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Dr Ben Whitham

Job: Senior Lecturer in International Politics

Faculty: Business and Law

School/department: Department of Politics, People and Place

Research group(s): Member of the Centre for Urban Research on Austerity (CURA), the Media Discourse Centre, Academic Advisory Committee of the Stephen Lawrence Research Centre, and the Global Inequalities Research Group.

Address: HU6.83

T: +44 (0)116 250 6082




Personal profile

Ben Whitham is Senior Lecturer in International Politics in the Department of Politics, People, and Place at De Montfort University, Leicester. He holds a PhD in International Politics (University of Reading), an MA in International Relations and Globalisation (London Metropolitan University), and a BA (Hons) in Politics (University of East London). 

Ben’s core research interests are in global (in)security, inequalities, and intersectionality, and in the cultural politics of crisis. His approach to the study of these topics is rooted in disciplines of international political sociology, and global social theory. His PhD explored the discursive construction of post-Cold War British security policies and practices and contextualised them within the wider framing of a ‘neoliberal way of war’. In addition to working on research outputs from his doctoral research, in recent years Ben led a research project (2017-2019), funded by DMU’s Centre for Urban Research on Austerity (CURA), exploring the intersectional politics of austerity and Islamophobia in east London. In 2019 he co-organised the CURA and Stephen Lawrence Research Centre-funded conference Intersectionality and the City. From 2020 Ben is co-lead, with Dr Amina Easat-Daas, of CURA's 'Racialised Inequalities' research theme. In 2020-21 Ben was appointed to DMU's 'Future Research Leaders' scheme (FRL7). 

Ben is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (FHEA), holds a Postgraduate Certificate (PGCert) in Learning and Teaching in Higher Education from De Montfort University, and is the winner of the Political Studies Association's (PSA) Bernard Crick Prize for Outstanding Teaching 2019  - a national award recognising teaching excellence in the field of political studies. Since February 2020 he has been seconded to a 0.25 role as a 'Fair Outcomes Champion' for the Decolonising DMU initiative, which aims to 'build an antiracist university' at DMU. Ben was also co-organiser, in academic year 2019-20, of the Leicester People's University - a community iniative providing free, research-informed higher education to the people of Leicester at a range of city centre locations. Since 2018, Ben has organised an award-winning, student-led, staff-student antiracist reading group at DMU. The group has read Akala's Natives: Race and Class in the Ruins of Empire (2018-19), Afua Hirsch's Brit(ish): On Race, Identity and Belonging (2019-20) and Cedric J. Robinson's Black Marxism: The Making of the Black Radical Tradition (2020-21). In 2018-19 and 2019-20 Ben was Programme Leader for the BA (Hons) Public Administration and Management at DMU's partner institution City University of Hong Kong, and from 2020-21 he is Programme Leader for the BA (Hons) International Relations at DMU.

Apart from his academic work, Ben has previously worked as a third sector policy researcher and advisor, and served as a non-executive director of an NGO.

Research group affiliations

Centre for Urban Research on Austerity

Media Discourse Group

Stephen Lawrence Research Centre

Global Inequalities Research Group 

Publications and outputs 

Hall, R., Ansley, L., Connolly, P., Loonat, S., Patel, K., and Whitham, B. (2021), 'Struggling for the anti-racist university: learning from an institution-wide response to curriculum decolonisation', Teaching in Higher Education: Critical Perspectives 

Ali, N. and Whitham, B. (2021), 'Racial Capitalism, Islamophobia, and Austerity', International Political Sociology, Vol. 15, No. 2, pp. 190-211.   

Whitham, B. (2020), 'A postmodern neo-Marxist's guide to free speech: on Jordan Peterson, the alt-right, and neo-fascism', in Charlotte Lydia Riley (Ed.) The Free Speech Wars (Manchester: MUP):  

Ali, N. and Whitham, B. (2018), 'The unbearable anxiety of being: Ideological fantasies of British Muslims beyond the politics of security', Security Dialogue, Vol. 49, No. 5, pp. 400-417 

Whitham, B. (2018), 'Thinking the 'Culture Wars' and the Present Political Crisis with the Young Marx (and Friends)', TripleC special issue 'Karl Marx @ 200', Vol. 16, No. 2, pp. 707-716

Whitham, B. (2018), ‘Post-crash neoliberalism in theory and practice’, Political Studies Review, Vol. 16, No. 4, pp.262-264 

Whitham, B. (2017) ‘On seeking asylum from poverty: Why the refugee/migrant paradigm cannot hold’, Guest-Authored Series, No. 1, Mixed Migration Platform:

Whitham, B. (2017) Review of Timothy P.R. Weaver, Blazing the Neoliberal Trail: Urban Political Development in the United States and the United Kingdom. University of Pennsylvania Press: Philadelphia, PA. Political Studies Review, 15: 2:

Whitham, B., Greenhalgh, L. and Ogunye, T. (2016), Learning from mistakes: How complaints can drive improvements to public services, London: Citizens Advice: 

Greenhalgh, L. and Whitham, B. (2016), Hidden charges in care homes: Exploring consumer protections within the care home market, London: Citizens Advice:

Whitham, B. (2014), Review of Milja Kurki (2012), Democratic Futures: Re-Visioning Democracy Promotion. Abingdon: Routledge. Political Studies Review, 12: 2, May 2014, p. 259:

Whitham, B. (2013), ‘From security to resilience? (Neo)Liberalism, war and terror after 9/11’, Resilience, 1: 3, pp. 219-229:

Research interests/expertise

  • Theories of International Relations (IR)
  • War, (in)security and terrorism
  • Liberalism and neoliberalism in theory and practice
  • Critical social theories and practices (including Marxism, poststructuralism and intersectional feminism)
  • Postcolonial social orders and racism
  • Political and media discourse
  • Rhetoric and political communication

Areas of teaching

  • International relations theory
  • Diplomacy
  • Post-Cold War world order
  • International (in)security


PGCert Learning and Teaching in Higher Education, Distinction

PhD Politics

MA International Relations and Globalisation, Distinction

BA (Hons) Politics, First Class

Courses taught


  • POPP2004 Contemporary International Theory


  • POPP5020 / POPP5033 Diplomacy and International Politics 
  • POPP5033 Post-Cold War World Order

Honours and awards

De Montfort University Future Research Leaders scheme (FRL7) 2020-21.

