Dr Helen Turton
Lecturer in International Politics and Security Studies
Deputy Director of Recruitment
Telephone: +44 (0)114 222 1663
Room: Elmfield 129
Dr Helen Louise Turton joined the Department of Politics as a Lecturer in September 2015. She previously worked as a University Teacher at the University of Sheffield, and the University of Exeter. Dr Turton holds a PhD in International Relations from the University of Exeter, which was awarded in 2013.
Dr Turton’s research interests lie in the intersection of the sociology of knowledge and security studies. Her work focuses on how knowledge is produced, embodied and practiced, specifically how knowledge of sexual violence is generated by academics and NGOs. Turton’s work also centres on methodological innovation and in particular the use of co-production and artistic methods in social sciences.
I employ teaching methods that encourage students to develop their independence of thought, and to challenge conventional wisdom while making students aware of their constitutive and agential roles in the realm of world politics. I am committed to thinking of innovative pedagogical practices, and I ensure that my teaching methods vary from seminar to seminar. I also make sure that each session is grounded or explored through different empirical sites. I believe the linking of theory to praxis to be incredibly important and instrumental for students at all levels. Not only does engagement with the ‘real world’ highlight the role of academic knowledge, it also encourages students to reflect on their own practices and agency.
I currently convene the following modules:
I am happy to supervise in areas related to critical approaches to IR theory, the sociology of IR, the sociology of knowledge and sexual violence in armed conflict. I am particularly keen to work with research students focusing on:
I am currently supervising the following students:
My research broadly focuses on issues pertaining to the sociology of knowledge. I look at how knowledge is produced, embodied and practiced by different actors and structures, with a particular focus on methodological innovation, the ethics of research and sexual violence in armed conflict. Overall, I look at the politics of knowledge production.
My current research centres on the following three projects:
The Long-Term Consequences of Sexual Violence in Armed Conflict
This project looks at how knowledge of sexual violence is generated by academics and NGOs, and how there is limited existing knowledge about the long-term consequences of sexual violence in conflict settings. This project maps the maps the multi-level and multi-layered consequences of conflict-related sexual violence. By addressing how such knowledge is generated, and developing co-productive methods of research to assess the individual and societal impacts, this project aims to discover what services should be available and what support is needed.
The Sociology of IR
My work in the sociology of IR explores the movement of ideas within the discipline, the identity and composition of different national IR communities, the dominant global trends within IR, and empirically investigates different sites of knowledge production and exchange to interrogate widely held assumptions in the field. The aim of this research is to reveal hidden hierarchies of knowledge by challenging the boundaries of the ‘core’ and ‘periphery’ in IR and though looking at exactly what academics do in practice as opposed to descriptions of academic activity.
Peace and Reconciliation in Colombia
This project seeks to explore the disjuncture between the formal Colombian Peace Agreement and the daily realities of life for individuals and communities in Colombia, to facilitate and amplify local expertise and agency in moving towards peace and reconciliation in those communities. This project is based on Participatory Action Research using participatory video and photo projects, as well as participatory focus groups. In particular I will assessing the Peace Accord’s commitment to ‘truth and justice for victims’ of sexual violence.
Externally Funded Research Projects:
Awarding Body: Newton RCUK-Colciencias Research Partnership
Helen Louise Turton, International Relations and American Dominance (London: Routledge, 2017)
Helen Louise Turton et al., Reappraising European IR Theoretical Traditions (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2017)
Helen Louise Turton and Lucas G. Freire, ‘Peripheral Possibilities: Revealing Originality and Encouraging Dialogue through a Reconsideration of ‘Marginal’ Scholarship’ Journal of International Relations and Development, 19(4), 2016.
Helen Louise Turton, ‘The Importance of Re-Affirming IR’s Disciplinary Status’ International Relations, 29(2), 2015