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Professor Doug Stokes

Professor of International Relations, Director of the Centre for Advanced International Studies and College Director of Commercial Engagement

Amory B308e

My major developed research focus is on the durability of the US led liberal international order and the ways in which great powers can use military power to shape international relations in ways they deem desirable. This question becomes especially interesting in the context of economic power shifting to East Asia, the crisis of Western strategic agency and complex forms of global interdependence in a world of many states. Please take a look at my publications to get a better idea of my research. 


My first book examined US counterinsurgency warfare in post-Cold War Latin America; my second was on US coercive statecraft's role in global energy markets.

My latest book examines the rise of the 'decolonisation' movement across British institutions, especially in our Universities. I argue that illiberal technocratic elites across the Anglophone world have weaponised moral panics to maintain power and unpack what this portends for the West and liberal world order in an era of rising geopolitical authoritarianism. 


Lord Sumption argues that the arguments developed in my book have "rarely been made with such verve and force as they are in this succinct demolition of modern decolonisation theory."  Dr Munira Mirza, former head of the No. 10 Policy Unit and CEO of Civic Future, argued that the book is a "highly insightful and persuasive contribution … going far beyond the walls of academia into wider institutions and the international world order." The Times Literary Supplement noted the book was ‘incisive, humane and brave’ and was nominated for its book of the year for 2023

I have acted as the Director of Exeter University's Strategy and Security Institute, was a Senior Research Fellow at the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) for over a decade and am the  Thomas Telford Fellow at the Council on Geostrategy and the Senior Fellow to the Legatum Institute's Sovereignty Unit. 


I write regularly for major news outlets, including  The Times, The Telegraph, The Spectator and the Daily Mail, and enjoy doing the odd podcast with interesting people. 


Research supervision

Note for PhD supervision enquiries. 

I get 100s of speculative, round-robin email requests for supervision every year. I automatically delete these. 

There is very little to no funding for PhDs. Absent funding Exeter cannot take you on for supervision. Do you have funding and is it secure?

Any email seeking my supervision will need to be in my broad areas of research, and from 2022 onwards, I will only take on exceptionally able PhD students with a demonstrable academic track record of excellence. Only email me if you fit the above. I say this given the sheer volume of requests I receive and a good test for me is whether you have at least looked at this page. 

If I do take you on, I will give you my 100% input and all of my PhDs have gone on to very good careers. 

I have supervised many successful PhDs to completion, the majority of whom have completed within time, published articles during their PhD and gone on to work in academia, finance and government. 

Other information

 For all of my pieces see my webiste: 

External impact and engagement

My personal website:

My work has been influential in policy, with citations in Parliamentary Briefings and I actively engage with civil society organisations, and sit on the advisory board of the UK’s Free Speech Union and on the editorial committee of History Reclaimed. I also provide regular advice to ministerial teams on pressing issues. Most recently, I worked with a small team of concerned academics and civil society organisations to help deliver the Higher Education (Freedom of Speech) Act 2023, safeguarding free speech on British campuses.

As a fellow of various organisations, I also seek to interface between my academic research and broader forms of social impact. Here are some of my think tank pieces: 

Legatum Institute, February 2024. From AUKUS to CAUKUS:  The Case for  Canadian Integration. Foreword by former Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbot AC. Media coverage in The Times, Politico, The Daily Telegraph. Endorsed by Boris Johnson, Liz Truss and Stephen Harper. Referenced by Foreign Secretary Lord Cameron and Defence Secretary Grant Shapps. 

Alliance for Responsible Citizenship (ARC). September, 2023. The Green Gamble: The Geopolitics of Net Zero.

Council on Geostrategy, 2021. How ‘progressive’ anti-imperialism threatens the United Kingdom.

Royal United Services Institute (RUSI). 2014. Bridging the Gulf? America's 'Pivot' and the Middle East Challenge it Poses for the UK's Strategic Defence and Security Review.

Royal United Services Institute (RUSI). 2013. Goodbye America?: Transatlantic Grand Strategy after the Financial Crisis. 



I was born in Hackney, East London in 1972. My dad was a signwriter, my mum a cleaner, secretary and librarian. I went to Daubeney and Raines Foundations Schools from the ages of 4 - 16: all 'inner city' state schools and am the first person in my family to have gone to University. I left home at 17 and did lots of odd jobs with the high point working in Hackney dole office signing people on during the 90s recession.


I finished my degree at London University in the late 1990s and left London when I was 24. I lived and worked in Bosnia, where I helped establish an NGO focussed on ethnic reconciliation in the still conflict prone town of Brcko. Whilst nearly killed on a number of occasions, it was a walk in the park compared to my formative years growing up in Hackney.


Upon returning to the UK I started my post-grad education, in the great city of Bristol, where I spent a very happy five years. Since then I've lived and moved across the UK, and have now ended back in the beautiful West Country--my favourite bit of the UK by a long way.

Past Appointments

September 2006-March 2013, SL/Reader in International Relations, University of Kent at Canterbury.

2008-2009, Guest lecturer, Science Po, France.

2005-2006, Lecturer in International Politics, Department of International Politics, City University, Northampton Square, London, EC1V OHB.

2003-2005, Lecturer in International Politics, Department of International Politics, University of Wales, Aberystwyth.

2000-2002, Associate Lecturer for British Army ‘Short Courses’, Bristol University.


ESRC post-Doctoral fellowship, 2004-2005.

Ph.D (ESRC funded) in International Relations,University of Bristol, 2000-2003.

MSc in International Development, University of Bristol, 1998-1999.

BSc University of London,1994-97.



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