Dr Sam Raphael

Senior Lecturer

+44 20 7911 5000 ext 69212
32/38 Wells Street London W1T 3UW

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Politics and International Relations | Department

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I joined the University of Westminster in September 2015, as Senior Lecturer in Politics and International Relations. I previously worked at Kingston University (2008-2015), and before that at the University of Kent. I hold a PhD from King’s College London.

I am interested in two broad and overlapping sets of questions. First, those around state violence and state terrorism, and in particular how the contemporary use of force by the US and its allies is used to underpin the global order and sustain imperial relations. 

Second, I am interested in the intersection between human rights and national security, and in developing new investigative research methodologies in this field in order to shed light on the contours of those covert programmes (such as torture, mass surveillance, counterterrorism cooperation) which operate at the heart of the national security apparatus of liberal democratic states. 

I run The Rendition Project, an ESRC-funded project which works with NGOs and human rights investigators to uncover and understand human rights violations in the “War on Terror”. The project provides an unparalleled picture of the CIA’s torture programme, and has been described by The Guardian as ‘a groundbreaking research project which sheds unprecedented light on one of the most controversial secret operations of recent years’. Findings have been published as open access articles in peer-reviewed journals, and in user-friendly interactives which allow people to understand for themselves how rendition, secret detention and torture were used in the “War on Terror”.

I am keen to supervise doctoral projects in the fields of national security, human rights, US/UK foreign policy, Critical Terrorism Studies, the use of force in international affairs, and energy security.

I am an experienced university lecturer, and have taught at all levels. I currently coordinate, and teach onto, two IR modules: Key Concepts in International Relations (Level 4), which introduces students to the main perspectives and issues in the field of International Relations; and Geopolitics (Level 5), which examines the important intersection between space (geography) and politics.

I am interested in two broad and overlapping sets of questions. First, those around state violence and state terrorism, and in particular how the contemporary use of force by the US and its allies is used to underpin the global order and sustain imperial relations. 

Second, I am interested in the intersection between human rights and national security, and in developing new investigative research methodologies in this field in order to shed light on the contours of those covert programmes (such as torture, mass surveillance, counterterrorism cooperation) which operate at the heart of the national security apparatus of liberal democratic states.

As part of a British Academy-funded project, I am co-author for a range of publications, including a 2010 book (Global Energy Security and American Hegemony, The Johns Hopkins University Press). This work charts how the US has intervened militarily and economically in oil-rich regions of the Global South in order to stabilize oil production and entrench its position as global hegemon, and connects these practices to a range of state-led human rights abuses in these regions.

I also run The Rendition Project, an ESRC-funded project which works with NGOs and human rights investigators to uncover and understand human rights violations in the “War on Terror”. The project provides an unparalleled picture of the CIA’s torture programme, and has been described by The Guardian as ‘a groundbreaking research project which sheds unprecedented light on one of the most controversial secret operations of recent years’. 

2017

Human Rights Fact-Finding and the CIA's Rendition, Detention and Interrogation Programme: A Response to Cordell (2017)
Blakeley, R. and Raphael, S. 2017. Human Rights Fact-Finding and the CIA's Rendition, Detention and Interrogation Programme: A Response to Cordell. International Area Studies Review.
British torture in the 'war on terror' (2017)
Raphael, S. and Blakeley, R. 2017. British torture in the 'war on terror'. European Journal of International Relations. 23 (2), p. 243–266.

2016

Tracking rendition aircraft as a way to understand CIA secret detention and torture in Europe (2016)
Raphael, S., Black, C., Blakeley, R. and Kostas, S. 2016. Tracking rendition aircraft as a way to understand CIA secret detention and torture in Europe. International Journal of Human Rights. 20 (1), pp. 78-103.

2014

US Oil Strategy in the Caspian Basin: Hegemony through Interdependence (2014)
Raphael, S. and Stokes, D. 2014. US Oil Strategy in the Caspian Basin: Hegemony through Interdependence. International Relations. 28 (2), pp. 183-206.
Conducting Effective Research into State Complicity in Human Rights Abuses ()
Raphael, S. and Blakeley, R. Conducting Effective Research into State Complicity in Human Rights Abuses. Contemporary Social Science.

2016

Mercenaries Unleashed: The Brave New World of Private Military and Security Companies (2016)
Raphael, S. 2016. Mercenaries Unleashed: The Brave New World of Private Military and Security Companies. War on Want.
Arming Repression: The New British Imperialism in the Persian Gulf (2016)
Raphael, S. and St John, J. 2016. Arming Repression: The New British Imperialism in the Persian Gulf. War on Want.

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