Moritz S. Graefrath

Moritz S. Graefrath

Fields of Study: International Relations, Comparative Politics


Areas of interest: International relations theory, security studies, diplomatic history

Moritz S. Graefrath is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Political Science at the University of Notre Dame, a Graduate Fellow with the Nanovic Institute for European Studies, and a Graduate Fellow with the Notre Dame International Security Center. In addition, he currently serves as President of the Political Science Graduate Organization (PoGO).

In his dissertation, Moritz examines the role of power vacuums in international politics. Specifically, he seeks to explain both what power vacuums are and under what conditions they cause interstate conflict. He argues that, in the context of international politics, authority can operate and collapse on two levels of primary relevance – the state and the system level – which implies the existence of two types of power vacuums relevant to the study of interstate relations: state and systemic vacuums. He then develops a theory to explain variation in the strategies states employ towards these power vacuums, thus illuminating under what conditions they become sites of interstate competition as well as what form said competition takes when it occurs.

He is a recipient of Notre Dame’s University Presidential Fellowship in the Social Sciences. Prior to coming to Notre Dame, Moritz received a B.A. (with greatest distinction) in Philosophy & Economics from the University of Bayreuth, Germany.