Senior Lecturer in International Relations at the University of Technology Sydney

Dr Jess Gifkins is interested in how international relations are enacted on a day-to-day basis. Her research centers around two different themes. Her first theme is on decision-making within the United Nations, focused on the UN Security Council and the UN Secretariat. Within this strand she has published research on legitimation practices, penholding, agenda setting, peacekeeping, the relationship with the International Criminal Court, and early warning mechanisms. Her second theme is on the implementation of the ‘responsibility to protect’ (or ‘R2P’, as it is known) where she has researched language, case studies on conflicts in Darfur, Libya, and Syria, and the relationship between persecution of LGBTQI+ people, hate crimes, and atrocity crimes.

Her research on the UN and on R2P has been published in the European Journal of International Relations, Cooperation and Conflict, Global Responsibility to Protect, the Australian Journal of International Affairs, Global Governance, Global Change, Peace & Conflict, and International Peacekeeping, as well as chapters in books on R2P, the United Nations and Genocide, and Civilian Protection. Dr Jess Gifkins and Professor Jason Ralph were awarded a prize for ‘Best article in the European Journal of International Relations’ in 2017 for their article ‘The Purpose of United Nations Security Council Practice‘.

Her project on Queering Atrocity Prevention has been discussed in the UN Security Council and cited by the UK government and the UN General Assembly. Dr Gifkins, and her team of collaborators – principally Dr Dean Cooper-Cunningham and Protection Approaches – have produced a wide range of outputs for this project, including a journal article in International Affairs, a report with Protection Approaches, a podcast with the Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect in New York, a magazine article in Foreign Policy, a blog with Australian Outlook, and a blog with International Affairs.

Her project on Brexit and the reputation of the UK in the United Nations was funded by the British Academy  (2018-2019) where she and her coauthors published articles in International Affairs, and the British Journal of Politics and International Relations, as well as a report, led by Dr Gifkins, published by the United Nations Association of the UK titled ‘Global Britain in the United Nations‘. This project was a collaboration with Professor Jason Ralph and Dr Samuel Jarvis.

Jess Gifkins’ current research projects are on:

  1. Legitimation practices in UN Security Council decision-making. She has written a monograph titled ‘Inside the UN Security Council: Legitimation Practices and Darfur’ which is in production with Oxford University Press with publication in November 2023, and an article published in Global Governance. 
  2. Queering the Responsibility to Protect. This project is a collaboration with Protection Approaches in London and Dr Dean Cooper-Cunningham at the University of Copenhagen. Jess is the Queering Atrocity Prevention Research Fellow with Protection Approaches and has recently published a co-authored report titled ‘Queering Atrocity Prevention‘. This research has been cited in a UK House of Commons Select Committee report and in a UN General Assembly report published by the UN Independent Expert on sexual orientation and gender identity, Victor Madrigal-Borloz
  3. Early Warning of mass atrocities in the UN Secretariat. This project is funded by the British Academy (2022-2023) and is a collaboration with Dr Stephen McLoughlin at Coventry University. A recent article from this project, in collaboration with Professor Alex Bellamy, has been published in International Peacekeeping.

Jess was founding Associate Editor of Critical Military Studies from 2013 until 2020, and she has been on the Editorial Board for the Global Responsibility to Protect journal since 2020. She was Co-convener of the British International Studies  Association Working Group on Intervention and the Responsibility to Protect (2016-2018), and Co-Chair of EISA Section ‘A Palace of Hope? The Prospects, Fragilities and Legitimacy of the United Nations‘ in 2018.

She did her PhD within the Asia-Pacific Centre for the Responsibility to Protect at the University of Queensland, where she retains a position as Honorary Research Fellow.

Jess works at the University of Technology Sydney and has previously worked at the University of Manchester, Leeds Beckett University, the University of Exeter, the University of Queensland, and the University of New South Wales.


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