School of Politics and International Relations

Dr James Eastwood, BA (Cambridge), MPhil (Cambridge), MA (SOAS), PhD (SOAS)


Lecturer in Politics and International Relations

Telephone: 020 7882 5834
Room Number: Arts One, 2.23
Office Hours: Thursday 10-11am & Friday 10-11am


James joined Queen Mary in 2016. Prior to this he taught at SOAS, University of London, where he also completed his PhD in 2015. James’s research concentrates on the relationship between militarism and the ethics of war, with a particular focus on the case of Israel. As part of his doctoral research, James spent many months living in Israel/Palestine in order to conduct interviews and participant observation and to improve his knowledge of Hebrew.

James’s PhD thesis was jointly awarded the Michael Nicholson prize for the best doctoral thesis by the British International Studies Association in 2016. He is currently preparing the manuscript for publication as a book.

Find James Eastwood on

Undergraduate Teaching

POL240 International Relations: Theories and Contemporary Issues

POL242 Global Governance


Research Interests:

My research examines the connections between practices of ethics, war, and militarism in global politics, with a particular focus on the case of Israel. In particular, my work explores how ethics plays a crucial role in sustaining Israeli militarism. It shows that ethics has become crucial both in motivating soldiers to participate in military service in Israel and in constraining political activism against Israel's military engagements. My findings are based on several months of fieldwork in Israel/Palestine, comprising interviews with key informants and participant-observation.

While ethics and war are often intuitively understood as existing in antagonism with each other, my research suggests ethics can very easily facilitate the use of military violence, especially when ethical activity is used primarily as an opportunity to shape soldiers as subjects. This gives rise to a situation of militarism, in which processes of subject formation and military preparation intertwine and soldiers' experience of themselves as subjects depends on their ethical performance in war. In making this argument, I draw on existing literature concerning militarism – both in Israel and in International Relations – which I combine with theoretical insights developed from the work of Michel Foucault and psychoanalysis. My research applies these arguments to a close empirical study of the ethical code of the Israeli military, its teaching of military ethics, the role of ethical pedagogy at Israeli pre-military academies, and the work of the Israeli veterans' activist group, “Breaking the Silence”.

I am currently working on research which investigates the relationship between military ethics and racism in Israeli society. I am also interested in studying the relationship between militaries and universities in the production of military ethics in the UK.

Examples of research funding:

James’s PhD was funded by an ESRC Studentship and a doctoral fellowship from the Israel Institute.


‘“Meaningful service”: pedagogy at Israeli pre-military academies and the ethics of militarism’, European Journal of International Relations (2016, 22: 3).

Public Engagement

James recently discussed his research in a blog post at the Disorder Of Things website and at the Academics Against the Arms Trade conference outside the Dsei arms fair.