Pettifer has travelled extensively in Greece, Turkey and the Balkans and he has written several tourist guides to the region, including the Blue Guide to Albania and Kosovo, one of the few such guides to the area. In the media, he has reported mainly for The Times and The Wall Street Journal and he is a regular broadcaster and commentator on the Balkan countries on both radio and television.
His expertise has been employed academically. He was a Senior Associate Member of St Antony's College, Oxford, from 1993 to 1996 and a Visiting Professor in the Institute of Balkan Studies, Thessaloniki). He is currently teaching Balkan history at St Cross College, Oxford and in the Oxford University Faculty of History.
Pettifer's published work includes:
- The Making of the Greek Crisis'
- The Kosova Liberation Army Underground War to Balkan Insurgency, 1948–2001
- The Albanian Question: Reshaping the Balkans (with Miranda Vickers)
- Blue Guide Albania and Kosovo
- Albania: From Anarchy to a Balkan Identity (with Miranda Vickers)
- The Greeks
- Blue Guide Bulgaria
- Turkish Labyrinth
- Kosova Express: A Journey in Wartime
- The New Macedonian Question
- Dialogue with Hashim Thaci
He has published many papers in academic and other journals, a selection of which is available on his website.
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- Professor James Pettifer's Official website
- United Kingdom Defence Academy website
- Chatham House website
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