PhD (Internal) – University of Copenhagen

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Dean Cooper-Cunningham

Dean Cooper-Cunningham

PhD Student

Dean Cooper-Cunningham is a Ph.D. Fellow at the University of Copenhagen working on International Relations Theory and Security Studies, with particular emphasis on poststructuralism, gender, and sexuality. Working under the supervision of Professor Lene Hansen, he is researching the use of alternative communicative acts, primarily visuals, by marginalised individuals/groups as a means of constructing and contesting security. 

He has been an associate articles editor at E-International Relations since 2015.

He was shortlisted for the Millennium: Journal of International Studies Northedge Prize in 2017.

Current research

My current research focuses on how gender, sexuality, and international relations intersect. Taking a predominantly visual approach, I explore the articulation of (in)security by means of communication beyond the Speech Act. My focus is predominantly on the politics of women's and LGBTQ+ movements. 

My Ph.D. project focuses on the articulation of (in)security by LGBTQ+ individuals and groups, and their construction as threats by government and societal actors in Russia, the USA, and an undetermined 'third' case. It looks at how LGBTQ+ bodies have been constructed as dangers to society and politics because of their ‘difference’.

In particular, I look at how images contribute to and dispute this construction of difference as danger, and how the body has been used as a canvas for protest and resistance, through and upon which politics is played out. Specifically, I look at how alternative methods of 'speaking' security are adopted by marginalised individuals, opening up new spaces and direction for security scholarship. 

Ultimately, the PhD project is about understanding how certain bodies are made ‘different’ and dangerous across cultures, societies, and time. It also has a normative value, such that in the process of my research I may be able to identify ways of dialling back these constructions of dangerous difference, which has become increasingly important in light of the greater acceptance of racist, gendered, and queerphobic language of late. 

Primary fields of research

  • Constructivism
  • Post-structuralism
  • Critical security studies
  • Visual politics
  • Gender
  • Political self-sacrifice
  • Feminism
  • Queer Theory
  • Social Movements

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