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School of Politics and International Relations

Professor Martin Coward


Professor of International Politics, Head of School

Telephone: 020 7882 8594
Room Number: Arts One, 2.36
Twitter: @martincoward
Office Hours: By appointment (contact Susan Budd:


I joined SPIR in 2023 as Professor of International Politics. Before Queen Mary, I was at Manchester, Newcastle and Sussex. I started my academic journey with a BA in film studies and an MA in ideology and discourse analysis before doing PhD on urbicide in Bosnia. I have a broad interest, therefore in discourse, social theory and continental philosophy as well as popular culture.

My research is theoretically oriented, but empirically informed. I have focused on patterns of violence against cities and infrastructure. I have called this destruction urbicide. Urbicide attacks the plurality of cites. I have broadened this research focus to include patterns of war and genocide – in particular publishing on the networked nature of modern war.

I have also published in the area of international relations theory – in particular on post-globalisation, network discourses and affect.

More recently, my research has focused on the way the anthropocene is imagined. I have examined the way in which speculative fiction and governmental reports have imagined the future of humanity in an era of catastrophic climate change. In particular I have identified what I call a politics of redemption and hope in these imagined futures.


Research Interests:

Urban destruction, Urbicide, Infrastructure security, War, Genocide, Community, Identity, Affect, Anthropocene, Popular Culture


Please see my Google Scholar profile:


  • Coward M (2009) Urbicide: The Politics of Urban Destruction. London: Routledge.

Edited Collections

  • Coward M (2005) Editor, Special Issue - Being-with: Jean-Luc Nancy and the Question of Community, Journal for Cultural Research, 9(4)

Journal Articles

  • Reiko Shindo, Özlem Altan-Olcay, Evren Balta, Henk van Houtum, Annelies van Uden, Prem Kumar Rajaram, Martin Coward, Saara Pellander, Jef Huysmans, Collective Discussion: Movement and Carceral Spatiality in the Pandemic, International Political Sociology, Volume 17, Issue 3, September 2023, olad011,
  • Closs Stephens, A, Coward, M, Merrill, S, and Sumartojo, S. (2021) Affect and the response to terror: commemoration and communities of sense, International Political Sociology, 15(1), pp. 22-40
  • Merrill, S, Sumartojo, S, Closs Stephens, A, and Coward, M (2020) Togetherness after Terror: The More or Less Digital Commemorative Public Atmospheres of the Manchester Arena Bombing’s First Anniversary, Environment and Planning D: Society and Space, 38(3) pp. 546–566 DOI  1177/0263775819901146
  • Coward M (2018) Against network thinking: A critique of pathological sovereignty. European Journal of International Relations, 24(2), pp. 440-463 DOI 10.1177/1354066117705704
  • Coward M (2017) Crossing the threshold of concern: how infrastructure emerges as an object of security. IAS Insights. Available online:
  • Coward M (2015) Hot Spots/Cold Spots: Infrastructural Politics in the Urban Age. International Political Sociology 9(1): 96-99
  • Coward M (2012) Between us in the city: materiality, subjectivity and community in the era of global urbanization. Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 30(3): 468 – 481 [Citations: 104 Impact Factor: 4.594 Ranking: 15/86]
  • Coward M (2011) Being, Mattering, Dying. Political Geography 30(8): 463-4
  • Coward M (2010) ‘Author’s Introduction’ and ‘Author’s Reply’ in Review Symposia: 'Urbicide' by Martin Coward. Global Discourse 1(2): 186-189 & 199-204
  • Coward M (2009) Network-centric Violence, Critical Infrastructure and the Urbanisation of Security. Security Dialogue 40(4-5): 399-418
  • Coward M (2007) Urbicide Reconsidered. Theory and Event [online] 10(2). Available at:
  • Coward M (2006) Against Anthropocentrism: The Destruction of the built environment as a distinct form of political violence. Review of International Studies 32(3): 419-437
  • Coward M (2006) International Relations in the Post-Globalisation Era. Politics 26(1): 54-61
  • Coward M (2005) The Globalisation of Enclosure: Interrogating the Geopolitics of Empire. Third World Quarterly 26(6): 855-871
  • Coward M (2005) Editor's Introduction, Special Issue - Being-with: Jean-Luc Nancy and the Question of Community. Journal for Cultural Research 9(4): 323-329
  • Coward M (2002) Community as Heterogeneous Ensemble: Mostar and Multiculturalism. Alternatives, 27(1): 29-66

