Dr Jack Holland
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: 17 AC 05
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 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
My research is on US, British and Australian foreign and security policy. I am interested in critical (primarily constructivist) approaches in IR. My work explores the role of language, identity, popular culture, domestic politics and strategic agency in the foreign policy process. At present, my research falls into five related themes: foreign policy, the ‘War on Terror’, ‘9/11’, popular culture, and intervention.
A) Theorising Foreign Policy: Cultural Embeddedness and Political Possibility
My research attempts two analytical moves, conceptualising foreign policy as culturally embedded discourse and theorising the relationship between foreign policy and political possibility.
Outputs and findings:
- In ‘Foreign Policy and Political Possibility’, published in the European Journal of International Relations, I argue that the political possibility of foreign policy is contingent upon its construction in thinkable, resonant and ultimately dominant terms. This article revisits, and weaves together, the work of Roxanne Doty, Michael Barnett and Ronald Krebs.
- In my monograph, Selling the War on Terror, I argue that foreign policy can be conceptualised as culturally embedded discourse. Analysing foreign policy as discourse enables two important things. First, it enables foreign policy to be denaturalised and contested. And second, it enables heterogeneity to be revealed within a coalition. Recognising that foreign policy is also culturally embedded enables these differences to be understood relative to distinct domestic contexts.
- Increasingly, I am drawing these two strands together to reveal the relationship of political (im)possibility to the cultural (dis)embeddedness of foreign policy discourse.
B) American, British and Australian Foreign Policy during the ‘War on Terror’.
Understanding the ‘War on Terror’ and the Coalition of the Willing has been at the heart of my research since completing my doctorate. I argue that the heterogeneity in the coalition has been frequently and incorrectly overlooked. This is important because distinct and divergent foreign policy discourse helped to make the ‘War on Terror’ possible in different contexts.
Outputs and Findings:
- In ‘Blair’s War on Terror’, published in the British Journal of Politics and International Relations, I argue that narratives of rationality, leadership and international community were central to selling the British case for intervention in Afghanistan and Iraq.
- In ‘Howard’s War on Terror’, published in the Australian Journal of Political Science, I argue that narratives of mateship, sacrifice and shared values were central to selling the Australian case for intervention in Afghanistan and Iraq.
- Our forthcoming edited book, Obama’s Foreign Policy; Ending the War on Terror, explores the reasons for continuity in American foreign policy, from Bush to Obama, through a range of competing theoretical approaches.
C) The Events of September 11th, 2001, and the Construction of ‘9/11’
My research into the events of September 11th and ‘9/11’ has attempted three things. First, to better understand the experience of the events for ordinary Americans. Second, to understand and contest dominant framings of ‘9/11’ by politicians and practitioners. And third, to understand the continued resonance of dominant framings through their relationship to the lived experience of the day.
Outputs and findings:
- In ‘From September 11th, 2001, to 9/11: From Void to Crisis’, published in International Political Sociology, I retrace the experience of events for ordinary Americans. I argue that an immediate sense of shock and rupture must be understood against a unique American context and that this experience was incorporated within the subsequent framings of the Bush Administration.
- In a forthcoming article, I explore the role of affect and emotion in the experience and construction of 9/11. I argue that, in moments of crisis and trauma, the state retains an important ability to articulate affect as emotion through foreign policy discourse.
- In a forthcoming article with Lee Jarvis, we explore the issue of time and 9/11, analysing the continued resonance and dominance of official framings of 9/11. We attempt to connect the experience, construction and memory of 9/11, considering the political implications of an enduring official framing.
D) Popular Culture and the Construction of Politics, Terrorism and Intervention
Having started my research on the ‘War on Terror’ by focusing on the language of elected representatives and the experiences of ordinary Americans, I have more recently turned to consider the role of the media and popular culture. I have commenced this area of research by focusing on the role of television’s The West Wing in the construction of politics, terrorism and intervention.
