Jenny Edkins

Jenny Edkins

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Overview

Jenny Edkins' most recent publication is a co-edited volume with Policy Press (2023), When This Is Over: Reflections on an Unequal Pandemic, which takes stock of the inequalities, injustices and tensions of the UK's pandemic politics. Her piece 'Did we really think we'd moved on from Covid?' in the blog Transforming Society draws on and develops one of the arguments of this volume.

She is currently working on the fourth edition of the successful textbook, Global Politics: A New Introduction, co-edited with Maja Zehfuss and Tom Gregory, due to be published in 2025. Other recent books include: the Routledge Handbook of Critical International Relations; her sixth monograph, Change and the Politics of Certainty (Manchester University Press, 2019), available on open access; and a collection of essays, images and poems from scholars, artists and activists entitled After Grenfell: Violence, Resistance and Response (Pluto Press, 2019), co-edited with Dan Bulley and Nadine El-Enany and first reviewed here

She has published twelve other books, including five more monographs: Face Politics (Routledge, 2015); Missing: Persons and Politics (Cornell, 2011); Trauma and the Memory of Politics (Cambridge, 2003); Whose Hunger: Concepts of Famine, Practices of Aid (Minnesota, 2008); and Poststructuralism and International Relations (Lynne Rienner, 1999). 

In addition to her academic work, she is a published poet. Her first poem, 'As it turned out' appeared in Planet Magazine (235) to mark thirty years since the fall of the Berlin Wall, and others have appeared in Acumen, Contexto Internacional, Journal of Narrative Politics, Ink Sweat & Tears, Mobius: The Journal of Social Change, and Notes and Records among others. She has written about the poetry of witness in The Sociological Review.

Her focus, aside from her own research, is on collaborative ventures that make space for innovative approaches and bring together those engaged in developing them, including most recently the Gregynog Ideas Lab; the highly-regarded Routledge book series Interventions; and the Journal of Narrative PoliticsShe has contributed to NGO and UK government policy discussions on famine, emergency and missing people. In 2013, she talked about her work in an interview with Stuart Elden. The collaborative work with activists, poets, photographers and academics that led to After Grenfell was particularly challenging and productive.

Biography

Prior to joining the University of Manchester, Jenny taught at Aberystwyth University and the Open University. Her original first degree at the University of Oxford was in physics, with specialisms in nuclear and solid state physics. Between 1985 and 1993 she studied for a second first degree at the Open University, this time in the social sciences, and the courses she took there with Stuart Hall continue to inspire her work. She obtained her PhD from the University of Wales, Aberystwyth in 1997, and her first academic post was a one-year temporary lectureship at the University of Manchester. In 1997, she joined the Department of International Politics at Aberystywth University with a Leverhulme Special Research Fellowship. She was appointed to a personal chair in Aberystwyth in 2004. With colleagues at Aberystwyth, she established and taught the MA Postcolonial Politics from 1999-2016 and the MA Politics, Media and Performance from 2013-2018, and co-founded an Interdisciplinary Research Centre, Performance and Politics international. She left to return to the University of Manchester in 2018. She was awarded the British International Studies Association Distinguished Contribution Prize in 2021.

Research interests

Jenny Edkins' research interests revolve around questions of personhood, politics and justice in a postcolonial world. She has examined these questions through empirical investigations in a series of contexts such as: 

  • Missing persons and enforced disappearance
  • Forensic investigations
  • Trauma, memory and resistance
  • Famine aid 
  • Humanitarian intervention
  • Facial recognition, expression and disfigurement
  • Disaster politics and inequality

She is interested in autoethography, autobiography, poetry and narrative methods. Her work has drawn on postcolonialism (Fanon), Marxism, psychoanalytic approaches (Žižek, Lacan) and feminism (Butler) alongside others.

Doctoral supervision
Jenny Edkins is an experienced supervisor. She has seen 27 doctoral candidates through to successful completion and examined a similar number. Her areas of supervision are wide-ranging, as the list of her supervisions attests:

In progress (Manchester)

Nicholas Gribble “Violent Bodies: How Wounded, Dismembered, and Destroyed Bodies Produce the Social in Sierra Leone." University of Manchester Studentship 2021-

Zeenat Sabur “War, Law, and Narrative: A Facilitation of Permissive Legal Interpretation” ESRC 1+3 Studentship 2021-

Trishauna Stewart "Pyro-spectral Migration Politics: Reproducing Caribbean diasporas in the post-independence era." Stuart Hall Studentship 2022-

Completed (Manchester)

Dr Marcelle Trote Martins “To intervene or not to intervene? How wounded bodies affected the international decision to intervene in East Timor.”

Completed (Aberystwyth)

Dr Danielle House “In Search of Presence: Disappearance and Memory in Mexico”
Dr Lydia Cole “Framing Gender-based Violence and the Production of the ‘Victim-Subject’ in Bosnia and Herzegovina”
Dr Yvonne Rinkart, “The Production of Airport Space: Times, Spaces and Bodies of International Aviation”
Dr Chyatat Supachalasai “Theorising the Politics of Survivors: Memory, Trauma, and Subjectivity in International Politics”
Dr Ira Blaitka; “Borders and Difference: The Politics of Delineating Europe”
Dr Catherine Charrett “A performance in politics : Hamas and the EU through the 2006 Palestinian Legislative Elections”
Dr Gillian McFadyen. “Britain’s Refugees: The persecution criteria.”
Dr Reiko Shindo: “Re-thinking State Boundaries:  Translation and Language.”
Dr Megan Daigle: “Sexuality, the Discourse of Prostitution and Governance of Bodies in Post-Soviet Cuba.”
Professor Charlotte Heath-Kelly: “Killing in the Name: Searching for ‘the Political’ in Political Violence.”
Dr Madeleine Fagan, “Poststructuralist notions of responsibility: implications for practical politics.”
Dr Laura Guillaume, “War on the body: dramatising the space of the unknown.”
Dr Owain Llyr ap Gareth, “Welshing on postcolonialism: complicity and resistance in the construction of Welsh identities.”
Dr Tom Lundborg, “Encountering the "event" in international politics: Gilles Deleuze, "9/11", and the politics of the virtual.”
Dr Hwang Yih-jye (Jay), “The birth of the "Taiwanese": a discursive constitution of the Taiwanese as a national identity.”
Dr Marie Suetsugu, “Dividing practices and the subject of development.”
Professor Nick Vaughan-Williams, “Borders and international relations: the politics of framing.”
Professor Stig Jarle Hansen, “Ethiopian decision-making and the war with Eritrea”
Dr Karen Karapetyan: “The state of the spectacle: a post-anarchist investigation of the problem of state reification.”
Dr Priscilla Netto: “Politics of vision: towards an understanding of the practices of the visible and invisible.”
Dr David Smith: “Lacan at war : psychoanalysis and combat motivation.”
Professor Annick Wibben, “Security Narratives in International Relations and the Events of September 11, 2001: A Feminist Study.”
Dr Huw Evans: “The production of Mexican space : Henri Lefebvre, globalization and state.”
Dr Nicholas Dennis: “Widening community: Racism and the constitution of British humanitarian discourse.”
Dr Richard Morton:  “NATO reconstituted: a discursive reading of the possibility of NATO enlargement.”
Professor Maja Zehfuss, “Constructivist theories in international relations and German military involvement abroad.”

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 1 - No Poverty
  • SDG 2 - Zero Hunger
  • SDG 5 - Gender Equality
  • SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

External positions

Athro Emeritws/Emeritus Professor, Aberystwyth University

25 Nov 2021 → …

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