Professor Ruth Blakeley

Professor Blakeley has been at the University of Sheffield since 2017, and took up the post of Vice-President and Head of Faculty of Social Sciences in June 2024. She holds a Chair in Politics and International Relations.

Professor Ruth Blakeley

Vice President and Head of Faculty of Social Sciences

Ruth has served as Director of the White Rose Doctoral Training Partnership for Social Sciences, Head of Department of Politics and International Relations, and Director of Research and Innovation for the Faculty of Social Sciences. 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. Ruth was co-director (with Sam Raphael, University of Westminster) of The Rendition Project, funded by an Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) grant, which provides the most comprehensive analysis to date of the CIA’s Rendition, Detention and Interrogation programme. Her research has been used in litigation on behalf of torture victims in the US Supreme Court, European Court of Human Rights, and the Guantánamo Bay Military Commissions. 

Ruth has given evidence to government inquiries and consultations, including the Intelligence and Security Committee Inquiry into Detainee Mistreatment and Rendition, 2001-2010, and the Investigatory Powers Commissioner Consultation on Consolidated Guidance to Intelligence Officers and Service Personnel on the Detention and Interviewing of Detainees Overseas, and on the Passing and Receipt of Intelligence Relating to Detainees (2018). Her work has informed litigation on behalf of victims of rendition and torture in the European Court of Human Rights, the African Commission, and at the Military Tribunals at Guantanamo Bay. Leading human rights NGOs have regularly worked with Ruth to use her research to enhance their advocacy work. Ruth’s research and collaboration have played a central role in exposing the extent of US and UK collusion in torture and the failures of human rights accountability. This was acknowledged by the UK Intelligence and Security Committee and the United Nations, which has called for an urgent inquiry into UK complicity in CIA torture. The UK High Court drew directly on the research to rule in favour of a judicial review of the UK government’s refusal to allow an independent inquiry into UK collusion in torture. 

Ruth was Vice Chair then Chair of the British International Studies Association (BISA), 2019-2023. She was lead editor of Review of International Studies (2016-2020). She is a member of the editorial advisory board for several journals.