Dr Emma Foster

Emma Foster

Department of Political Science and International Studies
Lecturer in International Politics and Gender

Contact details

Department of Political Science and International Studies
School of Government
Muirhead Tower
University of Birmingham
Edgbaston, Birmingham,
B15 2TT, United Kingdom

Emma Foster is a lecturer in international politics and gender. Emma’s research interests include Queer Theory, international sustainable development policy and development studies more broadly. She is currently researching the dynamics of constructions of gender in international environmental policy in relation to the economic crisis.

Dr Emma Foster is also a part of the Birmingham Plastics Network, an interdisciplinary team of more than 40 academics working together to shape the fate and sustainable future of plastics.  This unique team brings together chemists, environmental scientists, engineers, philosophers, linguists, economists, artists, writers, lawyers, and experts in many other fields, to holistically address the global plastics problem.


  • PhD Political Science (Birmingham)
  • BA Political Science (Queen Mary, University of London)


Emma received her PhD, on the Construction and Control of Gendered Bodies within Environmental Theory and Practice, from the University of Birmingham in 2008. From 2008 until 2012 she worked as a teaching fellow in the Departments of Sociology (2008-2010) and Political Science and International Studies (2010-2012). In 2012, Emma was appointed as a Lecturer in International Politics and Gender in the Department of Political Science and International Studies. During her career at Birmingham, Emma has been involved in student enhancement and is currently the Head of Academic Innovations for the School of Government and Society.


Emma convenes the third year undergraduate module Environment, Politics and Society as well as two Masters level modules, namely Sex, Death, Gender and (In)Security and Gender and Development. In addition, Emma contributes to the Gender and Sexuality MRes Programme delivered by the College of Arts and Law.

Emma supervises undergraduate and postgraduate dissertations, as well as MPhil and Doctoral students

Postgraduate supervision

Emma would welcome research students interested in researching the following topics:

  • Environmental Politics
  • Gender and International Development
  • Sexuality and International Development
  • Gender and Representation
  • Queer Theory


Emma is currently researching the dynamics of constructions of gender in international environmental policy in relation to the economic crisis. In addition, she is also researching the links between depoliticisation and Foucault’s conception of governmentality in relation to international and British politics. Beyond these research interests, Emma has been involved in a variety of projects which investigate learning and teaching (best) practice.



'Sustainable Development Policy in Britain: Shaping Conduct through Global Governmentality' in British Politics, Volume 3, Number 4 (2008)

'Problematising the Centrality of Gender in Environmental Governmentality' in Globalizations, Volume 8, Number 2 (2011)

(with C Byrne and P Kerr) 'Theorising Cameronism', Political Studies Review 9(2) (2011)

(with P Kerr, A Hopkins, C Byrne & L Ahall) 'The Personal is not Political: At Least in the UK's Top Politics and IR Departments', in British Journal of Politics and International Relations (2012)

(with F Nunan and A Campbell) 'Environmental mainstreaming: the organisational challenges of policy integration', in Public Administration and Development, Volume 32, Issue 3 (2012)

'Deconstructing International Sustainable Development and Population Policy Directives: The (Re)production of Sexual Norms through Environmental Discourses' in Gender, Place and Culture (2013)

(with P Kerr & C Byrne) 'Rolling Back to Roll Forward: Depoliticisation and the Extension of Government' in Policy and Politics, (forthcoming 2013/2014)

Book Chapters

'Gender and International Relations' for J. Haynes and L. Pettiford World Politics (Pearson, 2011)

(with C Byrne & P Kerr) 'Understanding Conservative Modernisation', in T Heppell & D Seawright (ed) Cameron and the Conservatives: The Transition to Coalition Government (Palgrave, 2012)

'Green Security' in , L. Shepherd and C Moore Critical Approaches to Security (eds.) (Routledge, 2012)

'Female Circumcision vs. Designer Vaginas: Surgical Genital Practices and the Discursive Reproduction of State Boundaries' in J. Dickenson, A. Cameron and N. Smith (eds.) Body/State (Ashgate, 2013)

'Environmental Politics and Ecology' in L. Shepherd (ed) Gender Matters in Global Politics (Routledge, forthcoming 2014

View all publications in research portal