Dr Oliver Belcher
Deputy Director of Combined Honours
|Deputy Director of Combined Honours in the Faculty of Social Sciences and Health|
|Associate Professor in the School of Government and International Affairs||IM117, Al Qasimi Building||+44 (0) 191 33 45687|
Oliver Belcher's research is at the intersection of political theory, 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.
With colleagues at Queen Mary and Lancaster University's Environmental Centre (LEC), he is engaged in a long-term project on the role of military emissions in global environmental change. This research has been featured in Wired Magazine, Newsweek, The Conversation, Scientific American, Time Magazine, The Guardian, and several other media outlets.
Oliver's research has been funded by the British Academy and ESRC.
- 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 Dr Ben Neimark (Queen Mary), Dr Kirsti Ashworth (Lancaster), and the Conflict and Environment Observatory, to combine the insights of political ecology with those of critical geopolitics to examine the carbon costs of hydrocarbon-based fuels, concrete, water, sand that flow through US military supply chains. At COP26 in Glasgow, we launched militaryemissions.org. Check it out!
- Military Carceral Logics from Vietnam to Afghanistan
This British-Academy funded book project interrogates the carceral logics of the US military in the postwar period. The book focuses on the history of prisoner interrogation from Korea and Vietnam, to Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo; the US military's strategic hamlet program and hamlet evaluation system in the Vietnam war; the walling of Baghdad; and the destruction and rebuilding of villages by the US military in Afghanistan.
Environment and Planning C: Politics and Space
PhD, University of British Columbia (2014)
MA, University of Kentucky (2007)
BA, University of Kentucky (2005)
- Critical Theory
- Carceral Geographies
- Political Theory
- Climate Politics
- 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)
- 2012: The Antipode Graduate Student Scholarship Winner: The Best-Laid Schemes: Postcolonialism, Military Social Science, and the Making of US Counterinsurgency Doctrine, 1947–2009
- Belcher, Oliver (2022). Greening National Security: The Pentagon, Climate Change, and War by Neta C Crawford. Science 377(6613): 1389.
- (2020). "The Eye of War, Review by Oliver Belcher". Environment & Planning D
Chapter in book
- Bigger, P., Belcher, O., Kennelly, C. & Neimark, B. (2021). 'The Carbon Bootprint of the US Military and Prospects for a Safer Climate'. In Negotiating Climate Change in Crisis. Bohm, S. & Sullivan, S. Open Book Publishers. 53-61.
- Belcher, O & Martin, L (2019). The Problem of Access: Site Visits, Selective Disclosure, and Freedom of Information in Qualitative Security Research. In Secrecy and Methods in Security Research: A Guide to Qualitative Fieldwork. de Goede, M, Bosma, E & Pallister-Wilkins, P Abingdon, Oxon.: Routledge. 33-47.
- Belcher, O (2017). "Peacekeeping". In The International Encyclopedia of Geography: People, the Earth, Environment, and Technology. Richardson, D, Castree, N, Goodchild, M, Kobayashi, A, Liu, W & Marston, R Wiley-Blackwell. 1-3.
- Belcher, O (2016). "Data Anxieties: Objectivity and Difference in Early Vietnam War Computing". In Algorithmic Life: Calculative Devices in a Digital Age. Amoore, L & Piotukh, V Routledge. 127-142.
- Samers, M, Bigger, P & Belcher, O (2015). "To Build Another World: Activism in Light of Marxist Geographical Thought". In Approaches to Human Geography. Aitken, S & Valentine, G Sage. 344-360.
- Belcher, O (2015). "Tribal Militias, Neo-Orientalism, and the U.S. Military's Art of Coercion". In War, Police, and Assemblages of Intervention. Bachmann, J, Bell, C & Holmqvist, C Routledge. 109-125.
- Rajaeifar, Mohammad, Belcher, Oliver, Parkinson, Stuart, Neimark, Benjamin, Weir, Doug, Ashworth, Kirsti, Larbi, Reuben & Heidrich, Oliver (2022). Decarbonize the military — mandate emissions reporting. Nature 611: 29-32.
- Belcher, O. (2022). The Politics of Lost Objects. Political Geography 4-7.
- Belcher, Oliver & Schmidt, Jeremy J. (2021). Being Earthbound: Arendt, Process, and Alienation in the Anthropocene. Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 39(1): 103-120.
- Belcher, O, Neimark, B & Bigger, P (2020). The U.S. military is not sustainable. Science 367(6481): 989-990.
- Belcher, O, Bigger, P, Neimark, B & Kennelly, C (2020). Hidden carbon costs of the “everywhere war” Logistics, geopolitical ecology, and the carbon boot‐print of the US military. Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers 45(1): 65-80.
- Belcher, Oliver (2019). Sensing, territory, population: Computation, embodied sensors, and hamlet control in the Vietnam War. Security Dialogue 50(5): 416-436.
- Belcher, Oliver (2018). Anatomy of a village razing: Counterinsurgency, violence, and securing the intimate in Afghanistan. Political Geography 62: 94-105.
- Belcher, O & Tazzioli, M (2015). "Postcolonial Theory Now: an Interview with Ann Laura Stoler". Darkmatter Journal: In the Ruins of Empire 12(1).
- Belcher, O, Martin, L & Tazzioli, M (2015). "Border Struggles: Epistemologies, Ontologies, Politics". Darkmatter Journal: In the Ruins of Empire 12(1): 1-12.
- Belcher, O (2014). "Staging the Orient: Counterinsurgency Training Sites and the U.S. Military Imagination". Annals of the Association of American Geographers 104(5): 1012-1029.
- Belcher, O & Martin, L (2013). "Ethnographies of Closed Doors: Conceptualizing Openness and Closure in US Immigration and Military Institutions". Area 45(4): 403-410.
- Belcher, O (2012). "The Best-Laid Schemes: Postcolonialism, Military Social Science, and the Making of US Counterinsurgency Doctrine, 1947-2009". Antipode 44(1): 258-263.
- Belcher, O (2011). "The Occupied Palestinian Territories and Late-Modern Wars". Human Geography 4(1): 1-11.
- Belcher, O, Martin, L, Secor, A, Simon, S & Wilson, T (2008). "Everywhere and Nowhere: The Exception and the Topological Challenge to Geography". Antipode 40(4): 499-503.
- Belcher, O (2008). "The Ability to Look". disClosure: A Journal of Social Theory 17: 42-43.
- Belcher, O (2008). "Fatal Distraction: The Violent Materialities of Guantanamo Bay". Human Geography 1(2): 106-117.
- Weir, D., Neimark, B. & Belcher, O. (2021). “How the World’s Militaries Hide Their Huge Carbon Emissions.”. The Conversation
- Neimark, B., Belcher, O. & Bigger, P. (2019). “US military is a bigger polluter than as many as 140 countries – shrinking this war machine is a must.”. The Conversation