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School of Politics and International Relations

Ida Roland Birkvad

 Ida Roland Birkvad


Twitter: @IdaBirkvad

Supervisors: Prof Kimberly Hutchings (SPIR), Dr Rick Saull (SPIR) and Dr Simon Reid-Henry (School of Geography) 

Research topic: The Aryan Other: A conceptual History of Connection

My thesis presents a conceptual history of Aryanism, considering its trajectories in the time of British imperialism in the Indian subcontinent (1757-1947). Contrary to popular understandings of it as a European notion of white supremacy, my thesis argues that Aryanism is an inter-elite political concept produced through sustained and heterogeneous interactions between European imperial and Hindu elites.

Dominant scholarship in postcolonial theory and wider social science literatures have yet to grapple more concertedly, both theoretically and politically, with reactionary politics in the Global South, and its interrelations with European imperialism. In this light, the thesis grapples with the following questions: How can we better understand ‘bad’ politics emanating from the colonial periphery without falling into simplified analyses of appropriation and mimicry? And what would a non-Eurocentric history of the emergence of Aryanism as a complex system of global hierarchies look like?

Research Interests: Ida’s research engages with questions related to imperialism, international political theory, and non-Western agency in International Relations. Her theoretical and methodological approach seeks to ground theory in its social and historical context.


  • MSc in Comparative Political Thought, SOAS, University of London
  • BA in Hindi, University of Oslo
  • BSc Comparative Politics, University of Bergen

Work Experience:

Prior to joining Queen Mary, Ida was based at the Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO). At PRIO, she worked as a researcher on a wide range of projects related to migration, security, and minority politics.

Ida is a columnist for the Norwegian weekly Morgenbladet.


Birkvad, Ida Roland. The Ambivalence of Aryanism: A Genealogical Reading of India-Europe Connection. Millennium: Journal of International Studies, 2020, 49 (1).

Borchgrevink, Kaja & Ida Roland Birkvad. Religious norms and homeownership among Norwegian Muslim women. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 2021.

Miklian, Jason & Ida Roland Birkvad. Religion, Poverty and Conflict in a Garbage Slum of Ahmedabad. International Area Studies Review, 2016, 19 (1).

Judith Butler Goes to Norway, on The Disorder of Things Blog.


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