Matthew Shafer

Visiting Assistant Professor

Politics and International Relations

Office: MMC, SIPA

Phone: (305) 347 3297


Curriculum Vitae



My work brings together transnational intellectual history and contemporary critical theory to examine how fundamental political ideas are formed and contested over time.

I’m now writing a book on recent debates about how the word violence should be defined in political theory and deployed in political rhetoric. How do we draw the line between violence and nonviolence? Where do terms like “structural violence” come from? Why does so much contemporary activist and academic debate about violence focus on language as a space of power and harm? These are the sorts of questions that my project examines.

Beyond this work on violence, I have broader research interests in the methodological dilemmas of critical theory today. My articles in this area have focused mostly on the contested relationship between the Marxian tradition and other forms of social inquiry, such as feminist & queer theory and science & technology studies.


PhD, Political Science, Yale University (2020)

MA, History, Yale University (2017)

MPhil, Political Science, Yale University (2017)

MPhil, Political Thought and Intellectual History, with distinction, Clare College, Univeristy of Cambridge (2014) 

BA, Philosophy, cum laude and with distinction in the major, Yale University (2013)