Research Interests

My research uses interdisciplinary approaches to explore the discourses, politics and practices of helping the suffering / vulnerable ‘other’ in international society.

My doctoral research focuses on international responses to mass atrocities and interrogates the combination of penal and humanitarian sensibilities at the heart of international justice-making. My thesis supervisors are Dr Peter Wilson and Dr Theresa Squatrito.

I am also currently contributing to a project on the European Management of Migration and Refugees – Consequences for mobility and political stability in transit countries (MARE). The project is funded by the Norwegian Research Council and is jointly conducted by the Fafo Research Foundation, NUPI (both Oslo), the Institut Français du Proche Orient (Amman) and LSE. As part of this project, I have co-authored a paper (with Dr Natascha Zaun) on ‘The use of pseudo-causal narratives in EU policies: the case of the European Union Emergency Trust Fund for Africa’. Read a summary of the article, or access the full version.

I have previously written on international refugee protection as a primary institution of international society. My research, published in the Review of International Studies, demonstrates that the figure of the refugee is foundational to the constitution of both modern international society and its agent, the sovereign territorial state. Read more about it here, or access the full article.

PhD Research project: Imagining International Justice: A Genealogy of Penal Humanitarianism

Since the 1990s, international investigations and prosecutions have become commonplace in the midst and aftermath of episodes of mass violence, arguably becoming moral, if not political and legal, imperatives. The proliferation of international criminal justice bodies – from international and hybrid criminal courts and tribunals to international commissions of inquiry, and (more recently) international investigative mechanisms – has played a crucial role in ‘mainstreaming’ accountability in world politics. These institutions have contributed to redefining the meaning of justice through the prosecution and punishment of a selected number of individuals bearing ‘most responsibility’ for mass violence, cementing a conception where retributive and corrective action is undertaken in the name of the victim.

My PhD project interrogates this combination of penal and humanitarian sensibilities at the heart of international criminal justice: how calls to deploy international criminal law are motivated by and justified through the desire to alleviate the suffering of distant victims. Drawing from narrative approaches, I examine the discourses and narratives through which international criminal justice is understood, legitimated and acted upon. I combine this narrative approach with a genealogical ethos, inquiring into the historical conditions of possibility for the emergence of key international criminal justice narratives and tracing their transformation and consolidation over time.