Politics and International Relations


Ruth joined the School in 2007. Her research focuses on a range of issues across the areas of international security, terrorism and political violence, and the global governance of human rights. Her interests include US power, imperialism, US and UK foreign policy, state violence and terrorism, and torture. She is particularly interested in the relationship between the evolution of the international political economy and state violence. These interests lead her to frequently engage with questions on the potential of human rights norms and laws as vehicles for political and social change.

Through The Rendition Project, funded by the UK’s Economic and Social Research Council, Ruth’s team have provided the most detailed analysis of the CIA’s Rendition, Detention and Interrogation programme to date, disseminated through an extensive and innovative project website that houses the world’s only comprehensive database of flights known or suspected to have been involved in rendition, as well as the world’s only complete database of rendition prisoners, including details of their journeys through the global rendition system, their treatment and torture, and information on their fate and whereabouts. Described by the Guardian as ‘a ground-breaking research project which sheds unprecedented light on one of the most controversial secret operations of recent years’, the research has been used by human rights litigators in cases before the European Court of Human Rights and African Commission, defense attorneys representing Guantánamo Bay detainees, and by NGOs in their investigation and advocacy work. Ruth has also given evidence to on-going investigations into rendition and prisoner abuse by Police Scotland and by the UK’s Parliamentary Intelligence and Security Committee.

Ruth has published in leading journals, and is author of State Terrorism and Neoliberalism: The North in the South (London: Routledge, 2009). She is the Lead Editor of the Review of International Studies, a journal of the British International Studies Association (BISA), published by Cambridge University Press.

Ruth has held several leadership positions at the University of Kent, including Head of School of Politics and International Relations (2016), Sub-Dean and Director of Graduate Studies for the Faculty of Social Sciences (2012-2015), and member of the Management Committee of the South East ESRC Doctoral Training Centre (2012-2015). She also plays an active role in the wider Social Sciences community. She was a member of the Board of Trustees of the British International Studies Association (2010-2012) and then elected Secretary (2012-2015). She has served on ESRC award panels for research grants and doctoral training partnerships. As an LFHE Aurora Champion (2013-2016), she has supported the leadership development of women in academia and raised the importance of addressing the gender imbalances across the sector.

Ruth has supervised eight PhD students to completion, and is currently supervising a further three. She is interested in supervising projects in the fields of Human Rights, US foreign policy, Critical Security Studies and Critical Terrorism Studies.

Contact Information


Rutherford N4.E2

Academic office hours are available on

Available for: TV Press Radio Consultancy Expertise: US foreign and security policy State violence and terrorism Human rights Rendition, secret detention and torture Languages: Spanish (degree level) French (degree level)

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Also view these in the Kent Academic Repository