Outputs and findings:
- In ‘Teaching Americans 9/11’, published in Millennium Journal of International Studies, I argue that The West Wing actively taught Americans how to think about September 11th, the nature of the terrorist threat and the appropriate foreign policy response. In all of these areas, the television show reinforced the message of the Bush Administration, further narrowing the space for debate.
- In ‘Screening Terror on the West Wing’, published in Screening the War on Terror (edited by Phil Hammond), I extend the findings of my earlier paper to consider the role The West Wing played in framing terrorism and counter-terrorism before, during and after 9/11. The chapter illustrates that the show closely followed and contributed to the political context in which it was written, produced and aired.
- In two forthcoming articles, I analyse the ability of students to develop (critical evaluative) visual literacy skills through exposure to and discussion of film and fictional television, such as the West Wing.
E) Theorising intervention(ism)
My work attempting to theorise intervention(ism) adopts a critical approach. These efforts are tied to the new Centre for international intervention (Cii), directed by Sir Michael Aaronson and Professor Marie Breen-Smyth at the University of Surrey, and will lead to two new research projects exploring: foreign policy traditions in the United States and Australia; and framings of the Arab Spring.
- The Centre for international intervention at Surrey attempts to reclaim the term ‘international intervention’ from dominant, militaristic connotations. This project involves the critique of intervention(ism) to open space for the possibility of alternative forms of intervention and non-intervention.
- In order to place more recent military interventions in their historical and cultural context, my next major research project will consider particular and enabling foreign policy traditions in the United States and Australia. By focusing on key historical moments of (inter)national crisis and trauma, this project will explore how American Jacksonianism and Australian Traditionalism have helped to enable intervention in the past, in order to better understand the ongoing possibility of coalition cooperation in the future.
- A second future research project will explore elite British and American framings of the Arab Spring. This project will help us to understand the interventions and non-interventions of the Arab Spring. The project will consider: transatlantic convergence and divergence; the discursive framing of selectivity of response (e.g. differences in the framing of Libya and Syria); and the political implications of particular frames.
Many of the works discussed above are linked and/or available on my Publications page.
- Obama’s Foreign Policy: Ending the War on Terror, edited with Michelle Bentley, (Routledge, US Foreign Policy Series, 2013)
- Security: A Critical Introduction, with Lee Jarvis and Oz Hassan, (Palgrave, 2013)
- Selling the War on Terror: Foreign Policy Discourses after 9/11, (Routledge, Critical Terrorism Studies Series, 2012)
- ‘Video Use and the Student Learning Experience in Politics and International Relations’, Politics, (forthcoming)
- ‘Foreign Policy and Political Possibility’, European Journal of International Relations, 19:1 (2013) pp.48-67
- ‘Blair’s ‘War on Terror’: Selling Intervention to Middle England’, British Journal of Politics and International Relations, 14:1 (2012) pp.74-95
- ‘When you think of the Taleban, think of the Nazis: Teaching Americans ‘9-11’ in NBC’s the West Wing’, Millennium Journal of International Studies, 40:1 (2011) pp.85-106
- ‘Howard’s ‘War on Terror’: A Conceivable, Communicable and Coercive Foreign Policy Discourse’, Australian Journal of Political Science, 45:4 (2010) pp.643-661
- ‘From September 11th 2001 to 9-11: From Void to Crisis’, International Political Sociology, 3:3 (2009) pp.275-292
- ‘Emotional Crisis: Affect, Discourse and the Role of the State’, in Emotions and International Relations, edited by Linda Ahall and Tom Gregory, (Routledge, Interventions Series, 2013)
