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University of Cambridge Centre for Gender Studies




Dr Lauren Wilcox

Centre Director, University of Cambridge Centre for Gender Studies

Associate Professor of Gender Studies  

Fellow, Selwyn College

The Alison Richard Building
7 West Road

Email: lw487 at

Dr Lauren Wilcox



  • Ph.D. Political Science, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN, USA.
  • MSc International Relations, London School of Economics and Political Science.
  • BA International Studies and Political Science, Macalester College, St. Paul, MN, USA.

Research Interests

My 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.  I'm currently working on a monograph tentatively entitled War Beyond the Human. 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 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. 

My first monograph was "Bodies of Violence: Theorizing Embodied Subjects in International Relations" (OUP, 2015), which addresses such topics as torture, hunger striking and force-feeding at Guantánamo Bay, suicide bombing, airport security screenings and 'drone' warfare. I argue 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, I 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 honored with awards for the Best Book from the Theory Section and the Feminist Theory and Gender Studies Section of the International Studies Association. 



I am interested in supervising PhD students interested in any area of my expertise. 


  • “Politics of the Living Dead: Race and Exceptionalism in the Apocalypse” (With Stefanie Fishel). Forthcoming at Millennium: Journal of International Studies, special issue on Racialized Realities in International Relations.
  • “Drones, Swarms, and Becoming-Insect: Feminist Utopias and Posthuman Politics” forthcoming at Feminist Review, Special issue on Feminist Utopias and Dystopias.
  • “Practicing Gender, Queering Theory,” forthcoming at Review of International Studies. 
  • “Embodying Algorithmic War: Gender, Race, and the Posthuman in Drone Warfare.” Security Dialogue 48:1 (2017), pp. 11–28
  • “Gendered Bodies in Securitized Migration Regimes” in Handbook on Migration and Security. 87-104. Ed. Phillipe Bourbeau. Edward Elgar Publishing, 2017.
  • “Securing Methods, Practicing Critique: A Review of Methods and Critical Security Studies.” International Studies Review, 18 (2016), pp. 702–713.
  • Bodies of Violence: Theorizing Embodied Subjects in International Relations. Oxford University Press (2015)
  • "Explosive Bodies, Bounded States: Abjection and the Embodied Practice of Suicide Bombing. "International Feminist Journal of Politics (2013). Cynthia Enloe Award Honourable Mention.
  • "Machines that Matter: The Politics and Ethics of 'Unnatural' Bodies," in Battlestar Galactica and International Relations Eds Iver Neumann and Nicholas Kiersey. Routledge, 2013.
  • "Dying is Not Permitted: Sovereign Power and Force-Feeding at Guantánamo Bay," in Torture, Democracy and the Human Body. Eds. Shampa Biswas and Zahi Zalloua. 101-128. University of Washington Press, 2011.
  • "Beyond Sex/Gender: The Feminist Body of Security," Politics and Gender 7 (December 2011): 595-600.
  • "Gendering the Cult of the Offensive." Security Studies 18:2 (Summer 2009) pp. 24-40. Reprinted in Gender and International Security, ed. Laura Sjoberg, 61-82. New York: Routledge, 2009.


I'm the course coordinator for the MPhil in Multi-disciplinary Gender Studies and contribute teaching to the Gender Theory and Controversy and Gender and Methodology course, as well as the Text Seminar. I also organize the PhD in Multi-disciplinary Gender Studies seminar. I also lecture on POL 18, Politics and Gender, in Part II of the HSPS Tripos.