Dr. M. (Maaike) Warnaar

  • Lecturer
  • International Relations
  • Iran
  • Politics of the Middle East
  • Foreign policy
  • Poststructuralism and constructivism

Telephone number: +31 (0)71 527 7665
E-Mail: m.warnaar@hum.leidenuniv.nl
Faculty / Department: Faculteit der Geesteswetenschappen, Leiden Institute for Area Studies, SMES APT
Office Address: Witte Singel-complex
Witte Singel 25/M. de Vrieshof 4
2311 BZ Leiden
Room number 0.09c


Whether countries look at each other as friends or enemies is not a matter of mere objective threats or clashing interests. Relations among states are the product of historical interactions, and embedded in the views which the representatives of these states share about their state in relation to other states. If we want to understand relations between states, we need to become acquainted with the narratives these states maintain of one and another. Also, we would inquire into how the foreign policies of states confirm existing narratives and reproduce historically constructed relations. This is precisely what Maaike Warnaar did in her book Iranian Foreign Policy during Ahmadinejad: Ideology and actions on the foreign policies of Iran in the period 2006-2013. She showed how the Iranian regime's construction of Iranian identity vis-à-vis the rest of the world (its past and its future, problems and solutions) can help understand Iranian foreign policies in the Middle East region and beyond. Maaike also argued how, through its foreign policies, the Iranian regime during Ahmadinejad reinforced and confirmed the worldviews it communicated. One of Maaike's conclusions was that the Iranian nuclear programme has become a beacon of Iranian resistance against its international isolation. This means that the Iranian regime during Ahmadinejad placed emphasis on the need for recognition of Iran’s equal rights to technological development. The emphasis on equality and development precluded any resolution of the nuclear issue that involves pursuation or force, but created possibilities for a resolution in which the West deals with Iran on equal terms. Maaike Warnaar’s ongoig research focuses on Iran in the context of Middle East regional relations. She inquires, among other things, into the views of Iran among the members of the Gulf Cooperation Council, and how these views have precluded cooperation between Iran and the GCC. Keywords include: constructivism, identity and foreign policy, Shi'ism, sectarianism, Saudi Arabia, GCC, regional conflicts.

Teaching activities

Maaike Warnaar teaches in both the BA and MA International Studies, and supervises BA and MA theses in Middle East Studies. Courses which she designed and teaches include The International Politics of Nuclear Proliferation in the Middle East (MA elective) and Politics: Middle East (BA Middle East track). Maaike also currently teaches Core Course I (MA), Core Course II (MA), Methods (MA), Thesis seminar (MA) and supervises MA theses. Her teaching focuses on Middle East Politics, International Relations theory, critical approaches to International Relations, constructivism, poststructuralism, and research methods.

Curriculum vitae


2006-2012: University of St Andrews, School of International Relations, Doctoral degree (June 19th 2012). Dissertation “We belong to the future, the tyrants belong to the Past – Iranian foreign policy discourse and behaviour between 2005 and 2011.” (No corrections.)

1999-2005: University of Amsterdam, Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences. Master Degree in International Relations. Thesis title: “Shaken not stirred: Iranian foreign policy and domestic disaster.” (8.5)
Minor programme International Development Studies (2005).
Foundation year Cultural Anthropology and Sociology of non-Western Civilizations(2000).

2003-2004: McGill University, Montreal, Canada, Faculty of Arts. Minor programme Middle East Studies (2004).


August 2012 - Today: Assistant Professor, Leiden University, Leiden University Institute for Area Studies, BA and MA International Studies.

January 2009 - July 2012: Associate Lecturer, University of Amsterdam, Faculty of Political Science and Institute for Interdisciplinary Studies.

Last Modified: 11-12-2015