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Photo of Dr Sarah Bulmer

Dr Sarah Bulmer

Senior Lecturer (Cornwall)


+44 (0)1326 253768

I work in Critical Military Studies and International Relations. My work explores military identity, the legacies of war and war-preparedness, and the relationships between military communities and wider society. 

I teach modules on global politics, humanitarian intervention, and war and society. My aim is to encourage and enable students to engage in independent critique of the world around them and to develop confidence in using their own voice to engage with political issues.


Research interests

My work explores military identity, the legacies of war and war-preparedness, and the relationships between military communities and wider society. I am particularly interested in developing research methods that enable the experiences of members of the military and veteran community to be heard including life story, dialogic performance, collaborative filmmaking, and community engagement. Conceptually, I am interested in theorising military power, and exploring its limits and contradictions.

I am working on three main projects currently:


Queering the Military: Sexuality in the Armed Forces

My current book project explores the ways sexuality has been constructed, policed, and managed in the British military from the 1980s to the present. It interrogates the institutional paranoia around sexuality as it was manifest in witch hunts of sexual minorities, sex scandals, hysteria about women going to sea, and the integration of LGBT personnel. It develops the work in my 2013 article in International Journal of Feminist Politics which won the 2012 Enloe Award


Military Afterlives

Funded by Volkswagen Stiftung (2015-2021) the Military Afterlives project explores how veterans, and their families, experience the transition out of the military and back into civilian life. The project was developed in collaboration with members of the veteran community and we conducted life story interviews with 49 veterans and family members in the south west of England.

The research generated valuable insights into identity negotiation, the agency of veterans, and the lifelong impacts of military service. We continue to develop this work and have co-produced a new video with veterans, funded by Research England and the Societies and Cultures Institute at the University of Exeter.


Stories in Transition: Examining the role of arts, culture and sport in supporting veteran transition to civilian life

The Stories in Transition project, funded by the AHRC, pioneers creative methods to co-produce research with veterans about the role of arts, sport and culture activities in supporting military-to-civilian transition. This interdisciplinary project combined creative and collaborative research methodologies with a rigorous case study design to study three veterans’ organisations that use sailing, art, and archaeology in their work.

Veterans’ voices were at the heart of the research process, and they worked with researchers to co-produce and co-author their own transition stories, including professionally-edited creative documentary films. We are currently working on publications and impact work that aims to transform our understanding of both transition and the unique opportunities of arts, sport and culture activities.



Research supervision

Doctoral Supervision

Dr Sefina Dogo (University of Exeter) '‘Exploring the Impact of Gender Integrationist Policy in the Nigerian Military’  (2015- 2017)

Dr Hannah West (University of Bath) 'What did YOU do in the war, Mummy? British women's experiences of the front-line 1948-2014'. ESRC 1 + 3 PhD (2016 - 2022)


Emily Clifford (University of Exeter) 'The Futurescapes of Human Trafficking in Gloabl Britain' ESRC 1+3 (2021- present) 


Lucía Guerrero Rivière (University of Exeter) Wellcome Trust (2021- present)



Postdoctoral Supervision

Dr David Jackson, Postdoctoral Research Associate on ‘Military Afterlives’ project (funded by Volkswagen Foundation 2018-19) and Stories in Transition project (funded by AHRC 2021-2023) 


Dr Caroline Micklewright, Postdoctoral Research Associate on ‘Military Afterlives’ project (funded by Volkswagen Foundation 2021-2022)


Dr Godfrey Maringira, Postdoctoral Fellow (University of the Western Cape, funded by Volkswagen Foundation 2015-2021) 


Research students

I am happy to supervise research students working on:  

  • Critical Military Studies
  • Militarism and militarisation
  • Veteran transition and rehabilitation
  • Gender and sexuality in world politics 
  • Innovative methodologies engaging theories of embodiment, narrative and co-production


I graduated from the University of Wales, Aberystwyth in 2005 with a BSc (Econ) in International Politics and International History. I returned to Aberystwyth in 2006 to complete an MSc (Econ) in Security Studies. I then moved to the University of Exeter in 2007 to undertake a fully-funded PhD project under the supervision of Dr Nick Vaughan-Williams. In 2011 I joined the teaching faculty as Lecturer in Politics at the University of Exeter's Cornwall campus.

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