Associate Professor Laura J. Shepherd

Associate Professor
BA (Hons) Social Anthropology (University of Sussex), MSc. Gender and International Relations, MSc. Research Methods, PhD International Relations (University of Bristol)
School of Social Sciences


+61 (2) 9385 1687
+61 (2) 9385 1040
Room 165, Morven Brown
Kensington Campus
Fields: International Relations


Laura J. Shepherd is an Associate Professor of International Relations at the School of Social Sciences, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, UNSW Sydney. Laura is also a Visiting Senior Fellow at the LSE Centre for Women, Peace and Security in London, UK.

Laura’s research focuses on gender politics, international relations and critical security studies. Her primary research focuses on the United Nations Security Council’s ‘Women, Peace and Security’ agenda. She has written extensively on the formulation of UNSCR1325 and subsequent Women, Peace and Security resolutions. Laura is particularly interested in poststructural accounts of gender and security; much of her work investigates concepts and performances of authority, legitimacy and power through these theoretical frameworks. She also has strong interests in pedagogy and and popular culture. 

Research areas: Gender politics, international relations, peace and security.

Current and Recent Research Projects

Women, Peace and Security: Rethinking Policy, Advocacy and Implementation
This research applies discourse-theoretical analysis to the formation of the WPS policy architecture, mapping feminist advocacy around the WPS agenda, and analysing the implementation of the WPS agenda at the national level. ARC DP160100212 (2016-2018). 

Gender, Peacebuilding and the Politics of Space
This project offers a rigorous and methodologically innovative analysis of UNPBC activities and critically interrogates logics of liberal peacebuilding. ARC DP130100707 (2013-2015). 

Areas of Postgraduate Research Supervision: Critical and/or feminist perspective in the fields of security studies and international relations, the United Nations system, peacebuilding and the politics of popular culture. 

Laura is also lead supervisor of the Scientia Scholarship Project 'Women and Peace in Africa: Gender-Based Violence in Conflict-Affected States' and co-supervisor in the Scientia Scholarship Project 'Reimagining and Decolonizing Post-conflict Peacebuilding'.

Postgraduate Research Completions 

  • Caitlin Hamilton, PhD Social Sciences (International Relations), The Everyday Artefacts of World Politics: What graphic novels, craft and internet memes can tell us about international relations (UNSW Sydney, 2016).
  • Ian Michael Zucker, PhD Politics & International Relations, The Discursive Construction of Israeli National Identity (UNSW Australia, 2016).
  • Linda Åhäll, PhD International Relations, Motherhood and political violence: Life-giving and life-taking in representations of female agency in conflict (University of Birmingham, 2011).
  • Lee Jarvis, PhD International Relations,  Times of terror: Discourse and the politics of temporality (University of Birmingham, 2008).

Current Postgraduate Research Supervision 

  • Taylor Bjarnoe, PhD Social Sciences (International Relations), The End of Geopolitics: Antarctic Peace and Security in the Anthropocene.
  • Amy Pisani, PhD Social Sciences (International Relations), Media Constructions of Terrorism and Muslim Identity in Australia
  • Catherine Bateman-Steele, PhD Social Sciences (Development Studies), Can global health targets be met without attention to gender equality?
  • Shahedul Kahn, PhD Social Sciences (International Relations), Climate change adaptation: A new thematic approach for peacekeeping.
  • Alba Boer Cuerva, PhD Social Sciences (International Relations), Women's Experiences of Empowerment and Security in Colombia
  • Sophie Adams, PhD Politics & International Relations, Understanding Australian Indigenous vulnerability to the impacts of clilmate change and the need for adaptation.
  • Kavitha Suthanthiraraj, PhD Politics & International Relations, Gender Perspectives on the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) and Humanitarian Intervention.
  • Lucy Hall, PhD Politics & International Relations, Gender, the ‘Responsibility to Protect’ and Internal Displacement.

Teaching areas: Gender politics, international relations, peace and security, methodology

Affiliation and Memberships

  • Member, British International Studies Association (UK)
  • Member, International Studies Association (USA)



Semester 2 
POLS5132 Gender in Global Poltiics: Money, Sex and Death

Professional contribution

I am Program Chair of the Feminist Theory and Gender Studies section of the International Studies Association 2016-17.

I was convenor of the British International Studies Association Gendering International Relations Working Group from 2009-2012, which has approximately 180 members across the world.

I co-facilitate a web community, called the Gender in Global Governance Net-Work, which was funded by the British International Studies Association and launched in 2012.

I am co-founder of the Women, Peace and Security Academic Collective, formed in 2012 to extend, progress and challenge the UN’s Women, Peace and Security agenda, particularly during Australia's term of office as a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council.

I am on the editorial boards of several journals, including the International Feminist Journal of Politics and Critical Studies on Security, for which I sub-edit a section called 'Interventions', publishing non-traditional contributions to debate on security from multi-disciplinary critical perspectives.

Affiliations and membership

Related links

I tweet from @drljshepherd about #FemSecSt and #sexualisedviolence.

Related news

Other information

Online opinion pieces and essays

For the Joy It Brings: Hashtag Activism and Little Wins’, blog for Disorder of Things, 12 November 2014.

Advancing the Women, Peace and Security agenda: 2015 and beyond’, expert analysis for the Norwegian Peacebuilding Resource Centre, 28 August 2014.

UN Security Council, women and Syria’, opinion piece for UNSW Newsroom, 30 August 2013.

Australia poised to break its promise to women of the world, blog for the Women, Peace and Security Academic Collective, 2 August 2013.

Drone strikes and civilian protection: why Australia must take a stand, opinion piece with Caitlin Hamilton for The Conversation, 2 May 2013.

Accountable for what? Accountable to whom? The Australian government and the Women, Peace and Security Agenda, blog with Caitlin Hamilton for the Women, Peace and Security Academic Collective, 8 March 2013.

As Australia takes the world stage, it’s time to fulfil promises to Afghan and Syrian women, opinion piece with Jacqui True for The Conversation, 8 March 2013.

Transdisciplinarity: The Politics and Practices of Knowledge Production, guest blog for Disorder of Things, 23 November 2012.

Narrative closure: The Human Security Report 2012, blog for Gender in Global Governance Net-Work, 22 October 2012.

Violence and violation: Masculinity and rape in war (PDF), International Studies Today, 1 October 2012.

Gendering USAID: The international political economy of reproductive health-care, blog for Gender in Global Governance Net-Work, 1 September 2012.

‘Feel Safe Tonight, Sleep With A Peacekeeper’: Why Gender Still Matters In Peacekeeping Operations, blog for Gender in Global Governance Net-Work, 6 June 2012. 

Gender Matters in International Relations, e-IR, 20 February 2010.