David's broad research agenda concerns UK foreign relations in the Global South, exploring continuities with the days of formal empire. He is a specialist on UK foreign relations in the Middle East. His monograph "AngloArabia: Why Gulf Wealth Matters To Britain" is the only book-length study of the modern political economy of Britain’s ties with the states of the Gulf Cooperation Council (Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, the UAE and Oman).
Following publication of “AngloArabia”, David's subsequent research examined the changing ways in which 'orientalist' discourses and subjectivities among policymaking elites serve to maintain the political economy of UK-Gulf relations. The results of this work were set out in his 2021 article for Politics, “The myth of the reforming monarch: Orientalism, racial capitalism, and UK support for the Arab Gulf monarchies”.
David has a long relationship with SOAS, completing his PhD here in 2017 and returning for a spell as a Senior Teaching Fellow in the spring of 2021. He is currently a Post-Doctoral Research Associate within the department, examining the UK’s support for the Saudi-led intervention in Yemen's civil war that commenced in 2015.
David is also currently a Teaching Fellow in the Department of Politics and International Relations at the University of Southampton, where he runs modules on the International Politics of the Middle East, International Political Economy, Security Theory, and Theories of International Relations. He has previously held similar roles at SOAS, Birkbeck and Royal Holloway, running modules on US Foreign Policy, Non-State Violence, International Political Theory and the Political Economy of the Middle East.
David is an experienced commentator and broadcaster, appearing regularly on media such as Sky News, LBC, and BBC TV and radio, providing analysis on UK-Gulf relations and the international relations of the Middle East more broadly. He has written numerous comment and analysis pieces on these and other issues for outlets including the New York Times, the Guardian, the Independent, Tribune, New Humanist, and the London Review of Books.