Dr Nicola Smith

Dr Nicola Smith

Department of Political Science and International Studies
Associate Professor in Political Science
Deputy Head of Department

Contact details

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

Nicola Smith is a political economist working on feminist and queer theory, neoliberalism and austerity, sex work and reproductive labour, and the history of the British body politic.

Feedback and office hours

You can book an appointment with Nicki during her office hours via the Doodle poll.


  • PhD Political Science (Birmingham)
  • MA Research Methods (Political Science) (Birmingham)


Nicola Smith's research focuses on the intersections between feminist political economy and queer theory, and her publications span topics such as sex work, body politics, austerity, and neoliberal discourse. She is co-convenor of the International Political Economy (IPEG) working group of the British International Studies Association. In 2015 her article with Donna Lee on 'What's Queer About Political Science' was the Runner-Up for the Best Article Prize from the British Journal of Politics and International Relations. Her book, Capitalism's Sexual History (Oxford University Press, 2020), was shortlisted for the BISA Susan Strange Best Book Prize, and the BISA IPEG Book Prize, and the PSA Mackenzie Book Prize.

Nicola Smith teaches on global politics, international political economy, and feminist and queer theory, and in 2013 she was awarded the College of Social Sciences Award for Outstanding Performance in Teaching and Support of Student Learning. She has supervised a number of PhD projects to successful completion and in 2016 was Highly Commended for the College of Social Science's Award for Excellence in Doctoral Supervision. Nicola is currently Deputy Head of Department and Postgraduate Director for POLSIS.



  • Theories of Global Politics (first year)
  • Problems in World Politics (final year)


  • Globalisation and Governance (Pols G79)


Feminist political economy

Queer theory


British politics

Sex work


Neoliberal discourse

Body politics


Other activities

Other professional appointments

  • 2016-present: External Examiner (Politics, UG programmes), University of Sheffield
  • 2015-present: Co-Convenor of the Sex Work Research Hub
  • 2013-present: External Examiner (International Relations, PG programmes), University of Bristol
  • 2011-15: External Examiner (Politics, UG programmes), Oxford Brookes University
  • 2009-12: Co-Convenor of the Centre for Sex Work Research and Policy (CSWRP) UK
  • 2006-present: Editorial Associate of the journal 'British Politics'
  • 2007-10: Co-Director (with Donna Lee) of the BISA Working Group on Small States
  • 2005-08: Membership Secretary of the Global Studies Association

Member of the British International Studies Association and the Political Studies Association; associate member of the Higher Education Academy.


Recent publications


Smith, N 2020, Capitalism’s sexual history. Oxford Studies in Gender and International Relations, Oxford University Press. https://doi.org/10.1093/oso/9780197530276.001.0001

Laing, M, Pilcher, K & Smith, N 2015, Queer Sex Work. Taylor & Francis, London. https://doi.org/10.4324/9780203761960


Kingston, S & Smith, N 2020, 'Sex counts: an examination of sexual service advertisements in a UK online directory', British Journal of Sociology, vol. 71, no. 2, pp. 328-348. https://doi.org/10.1111/1468-4446.12727

Williams, H & Smith, N 2017, 'Feedback: Critiquing Practice, Moving Forward', European Political Science, vol. 16, no. 2, pp. 159–178. https://doi.org/10.1057/eps.2015.99

Smith, N & Williams, H 2017, 'Introduction: Rethinking Assessment and Feedback', European Political Science, vol. 16, no. 2, pp. 127–134. https://doi.org/10.1057/eps.2015.100

Cameron, A, Smith, N & Tepe, D 2016, 'Household Wastes: Disciplining the Family in the Name of Austerity', British Politics, vol. 11, no. 4, pp. 396-417. https://doi.org/10.1057/s41293-016-0035-3

Smith, NJ & Lee, D 2015, 'What's Queer About Political Science?', British Journal of Politics and International Relations, vol. 17, no. 1, pp. 49-63. https://doi.org/10.1111/1467-856X.12037


Gore, E & Smith, N 2023, Sexual Injustice. in JCW Pevehouse & L Seabrooke (eds), The Oxford Handbook of International Political Economy . 1 edn, Oxford Handbooks, Oxford University Press, New York. https://doi.org/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780198793519.013.51

Smith, N 2018, Queer theory and feminist political economy. in J Elias & A Roberts (eds), Handbook on the International Political Economy of Gender. Handbooks of Research on International Political Economy series, Edward Elgar, Cheltenham, pp. 102-112. <https://www.e-elgar.com/shop/handbook-on-the-international-political-economy-of-gender>

Smith, N 2017, (Dis)embodied Methodology in International Political Economy. in J Montgomerie (ed.), Critical Methods in Cultural and Political Economy. RIPE Series in Global Political Economy, Routledge.

Smith, N 2016, The Global Political Economy of Sex Work. in J Steans & D Tepe (eds), The Handbook on Gender in World Politics. Edward Elgar.

Smith, N 2016, Toward a Queer Political Economy of Crisis. in AA Hozic & J True (eds), Scandalous Economics: Gender and the Politics of Financial Crisis . Oxford Studies in Gender and International Relations, Oxford University Press. https://doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190204235.003.0013

Smith, N, Laing, M & Pilcher, K 2015, Being, Thinking and Doing “Queer’ in Debates About Commercial Sex. in N smith, M Laing & K pilcher (eds), Queer Sex Work . 1st edn, Routledge Studies in Crime and Society, no. 14, Routledge.

Smith, N 2015, Queer in/and Sexual Economies. in N Smith, M Laing & K Pilcher (eds), Queer Sex Work . Routledge studies in crime and society, no. 14, Routledge.

Special issue

Smith, N & Lee, D 2015, 'Corporeal Capitalism: The Body in International Political Economy', Global Society, vol. 29, no. 1, pp. 64-69. https://doi.org/10.1080/13600826.2014.976608

View all publications in research portal


  • Sex work
  • Queer & trans* politics
  • Anti-globalisation

Media experience

  • BBC Five Live (on male escorting in the UK)
  • The Voice of Russia (on students who sell sex)