School of Politics and International Relations

Professor Sophie Harman, BSocSci Politics (Manchester), MA International Political Economy (Manchester), PhD Politics (Manchester)


Professor of International Politics

Telephone: 020 7882 5917
Room Number: Arts One, 2.20B
Office Hours: Research Leave 2019/20


Sophie is Professor of International Politics and a BAFTA-nominated film producer.

She is interested in visual method and the politics of seeing, global health politics, African agency, and the politics of conspicuously invisible women.

Her research has reflected these interests through projects on Global Health Governance, the World Bank and HIV/AIDS, partnerships in health in Africa, the 2014/15 Ebola response, the governance of HIV/AIDS, and her recent film project, Pili. These interests have informed her teaching on the modules Global Health Politics, Africa and International Relations, and Global Governance.

Sophie’s teaching and research draws on her extensive fieldwork experience in Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Sierra Leone, Zambia, and the global health and international political economy hubs of Geneva, Washington DC and New York.

In addition to her research and teaching, she is co-Editor of the Review of International Studies, Visiting Professor at HEARD, University of KwaZulu-Natal, and acts as mentor as part of various QM and external initiatives. She was pivotal in establishing the British International Studies Association (BISA) Global Health Working Group. She has consulted to WHO and UNDP.

Sophie was awarded the Joni Lovenduski Prize for outstanding professional achievement by a mid-career scholar by the Political Science Association (PSA) in 2018, the Philip Leverhulme Prize in 2018, and nominated for the BAFTA for Outstanding Debut by a British Writer, Director, or Producer in 2019 for her work on Pili.

Sophie began her academic career with a PhD at the University of Manchester. She then went on to posts in CSGR, University of Warwick, and the Department of International Politics, City University, before joining QMUL in 2012.

She is currently on research leave in 2019/20.


Research Interests:

Sophie conducts research on Global Health Politics, Africa and International Relations, Gender and Feminist IR, and film as method.

She has expertise on: Global Health Governance; the 2014/15 Ebola outbreak; HIV/AIDS; film-making as method; African agency and the Tanzanian state, and women and gender in global health.

She also knows stuff about film production, academic publishing, women in academia and mentoring, judging book prizes, and being a Director of Teaching.

Her research background is in International Political Economy.

Examples of research funding:

  • Philip Leverhulme Award, 2018, £100,000
  • Axa Insurance Outlook Award - ‘Expired on the Shelf: Everyday Risk and HIV/AIDS’ - €250,000
  • HEFCE Student Opportunity Fund - £24,000 (with Cathy McIlwane, School of Geography, QMUL).
  • Queen Mary Innovation Fund ‘Expired on the Shelf’ (PI) - £7.500.
  • Wellcome Trust Small Grant 2012 ‘Leadership in Global Health Governance’ (Principal Investigator) with Simon Rushton, Aberystwyth University, £5000
  • Equinet Global Health Diplomacy, 2012-2013 (with University of Sheffield, University of Zambia, University of Dar es Salaam), £40,000
  • ESRC Seminar Series award 2010/2011 African Agency in International Politics (Principal Investigator) with Will Brown, Open University (Co-Investigator), £18,000
  • ESRC +3 PhD Scholarship (2004 – 2007)



Seeing Politics: film, visual method, and International Relations (McGill Queens University Press, 2019)

Global Health Governance (Routledge Series on Global Institutions) Abingdon: Routledge (2012)

The World Bank and HIV/AIDS: Setting a Global Agenda Abingdon: Routledge (2010)

The Global Politics of Health Reform in Africa: Participation and Performance (Palgrave MacMillan, January 2015)


Pili and

Edited Books

(co-edited with Franklyn Lisk) Governance of HIV/AIDS Responses: Making Participation and Accountability Count  Routledge Abingdon: Routledge (2009)

(co-edited with William Brown) African Agency in International Politics Routledge (2013)

(co-edited with David Williams) Governing the world? The practice of global governance Routledge (2013)

Journal Articles

(with S. Davies, R. Manjoo, M. Tanyag and C. Wenham) ‘Why it must be a feminist global health agenda’ The Lancet (February 2019).

(with Sara E Davies) ‘President Trump as Global Health’s Displacement Activity’ Review of International Studies (accepted, forthcoming 2019).

‘Making the invisible visible in International Relations: film, co-produced research, and transnational feminism’ European Journal of International Relations (accepted and available online November 2017

(with Clare Wenham) ‘Governing Ebola: Between Global Health and Medical Humanitarianism’ Globalizations (2018).

‘Film as research method in African Politics and International Relations: reading and writing HIV/AIDS in Tanzania’ African Affairs 2016, (115: 461) pp733-750

(with Amy Barnes and Garrett W. Brown) 'Understanding global health and development partnerships: Perspectives from African and global health system professionals' Social Science & Medicine (June 2016)

'Norms Won’t Save You: Ebola And The Norm Of Global Health Security' Global Health Governance (2016)

‘Ebola, Gender and Conspicuously Invisible Women in Global Health Governance’ Third World Quarterly (2016)

‘The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Legitimacy in Global Health Governance’ Global Governance (2016)

(with Barnes, A. and Brown, GW). ‘Locating health diplomacy through African negotiations on performance-based funding in global health.’ Journal of Health Diplomacy, 2015, Vol.1, Issue 3.