Internet publication
Blakeley, R. and Raphael, S. (2012). The Rendition Project [Website]. Available at: http://www.therenditionproject.org.uk.
Blakeley, R. (2009). State Terrorism and Neoliberalism: The North in the South. [Online]. Abingdon: Routledge. Available at: http://www.routledgestrategicstudies.com/books/State-Terrorism-and-Neoliberalism-isbn9780415462402.
Datasets / databases
Raphael, S. and Blakeley, R. (2013). The Rendition Flights Database. [Website]. Available at: http://www.therenditionproject.org.uk/global-rendition/the-flights/index.html.
Blakeley, R. (2013). Review: The Politics of Prisoner Abuse: The United States and Enemy Prisoners after 9/11. Journal of Human Rights 12:277-281.
Blakeley, R. (2011). Review: Why Not Torture Terrorists. International Journal of Human Rights [Online] 15:644-646. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13642987.2011.569254.
Blakeley, R. (2009). Review: Guantánamo North: Terrorism and the Administration of Justice in Canada. Labour/Le Travail [Online] 64:239-241. Available at: http://www.lltjournal.ca/index.php/llt/article/view/5591/6454.
Book section
Blakeley, R. and Raphael, S. (2016). Western State Terrorism. in: Jackson, R. ed. The Routledge Handbook of Critical Terrorism Studies. Abingdon, Oxfordshire: Routledge, pp. 159-169. Available at: https://www.routledge.com/9780415743761.
Raphael, S. and Blakeley, R. (2016). Rendition in the "War on Terror". in: Jackson, R. ed. The Routledge Handbook of Critical Terrorism Studies. Abingdon, Oxfordshire: Routledge, pp. 181-189. Available at: https://www.routledge.com/products/9780415743761.
Blakeley, R. and Raphael, S. (2013). Governing Human Rights: Rendition, Secret Detention and Torture in the "War on Terror". in: Williams, D. and Harman, S. eds. Governing the World? The Practice of Global Governance. London: Routledge. Available at: http://www.routledge.com/books/details/9780415690416/.
Blakeley, R. (2012). State Violence as State Terrorism. in: Breen-Smyth, M. ed. The Ashgate Research Companion to Political Violence. London: Ashgate, pp. 63-78.
Blakeley, R. (2012). Elite Interviews. in: Shepherd, L. J. ed. Critical Approaches to Security: An introduction to theories and methods. London: Routledge, pp. 158-168. Available at: http://www.routledge.com/books/details/9780415680165/.
Blakeley, R. (2009). State Terrorism in the Social Sciences: Theories, Methods and Concepts. in: Jackson, R., Murphy, E. and Poynting, S. eds. Contemporary State Terrorism: Theory and Practice. Abingdon: Routledge, pp. 12-27. Available at: http://www.routledge.com/books/details/9780415498012/.
Conference or workshop item
Blakeley, R. and Raphael, S. (2014). Insulating Universal Human Rights from the 'Ethical Foreign Policy' Threat. in: European Consortium for Political Research Annual Conference.. Available at: http://www.ecpr.eu/Events/SectionList.aspx?EventID=14.
Blakeley, R. and Rapahel, S. (2014). Perpetual Impunity: Lessons learned from the global system of rendition and secret detention. in: British International Studies Association Annual Conference.
Blakeley, R. and Raphael, S. (2013). Dirty Little Secrets: State and Corporate Complicity in Rendition, Secret Detention and Torture. in: British International Studies Association Annual Conference.. Available at: http://www.bisa.ac.uk/index.php?option=com_bisa&task=view_public_papers&Itemid=126&search_criteria=¤t_year=2013.
Blakeley, R. and Raphael, S. (2012). Preventing Rendition and Torture by Mapping the Global System of Rendition and Proxy Detention. in: International Studies Association Annual Convention.. Available at: http://www.isanet.org/Conferences/San-Diego-2012.
Blakeley, R. and Raphael, S. (2012). Inter-state terrorism in the 21st Century: Mapping the Evolution of the Global Rendition System. in: British International Studies Association Annual Conference.. Available at: http://www.bisa.ac.uk/files/Permanent%20Files/conference%20programme%202012.pdf.
Blakeley, R. (2017). Drones, State Terrorism and International Law. Critical Studies on Terrorism.
Blakeley, R. and Raphael, S. (2016). British Torture in the 'War on Terror'. European Journal of International Relations [Online]:1-24. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1354066116653455.
Raphael, S. et al. (2015). Tracking rendition aircraft as a way to understand CIA secret detention and torture in Europe. International Journal of Human Rights [Online] 20:78-103. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13642987.2015.1044772.
Blakeley, R. (2013). Human rights, state wrongs, and social change: the theory and practice of emancipation. Review of International Studies [Online] 39:599-619. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0260210512000186.
Blakeley, R. (2011). Torture? Us? Socialist Lawyer [Online] 57:23-23. Available at: http://www.haldane.org/socialist-lawyer/socialist-lawyer/SocialistLawyer57.pdf.
Blakeley, R. (2011). Dirty Hands, Clean Conscience? The CIA Inspector General's Investigation of "Enhanced Interrogation Techniques" in the War on Terror and the Torture Debate. Journal of Human Rights [Online] 10:544-561. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/14754835.2011.619406.
Blakeley, R. (2010). Liberal Democracies and the Globalisation of State Terrorism in the 21st Century. Critical Studies on Terrorism [Online] 3:169-172. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/17539153.2010.491314.
Blakeley, R. (2010). British Troops Use Torture - Even if it is by another name. The Guardian [Online] 2010:1-1. Available at: http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/libertycentral/2010/nov/03/british-troops-use-torture.
Showing 25 of 35 total publications in KAR. [See all in KAR]
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Research Interests

Research Interests

  • US foreign and security policy
  • State Violence and State Terrorism
  • Torture
  • US-Latin American Relations
  • The neoliberalisation of the Global South

Current Projects

Ruth is currently working on a book project, provisionally entitled States of Impunity, which will undertake a detailed study of impunity as enjoyed by powerful liberal democratic states, both historically and since the beginning of the 21st century.

She continues to work on The Rendition Project funded by the ESRC, which examines the Globalisation of Rendition and Secret Detention in the US-led War on Terror.

A third and related project is aimed at examining how incarceration and punishment have evolved as a result of the ways in which states have dealt with terror suspects since 2001.

Research Supervision

Ruth is interested in supervising PhD students in the fields of US foreign and security policy, state violence and terrorism, Critical Security Studies and Critical Terrorism Studies, Human Rights, and US-Latin American Relations.

Anisa Heritage (Second Supervisor)
PhD in International Relations
US Grand Strategy and Its Strategic Pivot towards Asia 

Juuso Miettunen
PhD in International Relations
Challenging Neoliberalism: Exploring the connection between the internal organisation of a social movement to its contribution on the social and economic framework

Ciaran Tyler
PhD in International Relations
The history and evolution of state guided false-flags and their effect on international and domestic politics

Tom Watts
PhD in International Relations
Drone$: The Obama Administration's unmanned turn in the exercise of American Power and the re-constitution of the Military Industrial Complex

Gwen Wordingham
PhD in International Relations
To what extent do emerging discourses of non-sovereignty affect the defence of universal human rights law, when considered in the context of recent interventionary and civil conflicts?

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Last Updated: 23/03/2017

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