Research and publications

My research is at the intersection of security gender, security studies and queer theory.  Here I include my published journal articlesbook chapters, review articles, and additional online publications

I also include a section about works in progress.

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Journal articles

 
 
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'Queer feminist interruptions to internationalising UK higher education',

British Education Research Journal, April 2022

This paper considers queer feminist interruptions as a way to halt, reverse and rethink internationalisation in UK higher education (HE). These points of intervention are situated within the queer development studies literature, which provides a framework for understanding internationalisation practices alongside other strategies of Western extraction, critical of claims that internationalisation is important for enhancing diversity. Throughout, the paper confronts the problematic, colonial narratives of global LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer) human rights progress as framed by the global north, and how UK internationalisation strategy often reproduces or doubles-down on these narratives. The central questions addressed are: (1) how does queer liberation help academics think differently about promoting, participating in and developing UK HE internationally? (2) What can academics learn from those working to centre queer feminist practices in their transnational research and teaching? In conversation with critical internationalisation studies scholarship, this paper contributes to ongoing research about internalisation with a queer sensitivity. As such, the paper highlights the limiting binary logics and heteronormativity in internationalisation, as well as new directions for collaboration across communities working for radical liberation on campus beyond agendas of inclusion.Article is available open access. 

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"Nevertheless, they persisted. feminist activism & the politics of crisis in Northern Ireland " (with Maria-Adriana Deiana and Danielle Roberts), Journal of Gender Studies, 2022

The gendered effects of the Covid-19 pandemic have been documented globally by feminist researchers and activists. However, less explored are the strategies employed by feminist activists to navigate such challenges. Mobilizing feminist scholarship on the politics of crisis and the study of feminist movements, this article presents findings from a collaborative research project that sought to understand how the crisis engendered by the COVID-19 pandemic is impacting on feminist activism in Northern Ireland (NI) post-Belfast/Good Friday Agreement. Drawing on focus groups with local activists, we outline how the effects of the pandemic compound the long history of marginalization and de-prioritization of gender equality and justice seen throughout the peace process and its multiple crises. Open access. 

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"Revisiting gender-neutral policy from a trans perspective: a look at Northern Ireland " (with Maria-Adriana Deiana and Danielle Roberts), European Journal of Politics and Gender, 2022 

Key Messages: Gender-neutral policy can depoliticise gender and marginalise trans people. Intersectional and gender-aware politics resists reproducing the gender binary when promoting gender equality Read here. 

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"Racial hierarchies of knowledge production in the Women, Peace and Security agenda" (w/ Toni Haastrup), Critical Studies on Security, 2021

In this article, we address hierarchies of knowledge production that have emerged in the two decades of researching the global normative framework, the Women, Peace and Security (WPS) agenda. We argue that through the constitution of Centres of Excellence (CoE), the well-meaning processes of producing WPS knowledge can reify prevailing global racial hierarchies. We find that these processes rather than achieving emancipatory feminist outcomes can instead serve to narrow the scope of inquiry, pushing marginalised peoples further to the margins. Open access.  Read here. 

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"Compounding Risk for Sex Workers in the United States", NACLA Report on the Americas, 2018

The Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act (SESTA) and Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act (FOSTA) hold serious consequences for Latinx queer and trans sex workers, especially those who are undocumented or seeking asylum. These new laws exemplify how racist, sexist, and moralistic legislation uninformed by those most impacted misunderstands both sex work and human trafficking. Mobilizing for change, sex workers of color offer a way to rethink what safety in their communities looks like by centering solutions based on their own experiences.  Read here. 

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"Queering Women, Peace & Security in Colombia", Critical Studies on Security, 2017

​This piece considers the importance of the inclusion of LGBT organizations in the Colombia peace accords and what this means for the inclusion of sexual orientation and gender identity in future WPS initiatives. It was published as a part of the Interventions section about queer/ing in/securities. Read here. 

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"Queering Women, Peace & Security", International Affairs, 2016

Feminist security studies and emerging queer theory in international relations provide a framework to incorporate a gender perspective in WPS work that moves beyond a narrow, binary understanding of gender to begin to capture violence targeted at the LGBTQ population, particularly in efforts to address SGBV in conflict-related environments. The article explores how a queer security analysis reveals the part heteronormativity and cisprivilege play in sustaining the current gap in analysis of gendered violence. Read here. 

