Political Science (PhD student), Gender and Race Studies (MA student)

Political Science Subfields: International Relations, Political Theory, Comparative Politics

Research Interests: International Relations Theory, Coups, Colonialism

Elevator Pitch: I am a graduate student at the University of Alabama specializing in international relations theory. My academic interests include the implications of novel notions of security on international relations theorizing (such as cosmopolitan or human security), political instability (especially coups d’etat), as well as colonial, decolonial, and postcolonial political thought.

As a researcher, I am studying the factors underlying coups d’etat that lead to increased violence during coup attempts with Dr. Holger Albrecht. Additionally, I am employed by Dr. Doug Gibler coding MID data for the Correlates of War project.

Detailed Pitch: I am interested in the way our political imaginaries – speaking primarily to the ‘west’, but also elsewhere – perpetuate and necessitate adversarial politics. Why do we as species not realize that the social is – in whole or in large part – of our own making? To what extent is the social of our own making, and how does it perpetuate material and social problems? I see this broad theme being explored in several ways.

Security and Insecurity: As a mechanism, the concept of security and the social milieu  around it is central toward our understanding of what and who constitutes a threat. I approach this topic specifically through the lens of international relations. Anthony Burke has pointed out that current conceptualizations of security rely on the immunization of the state. By investigating the historical development of “security” and developing new, ethical frameworks, we close the deathworlds of international relations as such, and open the doors to more holistic ways of living, drawing from a diverse array of cosmological and epistemological accounts (including decolonial, postcolonial, feminist, and indigenous thought). In essence, to stave off our imminent (yes, imminent) deaths we must find ways of living in and of the world using enmeshed rather than individualistic and immunizable subjectivities.

International Relations Theorizing: Specifically, the dynamics of a particular imaginary can be seen through the lens of international relations theory. The immunization mechanism of traditional security dichotomized the world – in Schmittian terms, necessarily into friends and enemies – but in the materiality of doing so we sow the seeds of our own ruin through oppression, environmental disaster, warfare, and nuclear arms. Is international relations theorizing up to the task, or is there an opening for new and/or non-hegemonic forms of thought to become emphasized in a world of globalized problems?

The civil conflict trap: The civil conflict trap is a particularly visible and explosive manifestation of world-wide adversarial politics, a concatenation of the domestic and international. What structures and systems contribute to these manifestations, and what can they (including the people involved in these processes) teach us about more sympathetic ways of living in the world?

Key aspects of future inquiry: aesthetics, epistemology, postcolonial thought, decolonial thought, critical race theory, feminist theory, queer theory, the intersection of liberalism and colonialism, coups

Fields: Global Politics and Political Theory