Thorsten Spehn Picture
Associate Professor C/T
Political Science

Office #3223 - 3rd Floor of the Student Commons Building
1201 Larimer Street
Denver, CO 80204

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Expertise Areas: International and Comparative Politics, Security Studies, State Socialization and Compliance, Foreign Policy Analysis

Ph.D., International Studies, University of Denver, Denver
M.A., Political Science, Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität, Münster, Germany
B.A., Government, Oberlin College, Ohio

Thorsten Spehn received a B.A. degree in Government from Oberlin College and a M.A. degree in Political Science from the Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität, Germany. He graduated from the University of Denver with a Ph.D. in International Studies in 2009.

Dr. Spehn joined the University of Colorado Denver as Adjunct Lecturer in 2001, was promoted to Instructor in 2006, to Senior Instructor in 2009 and to Assistant Professor C/T in 2012. He became Director of the Graduate Program in Political Science in 2009. He currently co-directs a joint teaching apprenticeship program with the Josef Korbel School of International Studies.     

Dr. Spehn has taught 14 different undergraduate and graduate courses and has developed several new ones including a unique course on political violence which addresses psycho-analytical processes during inter-group conflicts. With a focus on ethnic conflict and coexistence, this course was taught in Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina in 2010.     

Dr. Spehn devotes his research efforts to the social constructivist tradition in International Relations which focuses on processes of state socialization and norm compliance/promotion by domestic actors. He maintains a particular interest in the application of social/cultural models to the study of national foreign policy change.

"The Norm of Fiscal Responsibility: Understanding European Responses to its Sovereign Debt Crisis," joint conference paper with Travis Ogle presented at the ISA West Annual Conference, Pasadena, 2014.

"The Ability to Compromise: Parliamentary Culture in Italy, Germany and the United States," conference paper presented at the American Political Science Association Annual Meeting, Washington, D.C., 2014.

"Rhetorical Persuasion and Foreign Policy Change: German Parliamentary Discourse on the Use of Force," conference paper presented at the International Studies Association Annual Convention, Toronto, 2014.

"The Social Construction of Foreign Policy: Domino Theories in Foreign Policy Making," conference paper presented at the International Studies Association Annual Convention, Toronto, 2014.

"Rhetorical Persuasion and Foreign Policy: German Foreign Policy Debates during the Bosnian Civil War," Conference Paper to be presented at the International Studies Association Annual Convention, San Francisco, 2013.

"Constructing National Security Policy: Global Media Frames and German Security Policy Normalization after 1990," Conference Paper presented at the International Studies Association Annual Convention, San Diego, 2012.

"Spectacular Victims: The Construction of Victimhood in the Global Media," joint conference paper with Lucy McGuffey presented at the International Studies Association Annual Convention, San Diego, 2012.

"Role Expectations and State Socialization: Explaining German Security Policy Reorientation after Reunification," Conference Paper presented at the International Studies Association Annual Convention, New Orleans, 2010.

"Institutionen und Neo-Institutionalismus." Chapter in: Barrios, Harald und Christoph Stefes,. Eds. 2006. Einführung in die Comparative Politics. München: Oldenbourg Verlag, p. 182-197.

"Nuclear Proliferation in North Korea – About American Diplomacy and the Problems of Power." In: Asia-Pacific Today. Taiwan Institute of Economic Research (TIER), Vol. 1, May 2005, p. 10-11.

PSC 1001: Introduction to Political Science
PSC 3011: Research Methods
PSC 3022: Introduction to Comparative Politics
PSC 3042: Introduction to International Relations
PSC 4105: Comparative Politics: Europe
PSC 4807: Revolution and Political Violence
PSC 4225/5225: Democracy and Democratization
PSC 5238: Comparative Foreign Policy
PSC 5000: State of the Discipline
PSC 5216: International Relations
PSC 5008: German Politics (with Christoph Stefes)
PSC 4085/5085: Comparative Public Policy
PSC 4995/5995: Ethnic Conflict and Coexistence
PSC 5008: Ideas and Socialization in International Society