Dr Jack Holland

Senior Lecturer in International Relations

Qualifications: PhD Politics and International Studies, University of Warwick; MA Political Science, University of Birmingham; BA Geography, University of Cambridge

Phone: Work: 01483 68 3169
Room no: 07 AC 05

Further information


I joined the Department in September 2010, after working as Lecturer in International Relations at the University of Leeds and completing my PhD at the University of Warwick. My research has previously been funded by the ESRC, AHRC and EU, and in 2008 I worked as a British Research Council Fellow at the Library of Congress in Washington DC.

For more information please visit my website: drjackholland.com

Research Interests

My research is on US, UK and Australian foreign and security policy. I am interested in critical (primarily constructivist) approaches.  My work explores the role of language, identity, culture, politics and agency in foreign and security policy. I frequently work on issues surrounding the War on Terror and military intervention.


Journal articles

  • Holland J, Jarvis L. (2014) '“Night Fell on a Different World”: Experiencing, Constructing and Remembering 9/11'. Critical Studies on Terrorism,
  • Jarvis L, Holland J. (2014) '‘We (For)got Him': Remembering and Forgetting in the Narration of bin Laden’s Death'. Millennium Journal of International Studies,
    [ Status: Accepted ]
  • Holland J, Aaronson M. (2014) 'Dominance through Coercion: Strategic Rhetorical Balancing and the Tactics of Justification in Afghanistan and Libya'. Journal of Intervention and Statebuilding,
  • Holland J. (2013) 'Video Use and the Student Learning Experience in Politics and International Relations'. Politics,
  • Holland J. (2013) 'Foreign Policy and Political Possibility'. Sage Publications European Journal of International Relations,


    This article explores the relationship between foreign policy and political possibility in two parts. First, the relationship between foreign policy and political possibility is theorized around three analytical moments: political possibility is linked to the framing of conceivable, communicable and coercive foreign policy. Second, this framework is developed and demonstrated through a brief analysis of Coalition foreign policy in the War on Terror, considering American, British and Australian foreign policy between 2001 and 2003. This analysis dissects distinct and divergent Coalition foreign policies through a linked three-part conceptualization of political possibility. It enables an understanding of how the War on Terror was rendered possible through the construction of foreign policy in thinkable, resonant and ultimately dominant terms. The article concludes by looking to the wider analytical applicability of this particular theorization of the relationship between foreign policy and political possibility.

  • Holland J. (2012) 'Blair's War on Terror: Selling Intervention to Middle England'. Blackwell Publishing British Journal of Politics and International Relations, 14 (1), pp. 74-95.


    In December 2009 Tony Blair indicated that he would have pursued a policy of intervention in Iraq regardless of Saddam Hussein's possession of weapons of mass destruction. In this situation he would merely have had to employ alternative arguments. Such a statement should come as little surprise. Blair's language throughout his prime ministership was highly strategic; it was framed to achieve support from his primary target audience, ‘Middle England’. Two key tropes—rationality and leadership—were repeatedly deployed in order to sell Blair's wars to the British public. This article demonstrates how Blair's strategically framed language was politically enabling in three analytical moments, helping to craft a conceivable, coercive and communicable British foreign policy discourse.

  • Holland J. (2011) ''When you think of the Taleban, think of the Nazis': Teaching Americans '9-11' in NBC's the West Wing'. Sage Publications Millennium Journal of International Studies, 40 (1), pp. 85-106.


    Only three weeks after the events of 11 September 2001 (hereafter 9/11), Aaron Sorkin’s The West Wing delivered a special one-off episode, outside of usual storylines. The episode, titled ‘Isaac and Ishmael’, is interesting because it adopts an explicitly pedagogical theme to teach viewers how to think about the events of 9/11. The episode can thus be read as an instance in the wider construction of the meaning of those events. In this respect, this article argues that the production of the episode contributed to notions of rupture and exceptionalism. In addition, despite the potentially ‘liberal’ and ‘academic’ lessons given by the show’s stars, the extensive contextualisation of the previously incomprehensible events for a dominantly American audience actually relayed, amplified and reinforced the emerging dominant discourses of the Bush Administration. Accepting and repeating official tropes, The West Wing ultimately served to further limit space for debate in the wake of 9/11.

  • Holland J. (2011) 'Review of "Shocked and awed: How the war on terror and Jihad have changed the English language" by Fred Halliday, I.B. Tauris, 2010, 360 pp. ISBN 978-1-84-8850316'. Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group Critical Studies on Terrorism, 4 (2), pp. 293-306.
  • Holland J. (2010) 'Howard's War on Terror: A Conceivable, Communicable and Coercive Foreign Policy Discourse'. Routledge, Taylor & Francis Australian Journal of Political Science, 45 (4) Article number PII 929443380 , pp. 643-661.


