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Associate Professor in the School of Government and International AffairsIM117, Al Qasimi Building+44 (0) 191 33 45687


Oliver Belcher's research is at the intersection of political philosophy, geography, and global environmental politics. He has a long-standing interest in the technological dimensions of American imperialism, especially the history of computing and social sciences in the Vietnam and Afghanistan wars.

His current research focuses primarily on the politics of science in Hannah Arendt's political philosophy. 

With colleagues at Lancaster University's Environmental Centre (LEC), he is engaged in a long-term project on the role of military emissions in global environmental change. 

Oliver's research has been funded by the British Academy and ESRC.

Current Projects:

  • Hannah Arendt and the Politics of Science and Nature

This project interrogates the politics of science and nature in the works of Hannah Arendt. It builds on the work initially undertaken with Dr Jeremy Schmidt (Durham University) on Arendt's unique take on science as political action in the late-modern world, and published in Environment and Planning D: Society and Space. Arendt's approach to 'nature' is equally novel, as it informs - often in a negative sense - all of the major categories of her political theory (freedom, action, process praxis v. poeisis, etc.). This book project will be the first systematic treatment of science and nature across the span of Arendt's oeuvre

  • Hidden Carbon Costs of Global US Military Operations

This ESRC-funded project (2021-2023) examines the US military as a major climate actor, and its oversized institutional role in producing carbon emissions and global environmental change. I am working with Ben Neimark (Lancaster) and Kirsti Ashworth (Lancaster) to combine the insights of political ecology with those of critical geopolitics to examine the material-ecological metabolic flows (e.g., hydrocarbon-based fuels, concrete, water, sand) enacted through US military supply chains. This research draws hitherto unexplored links between critical logistics and supply studies, geopolitics, and political ecology with the purpose of setting forth a new research agenda in geopolitical ecology.

Editorial Board:

Environment and Planning C: Politics and Space


PhD, University of British Columbia (2014)

MA, University of Kentucky (2007)

BA, University of Kentucky (2005)

Research interests

  • Hannah Arendt
  • Marxist International Relations
  • Political Theory
  • Critical Infrastructure and Supply Studies
  • Climate Politics

Esteem Indicators

  • 2020: Mahoney Prize, The Special Interest Group for Computing, Information, and Society (SIGCIS): Received for “Sensing, Territory, Population: Computation, Embodied Sensors, and Hamlet Control in the Vietnam War,” Security Dialogue 50.5, 416-436 (2019).

    The ;Mahoney Prize ;recognizes an outstanding article in the history of computing and information technology, broadly conceived.

  • 2019: Virginie Mamadouh Outstanding Research Award, Political Geography Specialty Group, American Association of Geographers: Received for ;“Anatomy of a Village Razing: Counterinsurgency, Violence, and Securing the Intimate in Afghanistan” (Political Geography 2018)


Chapter in book

Journal Article

Supervision students