Research


My main research interest revolves around how ideas about the natural environment impact our understanding of security and international relations. I situate my work in the broad areas of international security studies, international ethics, and international relations theory.

I have three ongoing research projects:

International relations and the Anthropocene
This multi-venue project is meant to further the engagement between global politics and the concept of the Anthropocene, through both theoretical and empirical investigations. The project began with an article published by Millennium: Journal of International Studies in June 2016. In August 2017, my co-authored book manuscript, Security in the Anthropocene: Reflections on Safety and Care was published. The book bridges insights from international relations and criminology and argues that the concept of the Anthropocene requires a reorientation of traditional and critical views of security and towards a sensibility built on care. In addition to the book I was co-editor of a 2017 special journal issue on “Security Entanglements," and was a contributor to a 2017 edited book, Reflections on the Posthuman in IR. 2018 outputs are currently in process. A paper on quantum IR and the Anthropocene was presented at the 2018 ISA conference in San Francisco. 

The politics of water risk
The objective of this research is to understand how the concept of risk is used to govern water. It does so by examining how different, influential stakeholders understand and enact risk in water governance and regulation. Using risk to govern complex environmental problems may compel effective, coordinated responses, or it may provoke alarm and create a sense of powerlessness and paralysis; in other words, it may “dim the horizon.”  Therefore, understanding the relationship between risk and water security will help researchers and policymakers determine the benefits and drawbacks of risk governance in the creation of water management strategies in a world where uncertainty, complexity, and vulnerability are ever-present and increasing. It links the wider questions and principles of risk to the specific practices of security pursued by various water actors (both weak and powerful) and institutions in real, empirical settings. 

Energy transitions in emerging economies
This project is a node in an international research consortium, led by GRGP at the University of Cape Town, which seeks to understand the factors shaping electrical energy generation, and distribution, within the BASIC countries (Brazil, China, India and South Africa).  Electrical energy constitutes a crucial form of security across the globe.  A particular focus of the project is the learning that can be gleaned from comparative developments within these countries that can assist South Africa and other emerging economies in realising both electrical energy security and ecological security. As part of a research team, I conducted field work in India in 2015, interviewing approximately two dozen Indian government and non-government officials on the opportunities and "locked-in" obstacles of Indian transitions away from carbon-based energy. A co-written article was published in Crime, Law, and Social Change in 2017.