- ‘Obama’s War on Terror: Why is change so hard?’, in Obama’s Foreign Policy: Ending the War on Terror, edited by Jack Holland and Michelle Bentley, (Routledge, US Foreign Policy Series, 2013)
- ‘Conceptualising Change and Continuity in US Foreign Policy’, with Michelle Bentley, in Obama’s Foreign Policy: Ending the War on Terror, edited by Jack Holland and Michelle Bentley, (Routledge, US Foreign Policy Series, 2013)
- ‘The Elusive Essence of Evil’, in Pisoiu, D. (ed.) Arguing Counter-Terrorism, (London: Routledge, 2013)
- ‘Screening Terror on the West Wing’, in Hammond, P. (ed.) Screens of Terror: Representations of War and Terrorism in Film and Television since 9/11 (Bury: Abramis, 2011)
- ‘Australian Identity, Interventionism and the “War on Terror”’, with McDonald, M., in Siniver, A. (ed.), International Terrorism Post 9/11: Comparative Dynamics and Responses, (London: Routledge, 2010)
- ‘Shocked and Awed: How The War on Terror and Jihad Have Changed the English Language, by Fred Halliday’, Critical Studies on Terrorism, 4:2 (2011) pp.293-295
Future Journal Articles:
- ‘“Night Fell on a Different World”: Experiencing, Constructing and Remembering 9/11’, with Lee Jarvis, under review
- ‘Dominance through Coercion: Rhetorical Balancing and the Tactics of Justification in Afghanistan and Libya’, with Mike Aaronson, under review
- ‘Affect is What States Make of it’, being revised
- ‘Blair’s Ghost or the Spectre of Strategic Culture’, with Laura Chappell, to be presented at 2013 BISA annual conference
- ‘We (For)got Him: Osama bin Laden’s Death and the Obama Administration’, with Lee Jarvis, to be presented at ISA annual conference, April 2013
- ‘Teaching Visual Literacy in International Relations: Watching The West Wing Critically’, in progress
- ‘“Sexism and Misogyny”: Julia Gillard, Gender and Australian Political Culture’, with Katharine Wright, very early stages
I am also a regular contributor to several blogs, such as: E-IR, Surrey Politics, Cii, and Active Learning in Political Science. Relevant examples include this 2012 post on the review of PREVENT and British counter-terrorism strategy (CONTEST), and this post on the killing of Osama bin Laden in May 2011.
I currently teach and lead a variety of modules for first, second and third year undergraduate, as well as postgraduate students:
- ‘Introduction to International Relations’ (first year)
- ‘Security Studies’ (second year)
- ‘American Foreign Policy’ (third year)
- ‘Applied Political Skills’ (all years)
- ‘American Foreign Policy’ (postgraduate)
I am also currently supervising 6 BA, 1 MA and 3 PhD students (one of whom, Ciaran Gillespie, has his research details here). And, at the start of 2013, I examined Dr John Turner‘s excellent thesis and viva.
For 2013-14 and 2014-15, I have two new modules in development:
- ‘Narratives of Terror’ (second year), which will be a new interdisciplinary module, co-taught with a colleague in the School of English
- ‘Security Studies’ (postgraduate), which will be based around the questions posed in my new co-authored textbook (see publications). This will be a core module for a new MSc in Terrorism and Security.
Previously, at Surrey, I have taught:
- ‘Introduction to Politics and International Relations’ (first year)
- ‘Contemporary International History’ (first year)
- ‘Ideas and Identity in the War on Terror’ (second year)
- ‘Negotiating Politics’ (third year)
- ‘Key Issues in International Politics’ (postgraduate)
- ‘International Relations Theories’ (postgraduate)
- … as well as continuing to contribute lectures to other modules such as Research Skills.
I have also previously taught at the Universities of Leeds and Warwick, covering topics such as IR Theory, US Foreign Policy and Foreign Policy Analysis, amongst many others.
My administrative duties include:
- Student Advisor in the Politics Department, responsible for student advice on academic and pastoral issues.
- Faculty International Officer
- Newsletter Editor in Politics
- From September 2013 I will be Director of External Relations
- I regularly review for numerous top-ranking journals, publishers, and research councils, and am a member of the editorial board for the journal Critical Studies on Terrorism