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Photo of Dr Brieg Powel

Dr Brieg Powel

Senior Lecturer in International Relations


My research and teaching explores the 'international' and the effects of relations between human polities upon it and on other communities. This includes the study of long-term historical processes from decentred global perspectives, expanding our knowledge of international relations through historical sociology and from interdisciplinary research. I also have a particular interest in links between warfare, politics, and society. I am currently co-convenor of the British International Studies Association's working group on Historical Sociology in International Relations.

I have previously held academic positions at the University of Plymouth and at Aberystwyth University, and worked for a year in Madrid. I am bilingual in Welsh and English, have adavanced Frecnh and Spanish, and enough Farsi to teach children the basics of life.

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Research interests

My current research explores relations between human polities across the long term of human history, with a particular focus on how those relations shape and influence social actors, the international, and its structures. This stemmed from an interest in the role of warfare in socio-political change over the long term, and has expanded to consider the nature of the international at various points since the early Holocene. Linked to this is an interest in how history is used in International Relations (IR) scholarship, not least the very limited Euro- and Western-centric histories and the preoccupation with recent history evident in many of the discipline's canonical texts and coursebooks, and the constraints these place on effective theory-making. To this end, I draw on interdisciplinary scholarship and approaches to enrich IR's limited coverage of non-Western and deeper human pasts.

I have previously published on Tunisian and Middle Eastern politics, with a focus on Western democratization policies in the region.

Research supervision

I am particulalry happy to supervise research projects in the field of historical sociology, International Relations theory, strategic and security studies, and international relations in the Middle Eastern.


I rejoined the University of Exeter from the Department of International Politics, Aberystwyth University, in Spetember 2018. I previously worked at Plymouth University (2008-2012) and as a Teaching Fellow at Exeter (2007-8). I was awarded my PhD on EU democracy Promotion in Tunisia from Exeter in 2009.

I have also been a regular contributor in Welsh and English media productions, including commenting on international affairs, seucirty, and Middle Eastern politics for BBC Cymru and BBC Wales since 2004. I have contributed to many Welsh- and English-language television documentaries on subjects including the Vietnam and Korean Wars and the armed Welsh pro-independence campaign of MAC and the FWA in the 1960s. One of these productions, a documentary on the Welsh photographer Phillips Jones Griffiths with Rondo Media, won a Hollywood International Independent Documentary Awards for the best foreign feature in 2017 ( My dream of a documentary on the Anglo-Zulu War of 1879 is yet to be realised.

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