Discipline: Political Science
Specialisation: International Relations, Conflict, Reconciliation, Visual Politics, Emotions.
I am professor of International Relations at the University of Queensland, where I have taught since 1999 and where I coordinate an interdisciplinary research program on Visual Politics (https://hass.uq.edu.au/visual-politics).
My passion and research contribution has revolved around exploring creative and interdisciplinary ways of understanding key political problems. I have, in particular, sought to introduce aesthetics, visuality and emotions to the theory and practice of world politics. Two aspects are central to this endeavour.
First: I have explored how aesthetic sources – such as art, literature and music – can provide us with alternative insights into the political: a type of reflective understanding that emerges not from applying technical skills of analysis but from cultivating a more open-ended level of creativity and sensibility about the political. We might then be able to appreciate what we otherwise cannot even see: perspectives or people excluded from prevailing purviews, for instance, or the emotional nature and consequences of political events. My publications here include a book on Aesthetics and World Politics (Palgrave 2009/2012) and an edited Forum on “Emotions and World Politics” in International Theory (6/3, 2014).
Second: my research has examined how aesthetic sources themselves shape the political. Photographs, film and television influence how we view and approach phenomena as diverse as war, diplomacy, financial crises and election campaigns. Drones, satellites and surveillance cameras watch us around the clock and deliver images that are then put to political use. Add to this that new technologies now allow for a rapid distribution of still and moving images around the world. Digital media platforms, such as Twitter, YouTube, Facebook and Instagram, play an important role across the political spectrum, from terrorist recruitment drives to social justice campaigns. My work here includes an ARC Discovery Project on “How Images Shape Responses to Humanitarian Crises” and an edited book on Visual Global Politics (Routledge, 2018).
I have always sought to apply these conceptual inquiries to concrete political issues, most notably to questions about conflict, reconciliation and justice. This practice-oriented part of my work goes back to a diplomatic appointment I held as a Swiss Army Officer in the Korean Demilitarized Zone three decades ago. I am particularly interested in exploring how entrenched conflicts, most prominently the Korean one, can be understood not only in conventional geopolitical or ideological terms, but also as clashes over identities. Through collaborative research I have since applied this work to other contexts, from social justice movements to peacebuilding in Bosnia, Timor Leste and Sri Lanka. Publications here include books on Popular Dissent, Human Agency and Global Politics (Cambridge University Press, 2000) and Divided Korea: Toward a Culture of Reconciliation (University of Minnesota Press, 2005/2008) as well as an edited volume on Mediating Across Difference: Oceanic and Asian Approaches to Conflict Resolution (University of Hawaii Press, 2011).
Professor of International Relations, University of Queensland (2007- present)
Associate Professor of Peace and Conflict Studies, University of Queensland (2003-2007)
Senior Lecturer in Peace Studies and Political Theory, University of Queensland (1999-2003)
Assistant Professor of International Relations, Pusan National University (1998-1999)
Chief of Office, Swiss Delegation to the Neutral Nations Supervisor Commission, Panmunjom, Korea (1986-1988)
British International Studies Association Prize for Best Article in the Review of International Studies (2011)
Visiting Fellowship, Center for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities, Cambridge University (2006)
Research Fellowship in History and Reconciliation, Carnegie Council on Ethics and International Affairs, New York (2003)
2002-3 Research Fellowship, Alexander von Humboldt-Foundation, Humboldt University, Berlin (2002-3)
Crisp Medal, awarded by the Australasian Political Studies Association for “originality and intellectual contribution in work in political science published over the three years leading up to the award” (2000)
- Bleiker, Roland (ed). Visual Global Politics (London: Routledge, 2018).
- Bleiker, Roland and Emma Hutchison (ed). “Emotions in World Politics,” Forum in International Theory, Vol 6, No 3, Nov 2014, pp. 490-594.
- Bleiker, Roland. Aesthetics and World Politics (New York: Palgrave 2009/2012).
- Bleiker, Roland. Divided Korea: Toward a Culture of Reconciliation (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2005/2008),
- Bleiker, Roland, Popular Dissent, Human Agency and Global Politics (Cambridge University Press, 2000).
Email: bleiker [at] uq.edu.au