Frank Sauer and Carlo Masala (eds.) 2017: Handbuch Internationale Beziehungen, Wiesbaden: Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften, 2nd ed., 619-640 (with Ulrich Roos).
Einleitung: Zu den Begriffen ‚Weltpolitik‘ und ‚Rekonstruktion‘, in: Ulrich Franke and Ulrich Roos (eds.) 2013: Rekonstruktive Methoden der Weltpolitikforschung. Anwendungsbeispiele und Entwicklungstendenzen, Baden-Baden: Nomos, 7-29 (with Ulrich Roos).
Rekonstruktionslogische Forschungsansätze, in: Carlo Masala, Frank Sauer and Andreas Wilhelm (Hrsg.) 2010: Handbuch der Internationalen Politik, Wiesbaden: Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften, 285-303 (with Ulrich Roos).

Working Papers

A Pragmatist Perspective on Normative Orders in International Relations, Working paper for the Cluster of Excellence 243, The Formation of Normative Orders, Goethe University, Frankfurt/M., 2009 (with Ulrich Roos).
The United Nations’ oldest challenger: NATO’s persistence after the block confrontation. A reconstructive approach, Working paper for the Cluster of Excellence 243, The Formation of Normative Orders, Goethe University, Frankfurt/M., 2008.
From “collective actor” to “structure of collective acting”. The meaning of “human beings” for the study of international relations, 2005 (with Ulrich Roos).

Works of Academic Qualification

Pragmatistische Weltpolitikforschung, Cumulative Habilitation Treatise, University of Bremen, Bremen, 2016.
Eine Art Vereinte Nationen mit größerer Wirksamkeit? Zum ‚Rätsel’ des Fortbestands der NATO nach dem Ende der Blockkonfrontation, Dissertation, University of St. Gallen, St. Gallen, 2008.
Vom konträren Umgang mit einem Tabu. Warum sich Deutschland 1991 nicht am Golfkrieg beteiligt hat, aber im Jahr 2001 den „Krieg gegen den Terror“ aufnahm. Eine Analyse von vier Bundestagsreden mithilfe der objektiven Hermeneutik, Magisterarbeit, Goethe University, Frankfurt/M., 2002.

Other Contributions and Miscellanies

Wichtig oder veraltet? Trumps Nato: Seit 1949 konkurriert das Militärbündnis mit den Vereinten Nationen. Damit ruiniert der Westen weltweit sein Ansehen – Zeit für Selbstaufklärung, published as: Hüterin der Charta: Das von Trump als veraltet kritisierte Militärbündnis wird wieder wichtiger werden – als Instrument eines aufgeklärten Westens, taz. die tageszeitung, 9 February 2017, p. 12.
Rechtsstaatlichkeit muss wehtun” oder: 20 Jahre „InIIS“: Symposium an der Universität Bremen, 10 + 11 December 2015,, 2015 (with Roy Karadag, Sebastian Möller and Marcus Wolf).

Research interests

Foci of attention

International organizations/institutions and world order
Security studies, foreign policy, and politics of memory
Theories and history of international relations
Socio-scientific basic research
Methodology and reconstructive methods

Teaching profile

Foci of attention

Theories of International Relations
Foreign Policy Analysis and Security Politics
International Organizations and their Relations
Political and Social Theory
Reconstructive Methodology and Methods


Professional experience

since 10/2019
Lecturer in the Faculty of Economics, Law and Social Sciences, University of Erfurt

10/2018 – 09/2019
Substitute professor for International Relations and World Society at the University of Bremen’s Institute for Intercultural and International Studies, InIIS (Germany)

06/2018 – 09/2018
Private lecturer and associated researcher at the University of Bremen’s Institute for Intercultural and International Studies, InIIS (Germany)

02/2018 – 04/2018
Research stay at the New School, New York, Visiting Research Scholar (Schools of Public Engagement) on invitation by Associate Professor Jonathan Bach

06/2011 – 05/2018
Research and teaching assistant at the University of Bremen's Institute for Intercultural and International Studies, InIIS (Germany; on leave from 10/2015 to 03/2016)

10/2015 – 03/2016
Substitute professor for political science focus­ing on the foreign affairs of western European states at the Institute for Political Science, Goethe University Frankfurt

10/2008 – 05/2011
Research and teaching assistant (per pro.) at Bielefeld University's Faculty of Sociology (Germany)

08/2008 – 12/2008
Postdoctoral research fellow at the cluster of excellence: Formation of Normative Orders, Goethe University Frankfurt

07/2006 – 08/2006
Research stay at the University of Sheffield, on invitation by senior lecturer Colin Wight, PhD

07/2005 – 09/2008
Research and teaching assistant at the Institute of Political Science, Univer­sity of St. Gallen (Switzerland)

04/2001 – 03/2002
Teaching assistant at the Institute of Comparative Politics and International Relations, Goethe University Frankfurt

Education (university)

Venia legendi in political science awarded by the University of Bremen (Germany)

Promotion to a Dr. rer. publ. at the University of St. Gallen (Switzerland)

Final degree in Political Science, Sociology and Economics (Goethe University Frankfurt, Germany): Granting the title of a Magister Artium

10/1997 - 05/2003
Study of political science (major), sociology and economics (minors) at Goethe University Frankfurt, Germany

Professional memberships

Association for Objective Hermeneutics
European International Studies Association
German Political Science Association
International Studies Association

Activity as reviewer

Cambridge Review of International Affairs
European Journal of International Relations
Foreign Policy Analysis
International Political Sociology
International Relations
International Theory
Journal of International Organizations Studies
Millennium: Journal of International Studies
Perspectives: The Central European Review of International Affairs
Review of International Studies
Zeitschrift für Friedens- und Konfliktforschung
Zeitschrift für Internationale Beziehungen