Dr Irene Fernandez-Molina
BA (Seville), MA (UCM), PhD (UCM)
Lecturer in International Relations
I am a Lecturer in International Relations at the University of Exeter, which I joined in 2015. My research deals with the international relations of the Global South, subalternity and southern agency, foreign policies of dependent and/or authoritarian states, conflicts (frozen conflicts, contested/unrecognised states) and constructivist IR theory (international socialisation, recognition), with a regional focus on North Africa, as well as EU foreign policy and Euro-Mediterranean relations.
I am a fellow of the UK Higher Education Academy and a visiting professor at the College of Europe, Bruges campus. I have also coordinated the MA Politics and International Relations of the Middle East at Exeter from 2015 to 2018.
I was previously a lecturer in Middle East Politics at Exeter, a research fellow at the European Neighbourhood Policy Chair of the College of Europe, Natolin campus (Warsaw), a Schuman fellow at the Directorate-General for External Policies of the European Parliament (Brussels) and a PhD research fellow at the Complutense University of Madrid. I obtained my PhD in Political Science/International Relations with a thesis on Moroccan foreign policy which led me to conduct fieldwork and stay as a visiting research fellow at various centres in Morocco (Centre Jacques Berque, Institut Marocain des Relations Internationales-IMRI) and France (Institut de Recherche sur le Monde Arabe et Musulman-IREMAM).
The projects I have been lately working on deal with the international and transnational politics of recognition in civil wars (Libya, funded by a British Academy/Leverhulme Small Research Grant for 2019-2020) and frozen conflicts (Western Sahara), the diplomatic practices of contested/unrecognised states, the political economy-foreign policy link in contexts of neoliberal subalternity and the migration-foreign policy nexus in migration transit countries in the European neighbourhood (Morocco vs. Jordan).
Research group links
- Department of Politics
- Centre of Advanced International Studies
- Centre for Elections, Media & Participation
- International relations of the Global South
- Subalternity and southern agency
- Foreign policy analysis
- Foreign policies of dependent and/or authoritarian states
- Political economy-foreign policy link in contexts of neoliberal subalternity
- Migration-foreign policy nexus (migration diplomacy) in migration transit countries
- International cooperation of authoritarian regimes
- International socialisation (and international socialisation in reverse)
- International/transnational recognition
- International practices, diplomatic practices
- Frozen conflicts
- Contested/unrecognised states
- North Africa/Maghreb
- EU foreign policy
- European Neighbourhood Policy
- Euro-Mediterranean relations
I am happy to consider PhD supervision on any topic related to my research interests.
I am currently first or second supervisor to the following PhD students:
- Robert Stewart - 'From Persecution to Participation and Power: The Organisational Survival of Tunisia's Ennahdha Party'
- Labiba Elias Shayebhilal - 'State-building under Occupation as a Path to Statehood: The Case of Palestine'
- Meriem Naili - 'Human Rights Law and International Conflict Irresolution: Challenging the UN Peacekeeping Mechanisms through a Study of the UN Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara'
External impact and engagement
My research has led me to engage with practitioners and policymakers from the European External Action Service (training on the southern dimension of the European Neighbourhood Policy), the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (briefing seminars for ambassador designates to some North African countries), non-profit organisations such as Search for Common Ground and CITpax (Task Force on Western Sahara), as well as various think tanks.
I have written reports and policy papers on North African politics and international relations for EuroMeSCo (Euro-Mediterranean Study Commission), Fundación Alternativas, IEMed (European Institute of the Mediterranean), the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, the Gulf Research Center, the European Parliament (Directorate-General for External Policies, Policy Department), OPEMAM Election Watch and CIDOB (Barcelona Centre for International Affairs).
- POL2051 - War and Peace in the Middle East
- POL2084 - European Union Foreign Policy
- POL3088 - Forced Migration, Refugees and International Relations
- POLM082 - International Relations of the Middle East