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"Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity or Expression (SOGIE) in Violent Conflict and Peacebuilding" (with Megan Daigle, Jamie Hagen, and Henri Myrttinen)

 Routledge Handbook of Feminist Peace Research

Tarja VäyrynenSwati Parashar, Élise Féron and Catia Cecilia Confortini (eds)., March 2021

This chapter considers the heightened and layered vulnerabilities for gender and sexual minorities (GSM) living in war-related environments. A case study on the Colombian conflict explores the violence faced by those with diverse SOGIE as well as how queer communities support one another to survive conflict violence. The authors consider how post-conflict offers a moment to push back against heteropatriarchal and cisgender norms. They conclude with a look at international organisations currently working to respond to conflict-related violence against GSM with a focus on the work by OutRight Action International, Madre and the Organization for Women’s Freedom in Iraq. Read here.

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"Global Racial Hierarchies & the Limits of Localization via National Action Plans" w/ Toni Haastrup in New Directions in Women, Peace and Security

Soumita Basu, Paul Kirby & Laura J. Shepherd (Eds.) , Bristol University Press, 2020

 This contribution reflects on how whiteness and white privilege are refracted in the narratives and practices WPS agenda through a focus on National Action Plans (NAPs). We consider who WPS is about and who it is for on the international stage. A central part of this investigation is interrogating whether NAPs are truly able to localize the international project of WPS or whether because of global racial hierarchies, they actually simply reinforce the status quo to then allow for the perpetuation of countries in a peaceful though militarized Global North to place countries in the insecure Global South in a position of always failing at WPS. We also examine the imagery used by different countries within their NAPs and its implications for WPS messaging by countries in the Global North. Read here.

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"Extending acts of motherhood: Storytelling as resistance to stigma" , Troubling Motherhood: Maternality in Global Politics, Lucy B. Hall, Anna L. Weissman, & Laura J. Shepherd (eds), Oxford University Press, p. 51-66, 2020

 

This chapter highlights the different ways mothers engage in storytelling to resist stigma, while also rejecting the idea that they are “bad” mothers. The prevailing story told about what makes a “good” mother relies on the construction of an ideal mother parenting within a specific vision of the nuclear family. Mothers who do not live up to this ideal construction of motherhood are punished through various forms of stigma such as sexual stigma and abortion stigma. This chapter considers the impact of stigma on two groups of women, lesbian mothers and mothers who have had abortions. Mothers from both communities who have faced stigma are finding ways to rewrite the script about how to mother without shame. Some of the forms of resistance these mothers have engaged in includes abortion speak outs, online storytelling through blogs and videos and storytelling through art. The chapter also explores how community-based initiatives informed by the principles of reproductive justice also make possible new narratives of maternity and new visions for a future for mothering without stigma. Read here.

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"Sexualities" in Handbook on Gender and Violence, eds, Laura J. Shepherd (ed), Oxfordshire, UK: Edward Elgar Publishing, p. 61-76, 2019

 

This chapter introduces the main scholarship pertaining to sexuality as it relates to gender, with a focus on how this intersection matters for better understanding violence targeting LGBTQ individuals. Specifically, the chapter examines how homophobia is used as a means of upholding heteronormativity on the institutional level. The chapter considers how upholding norms based on binary constructions of masculinity and femininity perpetuates forms of violence, especially for queer and trans individuals who are deemed to being failing to perform these aspects of their identity appropriately who are then punished through acts of violence.  Additionally the chapter reviews four key debates about sexuality: 1) the ongoing tension between sexual rights as a liberal politics versus a more radical conception of queer liberation that is not reliant on identity politics; 2) the inclusion of trans studies within sexuality studies; 3) the challenges of interpreting or working to protect sexualities in postcolonial contexts; and 4) how queer, trans and feminist interventions in global studies cause us to rework key tenets of how gender matters to understanding violence. Read here.

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"Global LGBTQ politics and human rights" in Interdisciplinary Approaches to Human Rights, eds. Elora Chowdhury & Rajini Srikanth (eds) Oxfordshire, UK: Taylor and Francis/Routledge, 2018

This chapter addresses human rights debates about global LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer) politics. Considering this topic may be new to some students, this section will begin with an overview of key terms including LGBTQ, queer, intersex, sexual orientation, and finally gender identity before then going into specific issues of LGBTQ human rights. To broadly frame this topic, attention is paid to the bridge between feminist and queer organizing for LGBTQ issues. Because this book is intended for students in American universities the section will include a brief review of which issues of LGBTQ politics have been prioritized in domestic politics including the Obergefell V. Hodges case for marriage equality as well as the fight for inclusion of LGBT individuals in the American military.  The chapter reviews mobilizing for LGBTQ issues through the lens of large global civil society organizations including Outright International and ILGA as compared to a number of small organizations in the global South. The role of human rights as contained in UN documents on the global scale verses human rights concerns as articulated by local organizations  is then compared. The chapter concludes with a look at the critical pushback on the human rights paradigm as a way to achieve security and equality for LGBTQ individuals due the colonial legacy of the institution as expressed by some transnational feminists. Read here.

