Dr Elspeth Van Veeren

Dr Elspeth Van Veeren

Dr Elspeth Van Veeren
Research Fellow in Sociology, Politics and International Studies
Lecturer in Political Science

2.01, 10 Priory Road,
11 Priory Road, Clifton, Bristol
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Telephone Number (0117) 928 8238
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School of Sociology, Politics and International Studies

Personal profile

I completed my PhD in the Department of Politics and International Relations at the University of Bristol (2011) and since then I have been an ESRC Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Department of International Relations at the University of Sussex (2011-2013), a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Centre for Advanced Security Theory at the University of Copenhagen (2013) in Denmark, and a Banting Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the York Centre for International and Security Studies at York University in Canada. 


My work is focused around three main themes: the mobilization, transformation, and demobilization of security publics; the relationship between domestic and international factors in processes of state and identity formation in connection with concepts and practices of security; and the sociology and politics of knowledge, especially theories of discourse as encompassing the material and visual. I therefore have broader interests in the roles of culture (‘high’ and ‘low’) and media in producing (in)securities. 

Current research

I currently have three projects in various stages of completion. 

I am finalising a book, tentatively entitled Security Collisions: Guantánamo and the Materialisation of Post-9/11 Security, which offers an account of how US politics and material and visual practices help shape and transform security policies. Work from this project has appeared in a range of peer-reviewed academic journals including New Political Science, Review of International Studies, and the Journal of War and Culture Studies. 

I am currently most engaged on a project on the concept of invisibility and security; on how technological things and tactics are built around the invisible. I have a number of articles that build and expand on this work, including an article on posthumanist security studies, on visual practices and the war on terror, and two articles on drone warfare, Obama’s foreign policy, and the politics of (in)visibility. 

Finally, I am in the early stages of a project entitled 'Forensic Certainty and Political Remains' on connections between the technologies of identification and post-disaster and post-conflict democracy promotion and transitional justice. This work is carried out in collaboration with Dr. Lucy Easthope, Lincoln. 


I teach Democracy and US Government (21226) and US Foreign Policy (30002) at the undergraduate level, and Theories of Security Studies (M3036) as part of our graduate programme. I have a new unit on Secrecy in development.

I currently co-supervise PhD students, including:

  • Modupe Akileye: media representations of terrorism and counterterrorism in Nigeria
  • Rodrigo Liceaga Mendoza: information technologies and the production of freedom and security in Mexican cyberspace

Past students have included:

  • Emma Connolly: American video-gaming cultures and security

I am interesting in supervising PhD research on range of topics related to American politics and US Foreign policy, culture and security.

Fields of interest

US politics and democracy; US military and security policies; US foreign policy; the war on terror; critical security studies; security futures; science and technology studies; history and philosophy of science and technology; media, culture and war; material and visual theories; interpretivism and continental philosophy in politics and international relations; critical methodologies

Latest publications

  1. Van Veeren, E, 2017, ‘Invisibilities’. in: Roland Bleiker (eds) Visual Global Politics.
  2. Van Veeren, E, 2016, ‘Orange Prison Jumpsuit’. in: Mark Salter (eds) Making Things International: Catalysts and Reactions.
  3. Van Veeren, ES, 2014, ‘Materializing US Security: Guantanamo’s Object Lessons and Concrete Messages’. International Political Sociology., pp. 20
  4. Van Veeren, ES, 2013, ‘Clean War, Invisible War, Liberal War: The Clean and Dirty Politicsof Guantánamo’. in: Andrew Knapp, Hilary Footitt (eds) Liberal Democracies at War: Conflict and Representation. Bloomsbury Academic, pp. 89-112
  5. Van Veeren, ES, 2011, ‘Captured by the camera's eye: Guantánamo and the shifting frame of the Global War on Terror’. Review of International Studies, vol 37., pp. 1721?1749
  6. Van Veeren, ES, 2011, ‘Guantánamo does not exist: Simulation and the production of ‘the real’ Global War on Terror’. Journal of War and Culture Studies, vol 4., pp. 193?206
  7. Van Veeren, ES, 2009, ‘Interrogating 24: Making Sense of US Counter-terrorism in the Global War on Terrorism’. New Political Science, vol 31., pp. 361-384

Full publications list in the University of Bristol publications system

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