SOAS University of London

Department of Politics and International Studies

The rigorous, original and independent research carried out by SOAS’ Department of Politics and International Relations goes on to inform many constituencies and users, from government agencies to NGOS and corporate bodies.

We use the insights of our research to:

  • provide evidence to parliamentary bodies in order to promote better policy and influence legislative change;
  • advise decision-makers within government agencies, international organisations, NGOs, charities and corporate users;
  • offer up media analysis that brings non-western perspectives to a western audience;
  • collaborate strategically with partners whose research compliments our own; and
  • engage with commercial entities and companies in order to enact positive change in our regions.

We interact with external organisations and individuals in many different ways

  • collaborations with non-academic bodies to develop and deliver projects;
  • dynamic use of non-traditional media and social networking fora;
  • advisory roles with international agencies working on the ground in our regions; and
  • driving public debate via structured engagements with traditional forms of media

Challenging human rights abuses

Research by Dr Rahul Rao, Senior Lecturer in Politics, informs government and activist decision-making in different parts of the world in the wake of violation of human rights based on sexuality or gender identity.  For example, by focusing on the global politics of Christianity and the use of history, memory and ethnography, he is developing strategy for local activist responses to homophobia, contesting conservative claims that homosexuality is alien to Uganda. He has also provided country of origin reports on Uganda to assist the UK Immigration and Asylum Tribunal in adjudicating cases involving persons fleeing persecution on grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity. Read more about how SOAS researchers champion human rights...

Informing policy

The International Development Committee of the House of Commons has been advised by Matthew J Nelson, Reader in Politics, whose research challenges superficial accounts of the relationship between religious education and political violence in Pakistan and Bangladesh.  Through extensive fieldwork, in-country interviews and a careful study of education system in the countries, he has shown how religious ideas and political action - both peaceful and violent - are related.  His work has helped to inform governments and other organisations concerned with countering Islamic radicalisation through educational reform and targeted allocations of development aid. Read more...

Advocating local justice systems after conflict

A gacaca community court hearing in Rwanda. Photo: Public Radio International
Through his research on post-conflict accountability and reconciliation Dr Phil Clark, Reader in Comparative and International Politics, challenges the suitability of international judicial processes in Central Africa. Controversially, he has questioned the practices of the International Criminal Court, human rights groups and UN agencies, championing instead local, community-based practices which hold both high- and lower-level actors accountable. His work promoting forgiveness and enabling communities to heal themselves has drawn attention from governments and international agencies alike. Read more...

We work with

International agencies:

  • UN
  • ICC
  • EU
  • World Economic Forum
  • OECD
  • OPEC
  • IEA
  • International Energy Forum
  • NATO Parliamentary Assembly
  • ICRC
  • Commonwealth Secretariat


Governments and NGOs:

  • UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office
  • UK Home Office
  • GCHQ 
  • UK Parliament
  • DFID
  • British Army
  • RCDS
  • Mubarak al-Abdullah Joint Command and Staff College
  • Royal Danish Defence College
  • Swedish MFA
  • Irish MFA
  • Benghazi Transitional Council
  • International Transport Workers’ Federation
  • Nasawiyya Feminist Collective

Civil society organisations:

  • Médecins sans Frontières
  • Amnesty International
  • One Earth Future Foundation
  • Wiener Library

Our research themes

  • Political ethnography
  • Historical sociology
  • Mixed methods
  • Discourse analysis