Dr Ellis Mallett

PhD Politics (University of Surrey); MA Diplomacy & Foreign Policy (Lancaster University); BA (Hons) History & International Politics (MMU)


My research project

University roles and responsibilities

  • Research Assistant, Centre for Britain and Europe
  • Junior Fellow, Centre for International Intervention
  • PGR Seminars & Events Lead 2020/21
  • Postgraduate Research Representative for the Department of Politics 2020/21

    My qualifications

    Graduate Certificate in Learning and Teaching
    University of Surrey
    MA Diplomacy & Foreign Policy
    Lancaster University, Distinction
    BA (Hons) International Politics with History
    Manchester Metropolitan University, 2.1

    Affiliations and memberships

    British International Studies Association


    Research interests

    Research projects

    Indicators of esteem

    • Santander PhD Mobility Award (£2000 travel grant), University of Surrey

    • Doctoral College Studentship Award, University of Surrey

    • Mahindra Naraine Memorial Prize for best overall performance in MA Politics and International Relations, Lancaster University




    Ellis Mallett, Nicholas Kitchen (2023)Neoclassical realism, policy paradigms and strategic change: understanding the US rapprochement to Cuba, In: International relations (London) SAGE Publications

    Why do particular foreign policy strategies persist even when they fail to achieve their objectives? And how do such policies eventually come to change? Incorporating policy paradigms as a unifying unit-level intervening variable within a Type II neoclassical realist framework, we account for extended periods of foreign policy continuity despite ongoing policy failure, and theorise the structural conditions necessary to override intervening paradigmatic imperatives. The article illustrates the argument through an analysis of the ‘Obama thaw’, after 50 years of hostile policy towards Havana. Drawing on interviews with key officials, we show that emerging structural pressures in the Western hemisphere brought about the administration’s decision to normalise relations with Cuba.

    Ellis Robyn Mallett, Thomas Juneau (2023)A Neoclassical Realist Theory of Overbalancing, In: Global Studies Quarterly3(2)ksad023 Oxford University Press

    Why do states overestimate threats and, as a result, mount disproportionately strong and therefore costly balancing responses? To answer this question, we build a neoclassical realist theory of overbalancing to argue that unit-level intervening variables help generate a counterforce greater than what a structurally induced ideal response would call for. We identify the factors and conditions that steer states to deviate from realist, optimal policies, pinpoint the consequences of such suboptimal behavior , and provide policymakers with recommendations more suited to an interest-driven foreign policy in line with power considerations. We apply our theory to two distinct case studies: Egypt's costly intervention in Yemen in the 1960s and the American overreaction to the real, but very limited, threat posed by terrorism since 2001.