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"The Revolutionary Possibilities of Online Trans and Queer Communities"

Gender, Sex and Politics: In the Streets and Between the Sheets

(Routledge, 2015)

 

This book chapter reviews ways that online queer and trans communities provide a space to connect in new and exciting ways not previously available to most. The chapter highlights the lesbian, feminist website Autostraddle as well as queer sex and fashion blogs such as DapperQ, The Handsome Butch Tumblr and The Testshot Tumblr.

Book chapters 

Review articles and editorials

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Digital Media Team editorial, (w/ Annick T.R. Wibben)

International Feminist Journal of Politics, 2021, 23:5, 674-675 . Read here. 

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"LGBTI Perspectives in Peacebuilding" in The Palgrave Encyclopedia of Peace and Conflict Studies, living edition (September 2020)

 

Read here. 

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"Homophobic Violence in Armed Conflict and Political Transition", Hagen J.

In : Journal of Iberian and Latin American Research. 25:3, 374-376, March 2020. Read here. 

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"Counting Male Victims, Recognizing Women Rapists and Revisiting Assumptions about Conflict-Related Sexual Violence", Journal of Intervention and Statebuilding, 13:4, 524-530, July 2019, Read here.

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"Feminism is Queer: The Intimate Connection Between Queer and Feminist Theory",

International Journal of Feminist Politics, Volume 19.4 (2017): pp. 549-550. Read here. 

Additional online publications

Select Works in Progress

Queering Women, Peace and Security, book project in progress (chapters under review)

 

My forthcoming book reflects on how WPS practitioners understand supporting lesbian, bisexual and transgender women as a part of WPS work, and also looks to LGBTQ organizations to help define next steps for how to best collaborate across often siloed networks. variation, and to motivate future research in this area.

Queering Conflict Research: New Approaches to the Study of Political Violence, (with Samuel Ritholtz and Andrew Delatolla), under contract with Bristol University Press

The edited volume provides a foundation of queer methodologies to the study of political violence and conflict. It builds on existing literature and interest on queer epistemologies, theories, and methods in the social sciences and seeks to apply them to the study of political violence and conflict. By putting this volume together, the editors and authors will create a foundational text for future students and scholars to refer to that centres a queer positionality in the subject matter. The chapters engage in discussions of what queer approaches entail, how to engage in a queer approach to political violence and conflict, and why queer approaches are important. These chapters explore a variety of specific methodological approaches, including fieldwork, interviews, cultural analysis, and archival research, as well as broader academic debates, such as how to work with research partners in an ethical manner. The content of these chapters will also show the reader these methods in practice by considering case studies from around the globe.

"Seeing Sexual orientation and gender identity in Gender-based violence" (with Meredith Loken), ISR R & R

Research on armed conflict’s gender dynamics has expanded significantly in the past decade. Moving away from the singular conception of women as sexual violence victims, scholars broaden the theoretical and empirical scope of gender-based violence to include male victims, women perpetrators, and non-sexual harms. But research in this field and the international architecture established to prevent gender-based violence pay little attention to sexual orientation and gender identity. Where relevant scholarship and policy interventions exist, they are largely siloed from work on gender-based violence. We argue for the theoretical expansion of ‘gender-based violence’ as a conceptual, empirical, and analytic category informed by sexuality studies, concluding that this framework can contextualize and help explain targeted attacks against gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people during conflict.

 
 

 

 

"LGBTQ issues in the classroom" with Jose Fernando Serrano Amaya and Samuel Ritholz, chapter for the Oxford Handbook of International Studies Pedagogy

 

Chapter will consider theoretical/ethical discussion of the topic,  an overview of what is happening globally in terms of teaching LGBTQA Issues and examples of how instructors/students are handling LGBTQA Issues in the classroom.

Queer Peace and Security Secrets, project affiliated with Secrecy, Power and Ignorance network (SPIN)

Lesbian feminist organizing has played a significant role in women’s peacebuilding work, including in anti-war and abolitionist organizing. Yet women’s lesbian and queer identities are continually silenced/erased in the history told about the women’s peacebuilding movement, and feminist strategies for resisting patriarchal violence. What can explain the silence about these lesbian and queer lives in the American and UK women’s peacebuilding movements?  How does this silencing perpetuate heteronormative practices in gender, peace and security work? This project considers how queer people, especially women, in peace and security work continue to remain invisible even in work to promote a gender perspective in peace and security spaces. Ultimately, this project seeks to understand whether this invisibility of queer lives is the result of strategic secrecy or silencing or of ignorance on behalf of academic, activist and policy actors. Part of this work is also articulating the complex ways people align themselves with LGBTQ identities and how this has shifted historically when working in international security spaces such as the United Nations.