Etienne Hanelt

Etienne Hanelt

DPhil candidate

University of Oxford


I’m a political scientist interested in autocratization in Hungary and Poland, European Union politics, and judicial politics. I’m a DPhil candidate at the University of Oxford and Wolfson College and a researcher at the Judicial Studies Institute (JUSTIN) at Masaryk University. At JUSTIN, I work on the ERC Consolidator Grant project INFINITY – ‘Informal Judicial Institutions: Invisible Determinants of Democratic Decay’.

At the University of Oxford, I was one of the founders and convenors of a graduate discussion group (OxonCourts) that served as an interdisciplinary forum for researchers working on judicial institutions across the University. I represented for 3 years non-tenured researchers and graduate students at Wolfson College. This involved me in virtually all aspects of College governance and strategy. In 2019, I was elected as the Chair of the General Meeting – the Common Room President – and participated in this capacity in many committees dealing with issues as diverse as academic affairs, communications, the College premises, equality and welfare as well as social and cultural matters. I was also twice elected to the Governing Body (2019–21) and served for two years on the General Purposes Committee (2018–20).

I hold degrees in Political Science from Friedrich Schiller University Jena (M.A., B.A.) and have studied as a graduate exchange student in Michigan and South Korea. My master’s thesis was awarded the Jena Political Science Department’s best thesis award in 2016. Before joining Oxford, I taught classes in political science at Jena.

  • European Union politics
  • judicial politics
  • backsliding/autocratization
  • process tracing
  • text as data
  • DPhil candidate in Socio-Legal Studies

    University of Oxford

  • M.A. in Political Science

    Friedrich Schiller University Jena

  • B.A. in Political Science and Philosophy

    Friedrich Schiller University Jena


Judicial Studies Institute, Masaryk University
Sep 2021 – Present Brno, CZ
ERC-funded project INFINITY: Informal Judicial Institutions – Invisible Determinants of Democratic Decay
Elected Member of the Governing Body
Wolfson College, University of Oxford
Apr 2019 – Mar 2021 Oxford
Chair of the General Meeting (Common Room President)
Wolfson College, University of Oxford
Apr 2019 – Mar 2020 Oxford
Associate Lecturer
Department of Political Science, Friedrich Schiller University
Apr 2016 – Sep 2017 Jena


2021. ‘Mapping Attacks on Courts and the European Union’s Protection of the Rule of Law in Hungary and Poland’. ECPR GC (virtual, 09/2021).

2021. ‘Public Diplomacy in Backsliding Regimes? Hungary and Poland’. ECPR SGEU (virtual, 06/2021).

2021. ‘Public Diplomacy in a Hybrid Regime: A Case Study on Hungary’. Research Seminar of the Judicial Studies Institute (Masaryk University, virtual, 05/2021) [Invited talk].

2021. ‘The Rule of Law and Public Diplomacy: A Case Study on Hungary’. Workshop: Courts and Regulation in Action: From Activism to Innovation? (University of Oxford, virtual, 03/2021).

2019. ‘Conceptualizing Political Interference with Courts’. ECPR Joint Sessions of Workshops. Judicial Authority Under Pressure: Politicisation and Backlash against Courts in the Age of Populism (UCLouvain Mons, 04/2019).

2018. ‘Insurance, Backlash, and the Unsustainability of Judicial Authority’. Workshop: Dialogues on Law and Politics (University of Oxford, 10/2018).

2013. ‘Dan Quayle (1989–1993) – the Vice President as a burden on the presidency’. Workshop: The Vice President of the United States (Friedrich Schiller University Jena, 07/2013).


2021. ‘Commissioned Book Review: Benjamin Bricker, Visions of Judicial Review: A Comparative Examination of Courts and Policy in Democracies’. Political Studies Review 19(3), NP21–NP22. [open access]

2020. ‘Commissioned Book Review: Wojciech Sadurski, Poland’s Constitutional Breakdown (Oxford Comparative Constitutionalism)’. Political Studies Review 18(4), NP11–NP12.

2020. ‘In the Orbit of Democracy: Satellite Parties in South Korea’s 2020 Parliamentary Election’. Oxford University Politics Blog.

2018. [with Jamie McLoughlin] ‘United States of America’. Religious Exemptions for the Solemnisation of Same Sex Unions, ed. by Rishika Sahgal, Gauri Pillai, and Katy Sheridan. Oxford Pro Bono Publico: 45–52.