Book chapters

  • Coward, M, (Forthcoming 2024) ‘Senses of togetherness in a covid city’ in Closs Stephens, A & Tazzioli, M, eds., Collective Movements and Emerging Political Spaces. Routledge
  • Coward M (2017) In Defence of the Public City. In: Atkinson R, McKenzie L and Winlow S (eds.) Building Better Societies. Bristol: Policy Press.
  • Aradau C, Coward M, Herschinger E, Thomas O & Voelkner N (2014) Discourse/Materiality. In: Aradau C, Huysmans J, Neal A & Voelkner, N (eds.) Critical Security Methods: New Frameworks for Analysis. London: Routledge, pp. 57-84.
  • Coward M (2014) Recombinant resilience and the temptations of global interdiction. In: Houen A (ed.) States of War since 9/11: Terrorism, Sovereignty and the War on Terror. London: Routledge, pp.204-223.
  • Coward M (2013) Networks, Nodes and De-Territorialised Battlespace: The Scopic Regime of Rapid Dominance. In: Adey P, Whitehead M and Williams A (eds.) From Above: War, Violence and London: Hurst, pp.95-117
  • Coward M (2012) Postglobalization. In: Ritzer G (ed.) The Wiley Blackwell Encyclopedia of Globalization. Oxford: Blackwell.
  • Coward M (2012) Urban. In: Ritzer G (ed.) The Wiley Blackwell Encyclopedia of Globalization. Oxford: Blackwell.
  • Coward M (2008) Jean-Luc Nancy. In: Edkins J & Vaughan-Williams N (eds.) Critical Theorists and International Relations. London: Routledge, pp.251-262.
  • Coward M (2006) Securing the global (bio)political economy: Empire, post-structuralism and political economy. In: de Goede M (ed.) International Political Economy and Poststructural Politics. London: Palgrave, pp.60-76.
  • Coward M (2004) Urbicide in Bosnia. In: Graham S (ed.) Cities, War and Terrorism: Towards an Urban Geopolitics. Oxford: Blackwell, pp.154-171.

Review Articles

  • Coward, M (2018) Introduction in Martin Coward, Peter Adey, Angharad Closs Stephens, Caren Kaplan, Mark Salter, Debbie Lisle, Review Forum: Debbie Lisle’s Holidays in the Danger Zone, University of Minnesota Press (2016), Political Geography, 66: 210.
  • Coward M (2014) Studies in trans-disciplinary method: after the aesthetic turn, by Michael J. Shapiro. Global Discourse 4(1): 98-101.
  • Coward M (2010) Divided Cities, by Jon Calame and Esther Charlesworth. Cambridge Review of International Affairs 23(1): 192-194
  • Coward M (2010) Chasing Dragons: Security, Identity and Illicit Drugs in Canada by Kyle Grayson. Global Discourse 1(1): 62-65.
  • Coward M (2005) The Imperial Character of the Contemporary World Order. Theory and Event [online] 8(1). Available at:
  • Coward M (1999) An Unruly World? Globalization, Governance and Geography, by Andrew Herod, Gearóid Ó Tuathail, and Susan M Roberts (eds.). Millennium: Journal of International Studies 28(3): 716-718.
  • Coward M (1999) The Geopolitics Reader, by Gearóid Ó Tuathail, Simon Dalby & Paul Routledge (eds.). Millennium: Journal of International Studies 27(3): 781-783.
  • Coward M (1999) Retreating the Political, by Jean-Luc Nancy & Philippe Lacoue-Labarthe and On Jean-Luc Nancy: The Sense of Philosophy, by Darren Sheppard, Simon Sparks & Colin Thomas (eds.). Millennium: Journal of International Studies 27(1): 194-197.



  • Grove, NS, Shah, N, and Coward, M (2023) ‘Introduction to the Special Section: Disruption by design’, Review of International Studies 49 (1), pp.1-2 [Impact Factor: 2.906 Ranking: 22/96]
  • Coward, M, Devetak, R, Moulin, C, Paterson, M, Shah, N, Zehfuss, M and Zevnik, A (2020) Editorial, Review of International Studies (46)1:1-2
  • Coward, M and Grayson, K (2017) Impact factors and the promotion of our authors’ articles, Politics 37(1): 3-4
  • Grayson, K, Coward, M and Oprisko, R (2016) Resurrecting IR theory: Editors’ introduction to a special section, Politics 36(4): 383-384
  • Coward M, Grayson, K, Chisholm, A, Walton, A, Clough, E and Feklyunina, V (2016) Reflecting On Our Strengths and Strategy, Politics 36(2): 115–117
  • Coward M, Grayson, K, Chisholm, A, Walton, A, Clough, E and Feklyunina, V (2016) Editorial 2016, Politics 36(1): 3-4
  • Coward, M (2015) Editor's Introduction: resilience revisited, Politics 35(1): 1-2
  • Coward M, Grayson, K, Barr, M, Clough, E and Feklyunina, V (2015) Editorial 2015 – Diversity in Politics, Politics 35(1): 1-2
  • Coward M and Grayson, K (2013) Politics in 2013 – The Changing Landscape of Academic Publishing, Politics 33(1): 1-4
  • Coward M, Grayson, K, Barr, M, Clough, E and Feklyunina, V (2012) Future Challenges and Strategies for Politics, Politics 32(2): 65-8


I have supervised over 15 PhDs to successful completion.

I am interested in supervising doctoral research on: urban and infrastructure destruction: patterns of war and political violence: Critical International Political Theory (especially drawing on discourse analysis, Ernesto Laclau, Martin Heidegger, Jean-Luc Nancy, and afropessimism).

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