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Department of Politics and International Studies (POLIS)



Dr. Giovanni Mantilla is University Lecturer in the Department of Politics and International Studies (POLIS) and Fellow of Christ’s College, Cambridge. Dr. Mantilla received his Ph.D. in Political Science in 2013 from the University of Minnesota, has held Postdoctoral positions at Princeton University’s Niehaus Center for Globalization and Governance, and at Brown University’s Watson Institute for International Studies. He was also a British Academy Newton Fellow. Prior to Cambridge, Dr. Mantilla taught at Centro de Investigación y Docencia Económicas (CIDE) in Mexico City. 

His research combines an interest in international relations theory, international history, and the history of international law, with substantive emphasis on the law of armed conflict (or humanitarian law) and human rights law. His central projects so far ask why and how international rules have emerged to regulate practices, actors, or forms of political violence that states had historically refused to bring into the purview of binding international law, including internal armed conflict, civilian protection, or non-state actors such as corporations and rebel groups. Theoretically he is fascinated by the operation of social pressures in diplomacy and international legal processes.

Among others, Mantilla’s research has been published or is forthcoming in International Organization, International Studies Quarterly, European Journal of International Relations, European Journal of International Law, Global Governance, and the Journal of the History of International Law. His first book, theorizing the origins and development of international humanitarian law for internal armed conflict, will be published by Cornell University Press in 2020.

 Dr. Mantilla is not currently taking Ph.D. students.


International humanitarian law; history of international law; international relations theory; constructivism; international human rights law


Key publications: 

Mantilla, Giovanni. “Social Pressure and the Making of Wartime Legal Protections for Civilians.” European Journal of International Relations, First View (2019)

Mantilla, Giovanni. “The Protagonism of the USSR and Socialist States in the Revision of International Humanitarian Law (IHL).” Journal of the History of International Law 21, no. 2 (2019): 181–211. 

Mantilla, Giovanni. “Forum Isolation: Social Opprobrium and the Origins of the International Law of Internal Conflict.” International Organization 72, no. 2 (2018): 317–49. 

Mantilla, Giovanni. “Conforming Instrumentalists: Why the USA and the United Kingdom Joined the 1949 Geneva Conventions.” European Journal of International Law 28, no. 2 (2017): 483–511. 

Mantilla, Giovanni. “The Origins and Evolution of the 1949 Geneva Conventions and the 1977 Additional Protocols.” In Do the Geneva Conventions Matter?, edited by Matthew Evangelista and Nina Tannenwald, 35–68. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2017.

Mantilla, Giovanni. “Emerging International Human Rights Norms for Transnational Corporations.” Global Governance 15, no. 2 (2009): 279–98.

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Dr Giovanni   Mantilla

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