30 Oct 2017 12:30pm - 2:00pm CRASSH Meeting Room, Alison Richard Building


Part of the CRASSH Fellows Work in Progress Seminar Series.  All welcome but please email Michelle Maciejewska to book your place and to request readings.  A sandwich lunch and refreshments are provided.

Dr Lauren Wilcox

In this project, I’m interested in the ways that the political and technological assemblages of bodies that make up the so-called ‘posthuman’ nature of war and political violence pose a theoretical and political challenge to how we theorize the relationship between violence, desire, embodiment, race, sex, and gender. This work builds off the theoretical contributions of my first monograph, Bodies of Violence (2015). Like that work, it is located at the intersections of feminist/queer theorizing, political theory and International Relations. This book aims to produce an account of political violence in contemporary international relations building upon queer theorizations of gender and sexualized subjects that ultimately argues for new conceptual understandings of violence. By ‘queer’ I mean not only what Eve Sedgwick described as the excess when “anyone’s gender, or anyone’s sexuality aren’t made (or can’t be made) to signify monolithically,” (1993, 8) but also an understanding that ‘queer’ that is not automatically transgressive, but rather a mode of understanding how gender and sexuality can be contingently mobilized to produce differential regimes of inclusion and exclusion, living and dying.


Dr Lauren Wilcox is a CRASSH Early Career Fellow in Michaelmas Term 2017.

Dr Lauren Wilcox is a lecturer in POLIS and is also the Deputy Director of the Cambridge University Centre for Gender Studies. Her research is located at the intersections of international relations, political theory and feminist theory in investigating the consequences for thinking about bodies and embodiment in the study of international practice of violence and security. Her  research interests include feminist/queer theory in International Relations, critical war studies, technology and contemporary modes of warfare, bodies and embodiment, biopower and biopolitics, international humanitarian law and just war theory.

She published a book with Oxford University Press in 2015, “Bodies of Violence: Theorizing Embodied Subjects in International Relations,” which addresses such topics as torture, hunger striking and force-feeding at Guantánamo Bay, suicide bombing, airport security screenings and 'drone' warfare. She argues that explicitly theorizing the subject as embodied allows us to account for the logic behind, and effects of, political violence that cannot be understood if we assume bodies to be inert, apolitical objects. In making this argument, she read contemporary modes of political violence through feminist theories of embodiment to show how IR's assumptions about subjects and bodies are inadequate. This work was honoured at the 2012 North East Circle at the ISA-NE Annual Meeting.

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