Daniel R. Brunstetter
Associate Professor
3151 Social Science Plaza

Daniel R. Brunstetter studies political theory, with a focus on early modern thought and just war. His first book, Tensions of Modernity, revisits Europe’s initial encounter with the Native Americans of the New World to shed light on how the West’s initial defense of so-called ‘barbarians’ has influenced the way we think about diversity today, and elucidate the arguments of exclusion that unconsciously permeate the moral world we live in. The main thread of the book traces Bartolomé de Las Casas’s oft heralded defense of the Native Americans in the sixteenth century through the French Enlightenment. While this defense has been rightly lauded as an early example of human rights discourse, tracing Las Casas’s arguments into the eighteenth century shows how his view of equality enabled arguments legitimizing the annihilation by ‘just’ war of those perceived to be ‘barbarians’.

His work on just war thinking spans the historical to the contemporary, including themes such as: the history of the just war tradition, cultural heritage, the contested notion of ‘barbarians’, armed drones, and contemporary debates about the use of force. His work has been published in Ethics & International Affairs, Journal of Military Ethics, Political Studies, Review of International Studies, International Journal of Human Rights, Raisons politiques and elsewhere. He is co-editor of two edited volumes that cover a variety of themes related to the ethics of war: The Ethics of War and Peace Revisited: Moral Challenges in an Era of Contested and Fragmented Sovereignty (w/Georgetown University Press) and Just War Thinkers: From Cicero to the 21st Century (w/Routledge).

Daniel is currently the Director of UC Irvine’s Center for Citizen Peace Building and Faculty Advisor for the  Olive Tree Initiative – a conflict analysis and resolution program that combines in class learning with study abroad.  He is currently on the editorial board of the journals Ethics & International Affairs and Champs de Mars.  Daniel was the recipient of a Chateaubriand fellowship in 2005.

His new book project examines the ethics of limited force – what he calls the notion of jus ad vim.


  • Ph.D., University of California, Davis, 2005, Political Science
  • MSc, The London School of Economics, 1999, Philosophy
  • M.A., Tulane University, 1998, Latin American Studies