Patrick Vernon

Saving Civilians or Colonial Legacies? A Queer Analysis of House of Commons Debates on Humanitarian Intervention


Dr Emma Foster and Dr Nicki Smith

Patrick’s doctoral research explores House of Commons debates on humanitarian intervention, drawing upon queer and postcolonial concepts in particular. Unpacking the extent to which these debates reflect the endurance of a colonial mind-set, this project focuses on themes of racism and heteronormativity, rooted in dominant understandings of time as progress. Looking at the ways in which these temporal logics inform the debates in question (between 2011 and 2018), the project interrogates cultural figures such as ‘The Brutal Dictator’, ‘The ISIL Terrorist’ and ‘The (British) Self’ as representations of sexual and civilisational perversion and/or normality. Doing so, it aims to interrogate the ongoing coloniality of the British State, and to challenge understandings of world politics that are not attentive to the politics of sexuality or racism.

Short Biography

Patrick is currently exploring the heteronormative dimensions of mass violence and the responses to mass violence. In particular, he is interested in the ways in which cultural figures of adoration and/or hatred are deployed in order to mobilise violence. More broadly, he is interested in queer and postcolonial IR theory, post-truth politics and discourses/practices of sexuality, security and violence. He is a commissioning editor for E-International Relations and is a member of the POLSIS gender and feminist theory (GAFT) research group. 


  • B.A. (Hons) International Relations with Political Science (Class I), University of Birmingham
  • MRes Sexuality and Gender Studies, University of Birmingham

Research interests

  • Queer and postcolonial theory
  • Discourses of sexuality and violence in global politics
  • Critical security studies
  • Atrocity crimes and humanitarian intervention

Conference Papers

  • ‘A Queer Time to be Alive: Locating Humanitarian Intervention within the Sexual Politics of Modernity’, Millennium Annual Conference, LSE (online), 22nd October 2021.
  • ‘Queer Interventions in World Politics: Conflict, Coloniality and Sexuality, ESRC MGS 2021 Conference, 23rd June 2021, University of Birmingham.
  • ‘Queering Genocide: Drawing Links Between Feminist Genocide Studies and Queer IR’, International Feminist Journal of Politics Conference 2021, 17th-20th February 2021, online. 
  • Vernon P. (2019) Chair, ‘Keynote Discussion: Envisioned Engagements between Westminster and Sexuality and Gender Academia’, featuring Dr Emma Foster and Jess Phillips MP, 2019 ROLES Conference, 9th May 2019, University of Birmingham
  • Vernon P. (2019) ‘Queering Genocide: Heteronormative Narratives and ‘Doing Sex’ in Myanmar’, 2019 ROLES Conference, 9th May 2019, University of Birmingham
  • Vernon P. (2019) ‘Queering Genocide: Heteronormative Narratives and ‘Doing Sex’ in Myanmar’, 2019ASA Conference: Anthropological Contributions to Humanitarian Intervention, Friday 6th September 2019, University of East Anglia,

Journal Articles

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