Political Studies Association (PSA) Sir Bernard Crick Prize for Outstanding Teaching 2019.

University Award for Academic Excellence (London Metropolitan University) 2009.

Membership of professional associations and societies

British International Studies Association, member (2009-present)

European International Studies Association, member (2017-present)

Political Studies Association (2018-present)

Professional licences and certificates

Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (2019)

Postgraduate Certificate (PGCert) in Learning and Teaching in Higher Education (2019)

Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (2017)


With Dr Nadya Ali of the University of Sussex, I recently conducted a pilot research project supported by the Centre for Urban Research on Austerity (CURA) at DMU. The project was entitled 'The Intersectional Politics of Austerity and Islamophobia in Three East London Boroughs' and involved qualitative depth interviews with 18 participants across the boroughs of Newham, Tower Hamlets and Waltham Forest who had experienced discrimination or abuse that they considered to be Islamophobic or anti-Muslim in nature.

Conference attendance

Whitham, B. and Ali, N. (2019) ‘Living with scandal: The political economy of Islamophobia' (invited paper), Roundtable presentation on 'Scandalous Europe? The Contemporary Politics of European Outrage’ at the British International Studies Association (BISA) Annual Convention, London, June 2019.

Whitham, B. (2019) 'A revolution of values in white supremacist capitalist patriarchy? Reading the crisis of Western "liberal democracy" with bell hooks', at the Political Studies Association (PSA) Annual Conference, Nottingham, April 2019.

Whitham, B. (2018) 'A Postmodern Neo-Marxist's Guide to Free Speech', Responding to Peterson: An Intervention in Lieu of a Debate, Victory Farm Center for the Humanities / Boise State University, Idaho, October 2018.

Whitham, B. and Ali, N. (2018) ‘Living With Scandal: Intersecting Anti-Muslim Racism and Austerity’, 5th EISA European Workshops in International Studies, University of Groningen, June 2018.

Whitham, B. (2017) ‘Elements of the neoliberal way of war’, European International Studies Association (EISA) annual convention, Barcelona, September 2017.

Whitham, B. and Ali, N. (2017), ‘The unbearable anxiety of being’, European International Studies Association (EISA) annual convention, Barcelona, September 2017.

Whitham, B. (2017) [invited speaker], ‘Critical discourse analysis in international politics: Rationale, opportunities and challenges’, a research methods workshop for postgraduate students in the School of Public Policy, University College London (UCL), 13th March 2017.

Whitham, B. (2017) ‘Ways of seeing, ways of being: Re-assessing neoliberalism as ideology and governmentality’, accepted for presentation at Neoliberalism in the Anglophone World, Université Paul-Valéry Montpellier 3.

Whitham, B. (2016) ‘Seeking asylum from poverty: Contesting the refugee/migrant paradigm’, presented at Green Economics Institute Conference on Climate and Migration, University of Oxford.

Whitham, B. (2015) ‘Ways of seeing, ways of being: analysing ideological discourse and governmental practice’, presented at Mind the Gap, Please!, Institute of Advanced Studies, University of Warwick.

Ali, N. and Whitham, B. (2014) ‘The unbearable anxiety of being Muslim’, presented at Politics in Times of Anxiety, University of Manchester.

Heaven, C. and Whitham, B. (2014) ‘Practicing what you preach? Approaching Discourse and Practice in International Relations’, presented at International Studies Association (ISA) Annual Convention, Toronto.

Whitham, B. (2013) ‘The Neoliberal Way of War: the diffusion of market ideology in discourses of state violence’, presented at International Studies Association (ISA) Annual Convention, San Francisco.

Professional esteem indicators

I have provided peer review services for journals including: 

  • Review of International Studies 
  • Cambridge Review of International Affairs 
  • Security Dialogue 
  • Historical Materialism

and for publishers including:

  • Palgrave Macmillan
  • Oxford University Press
  • Sage
  • Cambridge University Press

I have additionally acted as a research grant assessor for:

  • The Independent Social Research Foundation (ISRF). 

I am also a member of DMU's internal Peer Review College.

Academic management responsibilities

Research leadership:

  • Since 2019 I have sat on the Academic Advisory Board of the Stephen Lawrence Research Centre.
  • Since 2020 I have been co-lead (with Amina Easat-Daas) of the Racialised Inequalities research theme of the Centre for Urban Research on Austerity.
  • In 2020-21 I was selected as one the 'Vice-Chancellor's Future Research Leaders' (FRL7) and participated in the FRL programme.

Programme leadership and international:

  • From 2020-21 I am Programme Leader for BA (Hons) International Relations.
  • In 2018-19 and 2019-20 I was Programme Leader for the BA (Hons) in Public Administration and Management delivered by DMU in partnership with City University of Hong Kong. This DMU-awarded degree programme, delivered in Hong Kong, has been running since 1995 and is recognised by the Hong Kong government for Civil Service employment purposes.
Ben Pic