’15 years of ‘War on AIDS’: what impact has the global HIV/AIDS response had on the political economy of Africa?’ Review of African Political Economy 42 (145): 467-476

(with Lucy Ferguson) ‘Gender and Infrastructure in the World Bank’ Development Policy Review (forthcoming 2015)

(with David Williams) ‘Development in Transition’ International Affairs (June 2014)

(with Simon Rushton) ‘Leadership in Global Health Governance’ Global Health Governance (June 2014).

(with James Scott) ‘Beyond TRIPs: Why the WTO’s Doha Round is Unhealthy’ Third World Quarterly (2013, 34:8).

(with William Brown) ‘In from the margins? The changing place of Africa in International Relations’ International Affairs (2013, 89:1).

‘Governing Health Risk by Buying Behaviour’ Political Studies (2011, 59:4)

‘Searching for an Executive Head? Leadership and UNAIDS’ Global Governance (2011, 17(4)

‘The Dual Feminisation of HIV/AIDS’ Globalizations (2011, 8:2)

‘Fighting HIV/AIDS: Reconfiguring the state?’ Review of African Political Economy (2009, 36:121)

‘Bottlenecks and benevolence: how the World Bank is helping communities to ‘cope’ with HIV/AIDS’ Journal of Health Management (2009, 11:2, 279-313)

‘Introduction: New Directions in International Relations and Africa’ with William Brown, Stephen Hurt, Donna Lee and Karen Smith Roundtable (2009, 98:402, 263-267)

‘The World Bank: Failing the Multi-Country AIDS Program (MAP): Failing HIV/AIDS’ Global Governance (October-December 2007, 13:4, 485-492)

Chapters in book

‘Innovation and the perils of rebranded privatisation: the case of neoliberal global health’ A. Payne and N. Phillips (eds) Handbook of the International Political Economy of Governance (forthcoming, Edward Elgar Publishing, 2014)

‘Critical reflections on global health policy formation’ G.W. Brown and G. Yarney (eds) Handbook of Global Health Policy (Wiley Blackwell, 2014)

‘Global Health Governance’ in R. Wilkinson and T. Weiss Global Governance and International Organisation (Routledge, 2013)

‘International Health Governance’ in Oxford Bibliographies in International Relations. Ed. David Armstrong. New York: Oxford University Press, (2013).

‘Women and the Millennium Development Goals: too little too late too gendered’ R. Wilkinson and D. Hulme (eds) Beyond the Millennium Development Goals (forthcoming, Routledge, 2012)

‘The World Bank and Global Health’ in O. Williams and A. Kay The Crisis of Global Health Governance: Challenges, Institutions and Political Economy  Basingstoke: Palgrave (2009)

‘The Causes, Contours and Consequences of Multi-Sectoralism within the HIV/AIDS response’ Governance of HIV/AIDS Responses: Making Participation and Accountability Count Abingdon: Routledge (2009)

Book Reviews

‘International Security, Conflict and Gender: ‘HIV/AIDS is another war’ International Feminist Journal of Politics (2013, 15:1)

‘AIDS, Illness and African well-being’, Journal of Modern African Studies (2009, 47:1)

‘AIDS, South Africa, and the Politics of Knowledge’, Journal of Modern African Studies (June 2008, 46:2)

Policy Papers
UNDP Governance and HIV/AIDS: Operational Policy & Implementation Framework (UNDP, November 2006).

UNDP E-Discussion on Governance of HIV/AIDS moderator (November-December 2006)


I have supervised two PhDs to completion and have acted as an internal and external examiner in several UK and international institutions.

I welcome research supervision in the following areas:

  • Global Health Politics
  • Africa and International Politics
  • Feminist International Political Economy
  • Visual Method

Current PhD Student(s):

  • Fawzia Gibson-Fall, Military involvement in health in Sub Saharan Africa, a multilevel analysis
  • Felix Mantz, Pan-African anti-colonialism in the Anthropocene: Beyond the Coloniality of Nature and towards Decolonial Futures
  • Simca Simpson, Rights-based Governance and Care Labour Professionalization: Institutionalizing the Rights to Care, Decent Work and Migration in the MERCOSUR

Public Engagement


  • Associate Editor, Global Society
  • Editorial Board Member, International Studies Perspectives
  • Editor, Review of International Studies (January 2016)

Professional Associations

  • Co-convenor of BISA working group on Global Health (with Stefan Elbe and Adam Kamradt-Scott)
  • Executive Committee member of ISA Global Health Section (2012 - 2016)
  • Member Academic Panel ESRC Seminar Series Committee (February 2014 - )
  • Trustee and Executive Committee member of the British International Studies Association (BISA) (2010-2012)
  • Judge, BISA Nicholson Prize, 2013
  • ISA Global Health Book Prize Judge, 2016-2019.

Visiting Professor

  • HEARD, University of KwaZulu-Natal.
  • TD223 International Development, Open University (2012 - 2016)
  • DD313 International Relations, Open University (2014 – 2015).

External Examiner


  • Policy Consultant. World Health Organisation, Health Promotion. (2013 - ).
  • Policy Consultant. Bureau of Development Policy, HIV/AIDS Group, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) (2007 - 2008 )


  • Contributor: The Independent, The Guardian, The Conversation, Open Democracy, The Lancet
  • Expert Opinion: The Economist, Vox, Voice of America, Associated Press


Social Media


Sophie was the founding trustee of Trans Tanz (UK Reg. Charity No. 1117510; Tz Reg. Society No. 14756) 2007-2019, a charity that provides transportation to healthcare facilities