Bettina Koch


Bettina Koch

Associate Professor


507 Major Williams Hall
220 Stanger Street
Blacksburg, VA 24061




Department Membership

Political Science


  • Political Theory 
  • History of Political Ideas 
  • Comparative Political Theory 
  • Mass Surveillance
  • State Decline and Failure

Professional Activities

  • Head, Athens Institute for Education and Research (ATINER), 14th Annual International Conference on Politics, 13-16 June 2016, Athens, Greece
  • Co-organizer and moderator, Iran Nuclear Deal: Physics, Politics & Diplomacy - A Conversation with Faculty, Virginia Tech, September 15, 2015
  • Co-organizer, Payam Mohsein (Harvard, Kennedy School) "Detente or Brinkmanship: The U.S. and Iran beyond Nuclear Negotiations," public lecture, Virginia Tech, March 27, 2015
  • Chair, "The Just and the Unjust in the Democratic Polity," Representations of Resistance: 2015 ASPECT Graduate Conference, Virginia Tech, March 20-21, 2015
  • Moderator and co-organizer: "The U.S. and the Middle East: A Confersation with Faculty," Virginia Tech, November 11, 2014


  • Dr.Phil. (Ph.D.) University of Vechta
  • M.A. University of Münster

Research Interests

    Awards and Honors

    Caltech-Huntington Humanities Collaborations Fellowship, The Huntington, San Marino, CA, and California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA, 2016/17.

    Visiting Associate in the Humanities, California Institute of Technology, 2016/17.

    Selected Publications


    • Philosophy of Economics
    • Social and Political Philosophy
    • Applied Ethics (Business Ethics, Bioethics)

    Professional Activities

    • Institute for Philosophy & Public Policy
    • Coming Home Dialogues
    • Philosophy, Politics, and Economics Society


    • Ph.D. Philosophy, University of California, San Diego
    • M.A. Philosophy, University of California, San Diego
    • B.A. Philosophy, Politics and Economics, Hebrew University in Jerusalem, Israel


    Patterns Legitimizing Political Violence in Transcultural Perspectives: Islamic and Christian Traditions and Legacies (Berlin/Boston: De Gruyter, 2015), ISBN 978-1614515661.

    Paperback edition Patterns Legitimizing Political Violence in Transcultural Perspectives: Islamic and Christian Traditions and Legacies (Berlin/Boston: De Gruyter, 2016) ISBN 978-1614515777.

    Zur Dis-/Kontinuität mittelalterlichen politischen Denkens in der neuzeitlichen politischen Theorie: Marsilius von Padua, Johannes Althusius und Thomas Hobbes im Vergleich (Beiträge zur Politischen Wissenschaft 137; Duncker & Humblot: Berlin, 2005).

    Edited Books

    Totalitäre Herrschaft und republikanische Demokratie. 50 Jahre ‘The Origins of Totalitarianism’ von Hannah Arendt, ed. Antonia Grunenberg, with the assistance of Stefan Ahrens and Bettina Koch (Hannah‐Arendt Studien 1; Peter Lang: Frankfurt/M., New York, 2003).

    Bettina Koch and Cary J. Nederman (eds.), Inventing Modernity in Medieval European Thought, ca. 1100 – ca. 1550 (Kalamazoo: Medieval Institute Publications,  Western Michigan University, 2019). ISBN 978-1-58044-349-4.

    Bettina Koch (ed.), State Terror, State Violence – Global Perspectives (Springer: Wiesbaden, 2016).


    “Das monarchische arcana imperii Prinzip versus das demokratische Transparenzprinzip: Zum Verhältnis von Staat und bürgerlicher Freiheit nach Snowden,” in Staatsgeheimnisse: Arkanpolitik im Wandel der Zeiten, ed. Rüdiger Voigt (Springer: Wiesbaden, 2017), 111-130.

     “US-Drone Strikes: Acts of Terror, Violence, or Coercion?” In State Terror, State ViolenceGlobal Perspectives (Springer: Wiesbaden, 2016), 151-170.

    “Citizenship in the Age of Global Surveillance: Some Observations on a Transforming State-Citizen Relationship,” in Deconstructing Global Citizenship: Political, Cultural, and Ethical Perspectives, ed. Hassan Bashir and Phillip W. Gray (Lanham: Lexington, 2015), 77-97.

    “Against Empire? John of Paris’s Defence of Territorial Secular Power Considered in the Context of Dante’s and Marsilius of Padua’s Political Theories,” in John of Paris: Beyond Royal and Papal Power, ed. Chris Jones (Turnhout, Belgium: Brepols, 2015), 49-74.

    “Religious Dissent in Premodern Islam: Political Usage of Heresy and Apostasy in Nizam al-Mulk and Ibn Taymiyya,” in Religion, Power and Resistance from the Eleventh to the Sixteenth Centuries: Playing the Heresy Card, ed. Karen Bollermann, Thomas M. Izbicki, and Cary J. Nederman (Houndmills: Palgrave Macmillan, 2014), 215-236.

    “Liberation Theologies, Periphery Existence, and Global Challenges: Towards a Transcultural Ideology of Liberation,” Athens Journal of Social Sciences 1:3 (2014): 173‐184.

    Additional Information

    Professor Koch's research interests focus on the history of political thought, in particular medieval and early modern political theory, and comparative political theory, focusing on the comparison of Western and Middle Eastern/Islamic political concepts. One further research interest is the influence of religion on politics and the interaction between the two, and violence and terrorism from a political theory perspective, including questions state violence and terrorism but also surveillance and security/freedom related issues as topics in (democratic) political theory.

    For further information, please visit  Dr. Bettina Koch’s personal website.