I am currently Associate Professor of International Relations at the University of Reading.  In 2024/25 I have a Leverhulme Research Fellowship

I have also been a Stanton Fellow in MIT's Security Studies Program, taught at Seton Hall's School of Diplomacy and at Brown University, and received a PhD in Political Science from George Washington University.   

I study international norm dynamics, including norms surrounding war, the proliferation of nuclear weapons, and human rights.  I am also interested in how we can establish motives, intentions, or reasons for action in international relations.

My research has been supported by the Leverhulme Trust, the Stanton Foundation, the American Philosophical Society, the Josephine de Karman Fellowship Trust, and the Loughran Foundation.  



My book Denying the Spoils of War: The Politics of Invasion and Nonrecognition (Edinburgh University Press, 2018, now in paperback) asks why states refuse to recognize the spoils of war.  I conducted archival research into US and UK decision-makers’ reasoning behind their policy towards the validity of the results of the use of force in four cases; the Japanese conquest of Manchuria in 1931-33, the Italian conquest of Ethiopia in 1935, the Indian invasion of East Pakistan in 1971, and the Turkish invasion of Cyprus in 1974. The cases reveal that nonrecognition was aimed at maintaining the rule against aggression by re-establishing the joint commitment of all states to the rule. 

British Colonialism and the Criminalization of Homosexuality (Routledge Focus, 2018, also now in paperback) examines whether colonial rule is responsible for the historical, and continuing, criminalization of same-sex sexual relations in many parts of the world.  Enze Han and I gather and assess historical evidence to demonstrate the different ways in which the British empire spread laws criminalizing homosexual conduct amongst its colonies. Evidence includes case studies of former British colonies and the common law and criminal codes like the Indian Penal Code of 1860 and the Queensland Criminal Code of 1899. A dataset of 185 countries is used for systematic data analysis to test the book’s claims. 


2024. "The Ripple Effects of the Illegitimacy of War", International Studies Quarterly, forthcoming.

2022. "NPT as an antifragile system: How contestation improves the nonproliferation regime", Contemporary Security Policy.  (with Michal Smetana) Open Access.

2021.  "A Practical Introduction to Annotating for Transparent Inquiry in Qualitative Research", Qualitative and Multi-Method Research, 19(1): 19-23.  

2020. “The Smiling Buddha Effect: Canadian and US Policy after India’s 1974 Nuclear Test”, The Nonproliferation Review, 27(1-3), 161-179

2017. ""Proclaiming Principles: The Logic of the Nonrecognition of the Spoils of War", Journal of Global Security Studies, 2(3): 204-219.  

2017. "Making The Real: Rhetorical Adduction and the Bangladesh Liberation War'', International Organization, 71(2): 317-348.  

2015. "Why Did They Do That?: The Methodology of Reasons for Action", International Theory, 7(2): 231-262.

2014. "Rule Tensions and the Dynamics of Institutional Change: From `To the Victor Go the Spoils' to the Stimson Doctrine", European Journal of International Relations, 20(3): 834-857.

2014. "External Kin, Economic Disparity, and Minority Ethnic Group Mobilization," Conflict Management & Peace Science, 31(1): 49-69. (with Enze Han and Christopher Paik)

2014. "British Colonialism and the Criminalization of Homosexuality," Cambridge Review of International Affairs, 27(2): 268-288. (With Enze Han)

2010. "The Conduct of Inquiry in International Relations: The View From Graduate School," Qualitative & Multi-Method Research, 8 (Spring), (with David E. Banks). 


2022. "Why the world can't afford to let Russia get away with its land grab: lessons from history", The Conversation, 13 October 2022.

2021. "The Criminalization of Homosexuality in Colonial History", Reading Gender History Blog, 17 June 2021.

2019.  "Nuclear powers once shared their technology openly – how Iran’s programme fell on the wrong side of history", The Conversation, 4 October 2019.

2019. "What will Taiwan’s same-sex marriages mean in the rest of Asia?", Monkey Cage at The Washington Post, 25 May 2019.

2019. "Is US withdrawal from the INF treaty a good idea? Or is it merely Trumpian pique?", Monroe Group Blog, University of Reading, 17 January 2019.

2017. "Trump says that spoils belong to the victor. That’s an invitation to more war", Monkey Cage at The Washington Post, 1 February 2017.

2016. "A Liar in the Oval Office Could Threaten the World's Order", Time, (with David Banks) 17 November 2016.

2016. "After Brexit, Britain is free – but it will never be a global power again'', The Independent, (with David Banks) 22 July 2016.

2014. "The British Colonial Origins of Anti-Gay Laws", Monkey Cage at The Washington Post, (With Enze Han) 30 October 2014.

2014. "China's 1989 Choice: The Paradox of Seeking Wealth and Democracy," Wilson Quarterly, Summer 2014. (With Zheng Wang)