Department of International Relations

photo of Dan Watson

Dr Dan Watson

Post:Associate Tutor (International Relations)
Other posts:Postdoctoral Research Fellow (Geography, International Development)
Location:ARTS C
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Research interests: Civil wars, peacebuilding, post-conflict statebuilding, political economy of conflict, African politics, South Sudan

I am currently a postdoctoral research fellow working on the Horizon 2020 funded project ‘Violence, Elites and Resilience in States Under Stress’ (VERSUS). This project maps elite networks and their relationships to state institutions, exploring patterns of conflict, collusion, elite accommodation, and violence. The project aims to identify those elites who benefit from the existing political system; the mechanisms through which this system is reproduced; and the credible threats to the status quo.

My PhD - 'Militarised Post-Conflict Statebuilding: Explaining South Sudan's War-to-War Transition' - focused on the relationship between statebuilding, violence, and militarism in South Sudan. In my thesis, I concentrated on the military politics of South Sudan; their effects on the type of state being built around these military forces; and how politico-military rivalries played out across and subverted post-conflict security and institution-building instruments favoured by external donors.

I am interested in a number of dimensions of civil war and peacemaking, including peace processes; post-conflict statebuilding; Disarmament, Demobalisation and Reintegration; and Security Sector Reform, and how these intersect with patterns and forms of political violence.

I have previously convened the MA module 'Peace Processes and Post-Conflict Reconstruction' (IR), as well the international summer school module ‘Issues in International Security’. I have also taught a number of modules across the fields of International Relations and International Development, including the first-year modules 'Colonialism and After' (Development), 'The International System Today: Powers and Regions' (IR), and 'Global Issues' (IR); and the second-year modules 'War in International Politics' (IR), 'The Politics of Foreign Policy' (IR), 'Security & Insecurity in Global Politics' (IR) and 'Development and the State' (Development).

This year I am teaching the session on civil wars and post-conflict reconstruction for MA Contemporary African Issues - if you're taking this module and are interested in doing your essay on this topic, please email me and we can arrange a time to meet at, as I don't have regular office hours this term.


Postdoctoral researcher


BA Politics (University of Sussex); MA Conflict, Development and Security (University of Leeds); PhD International Relations (University of Sussex)