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Dr. Pavel specialises in political philosophy and the history of political thought. Her interests include international justice and international law, liberal theory and contemporary challenges to it, and ethics and public policy. She received her Ph.D. from Brown University and then served as a postdoctoral fellow and lecturer in the Program in Political Philosophy, Policy and Law at University of Virginia and subsequently at the University of Arizona.

At King’s, Dr Pavel has been the first director of the PPE programme and has contributed substantively to its re-design.


Dr Pavel’s recent work has examined the nature and limits of institutionalizing rights and theories of constitutionalism. Her current book project, under contract with Oxford University Press, focuses on the reasons we have to develop international law and the appropriate scope of its authority over sovereign states.

Entitled Law Beyond the State: Dynamic Coordination, State Consent and Binding International Law, the book examines under what conditions international law is compatible with the sovereignty claims of constitutional democracies. Recent political events in the UK and the US have revealed a deep scepticism of processes that take politics beyond national boundaries, such as European or international law. This scepticism is not new. Informed by existing arguments made by realists about the clash between international law and national interest, the most common form of this scepticism is that international law actively undermines the authority of constitutional democracies by substituting its judgments for the judgment of self-governing political communities. Dr Pavel's book project will show that 1. The reasons we have to defend the establishment of legal institutions are the same as inside and across political communities; 2. International law can be developed in a manner that is compatible with the authority of constitutional democracies; and 3.The internal morality of the rule of law, such as the idea that rules have to be applied impartially, and to protect a minimum of individual rights, demands that international law be developed in a certain way. By relying on classic texts in the history of political thought, contemporary analytical jurisprudence, game theory, and constitutional thought, Dr Pavel argues that international law makes a critical, irreplaceable, and defining contribution to an international order characterised by peace and justice.

Dr Pavel’s first book, entitled Divided Sovereignty, was published by Oxford University Press in 2015. In it, Dr Pavel takes up the question of how to constrain states that commit severe abuses against their own citizens. She argues that one way to accomplish this goal is to supplement internal constraints on political institutions with external ones. The book challenges the long-standing assumption that collective grants of authority from the citizens of a state should be made exclusively for institutions within the borders of that state. It argues that international institutions can act as an insurance scheme against the possibility of states failing to fulfill their most basic sovereign responsibilities. Despite worries that international institutions could undermine domestic democratic control, citizens can divide sovereign authority between state and international institutions consistent with their right of democratic self-governance.


Carmen is teaching the first year gateway module for the Philosophy, Politics & Economics (PPE) programme, called ‘Political and Economic Philosophy.’ In addition, she is teaching two third-year modules: ‘Ethics, Economics, and Public Policy,’ and ‘Politics and Justice in International Law.’ Her areas of teaching competency are: history of political thought, contemporary political theory (theories of justice, multiculturalism, liberalism and its critics), and global justice.

PhD supervision

Dr Pavel is not currently accepting any new PhD students for supervision.


'Hume's Dynamic Coordination and International Law,' Political Theory, forthcoming (online first).

‘Global and National Constitutionalism,’ Cambridge Handbook of Constitutional Theory, Richard Bellamy and Jeff King, eds., forthcoming.

‘Constitutionalism and Pluralism: Two Models of International Law,’ Routledge Handbook of the Rule of Law, Michael Sevel ed., forthcoming.

'Healthcare: Between a Human and a Conventional Right,' Economics and Philosophy, 35:3, 2019.

'The International Rule of Law,' Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy, 23:3, 2020.

‘International Law as a Hartian Legal System?’ Ratio Juris, 31:3, 2018.

Skeptical Challenges to International Law’ (with David Lefkowitz) Philosophy Compass, 13:8 (2018).

Oxford Handbook of Freedomco-editor with David Schmidtz, (Oxford University Press, 2018).

Book Review: Steven Ratner, The Thin Justice of International Law, OUP 2015, Notre Dame Philosophical Review, January 2017.

“A Legal Conventionalist Approach to Pollution”Law and Philosophy, 35:4 337-363 (2016).

"Boundaries, Subjections to Laws and Affected Interests"Oxford Handbook of Freedom, (Oxford University Press,) online first 2017.

The Institutions of International Justice, guest editor for Social Philosophy and Policy issue 32:1 (Fall 2015).

Review of Freedom Beyond Sovereignty: Reconstructing Liberal Individualism by Sharon Krause (University of Chicago Press, 2015), Notre Dame Philosophical Review September 2015.

Divided Sovereignty: International Institutions and the Limits of State Authority (Oxford University Press, 2015).

Part of a Critical Dialogue in Perspectives on Politics, 14:1. 2016 along with Joan Cocks’s Sovereignty and Other Political Delusions, (NY: Bloomsbury, 2015).

Negative Duties, the WTO and the Harm ArgumentPolitical Studies, 63:2, 2015.

Making a Faustian Bargain Work: What Special Interests Can Tell Us About Representation at the WTOGeorgetown Journal of Law and Public Policy, Special Issue, Volume 12, 2014.

International JusticeThe Encyclopedia of Political Thought, Michael T. Gibbons, ed.,(Wiley-Blackwell, 2014).

Alternative Agents for Humanitarian InterventionJournal of Global Ethics, 6.3 (December 2010).

Normative Conflict in International LawThe San Diego Law Review, 46:4 (December 2009).

Cosmopolitanism, Nationalism and Moral Opportunity CostsPolity, 41:4 (October 2009).

Pluralism and the Moral Grounds of Liberal TheorySocial Theory and Practice, 33:2 (April 2007).