    This article explores the relationship between language and political possibility. It is argued that John Howard’s language from 11 September 2001 to mid 2003 helped to enable the ‘War on Terror’ in an Australian context in three principal ways. Firstly, through contingent and contestable constructions of Australia, the world and their relationship, Howard’s language made interventionism conceivable. Secondly, emphasising shared values, mateship and mutual sacrifice in war, Howard embedded his foreign policy discourse in the cultural terrain of ‘mainstream Australia’, specifically framing a foreign policy discourse that was communicable to ‘battlers’ and disillusioned ‘Hansonites’. Thirdly, positioning alternatives as ‘un-Australian’, Howard’s language was particularly coercive, silencing potential oppositional voices.

  • Holland J. (2009) 'From September 11th 2001 to 9-11: From Void to Crisis'. International Political Sociology, 3 (3), pp. 275-292.


    This paper draws on interviews conducted in the days and weeks after the events of September 11th, 2001, analyzing the transition from “September 11th, 2001” to “9-11.” That is, from the discursive void that immediately followed the acts of terrorism in New York, Virginia and Pennsylvania to the apparently self-evident crisis that the events came to represent in the following days and weeks. First, the paper redresses persistent oversights of discourse-oriented work by recognizing and investigating both the agency of the US general public and the context that official responses were articulated in. Second, the paper serves to denaturalize the construction of 9-11 as crisis, questioning the first and pre-requisite stage of the emerging discourse of the “War on Terror.” Theorizing void, crisis and their relationship enables an understanding of how the War on Terror was possible and opens a critical space for its contestation.


  • Holland J, Jarvis L. (2014) Security: A Critical Introduction. Palgrave
  • Bentley M, Holland J. (2014) Obama's Foreign Policy: Ending the War on Terror. Routledge, Taylor and Francis
  • Holland J. (2013) Selling the War on Terror: Foreign Policy Discourses after 9/11. Routledge, Taylor & Francis

Book chapters

  • Holland J. (2014) 'Constructing Crises and Articulating Affect after 9/11'. in Ahall L, Gregory T (eds.) Emotions, Politics and War
    [ Status: Submitted ]
  • Holland J. (2014) 'The Elusive Essence of Evil: Constructing Otherness in the Coalition of the Willing'. in Pisoiu D (ed.) Arguing Counter-Terrorism. New Perspectives. Routledge, Taylor & Francis Article number 9


    This chapter considers the construction of the terrorist Other, in relation to the fractured Self of the Coalition of the Willing. Despite mutual appeals to the essential evil-ness of enemies during the War on Terror, analyzing the discursive construction of threat and Otherness reveals that divergent understandings of Self-identity inevitably impacted upon a heterogeneous construction of Osama bin Laden’s Al Qaeda and Mullah Omar’s Taliban, as well as Saddam Hussein’s Ba’ath Party. In making this argument the chapter analyzes speeches from political leaders in the United States, Britain and Australia shortly after the events of September 11th, 2001.

  • Holland J, Bentley M. (2013) 'Conclusion: Conceptualising Change and Continuity in US Foreign Policy'. in Bentley M, Holland J (eds.) Obama's Foreign Policy: Ending the War on Terror Routledge, Taylor & Francis
  • Holland J. (2013) 'Introduction: Continuity in American foreign policy from Bush to Obama'. in Bentley M, Holland J (eds.) Obama's Foreign Policy: Ending the War on Terror Routledge, Taylor & Francis
  • Holland J. (2011) 'Screening Terror on the West Wing'. in Hammond P (ed.) Screens of Terror: Representations of War and Terrorism in Film and Television after 9/11 Bury : Arima Publishing


    This chapter situates a special stand-alone episode of The West Wing ‘Isaac and Ishmael’, within the broader context of the emerging ‘War on Terror’, arguing that the show played an important role in communicating terrorism for the American public and in narrowing the space for debate in the wake of 9/11. To make this argument, the episode is analysed through a discourse analysis as part of the evolving approach to the screening of terror adopted in The West Wing. It is argued that The West Wing’s approach to screening terror responded to the context of the moment before during and after the events of September 11th. This response equated to a worrying reinforcement of dominant discourses. To demonstrate this reinforcement and its impact, the chapter is organised in three sections. First, the changing context of terror and American politics, in which The West Wing aired and evolved, is set out. Second, the chapter pivots around the date of September 11th 2001 to examine the portrayal of terrorism in The West Wing before, during and after the tumultuous moment of September 11th 2001. And third, the chapter reflects on the narrowing of debates performed by screenings of terror in The West Wing through a consideration of the role of television in the production of political (im)possibility.

  • Holland J, McDonald M. (2010) 'Australian Identity, Interventionism and the War on Terror'. in Siniver A (ed.) International terrorism post-9/11. Comparative Dynamics and Responses Abingdon : Routledge, Taylor & Francis Article number 11 , pp. 184-206.


I currently teach:

  • ‘Introduction to International Relations’ (first year)
  • ‘Security Studies’ (second year)
  • ‘American Foreign Policy’ (third year)
  • ‘Critical Terrorism and Security Studies’ (postgraduate)
  • ‘American Foreign Policy’ (postgraduate)

I supervise 4 PhD students.

My current admin role is Director of External Relations.

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