Meera Sabaratnam

Meera Sabaratnam

Tutorial Fellow in Politics
Philosophy, Politics and Economics (PPE)
History and Politics
BA, PPE (Oxon); MSc and PhD, International Relations (LSE)

I am Associate Professor of International Relations and Tutorial Fellow in Politics at New College. Prior to joining DPIR in 2023, I worked at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London, the University of Cambridge and the London School of Economics (LSE), from where I received my MSc and PhD in International Relations. Some time before that, I read PPE at Balliol.

I am Chair (2023-2026) of the Academic Freedom Committee of the International Studies Association (ISA), and have previously served on committees for its Global Development Section, International Political Sociology Section and Theory Section. With Robbie Shilliam and Mustapha Kamal Pasha, I co-founded the Colonial / Postcolonial / Decolonial Working Group of the British International Studies Association, and we co-edit the Postcolonial International Studies book series at Manchester University Press. I serve on the editorial/advisory boards of International Studies Quarterly, Security Dialogue and the Cambridge Review of International Affairs, and am a former editor of Millennium: Journal of International Studies. I am an Associate of the Imperial War Museum Institute for the Public Understanding of Conflict. My work has been previously funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and the Leverhulme Trust.



I lecture on the undergraduate papers for International Relations and International Security and Conflict, and teach on the MPhil Core paper and the Research Design and Methods paper.


Research interests

My research explores the colonial and postcolonial dimensions of world politics in their various manifestations. I am interested in the ways in which imperial historical structures, institutions, social relations and forms of knowledge shape the present, as well as the ways in which they are evolving. In my writing, I have explored these questions in relation to international statebuilding, peacebuilding and development assistance, the understanding of war in the international system, International Relations theory and its research methods. I am currently writing a book entitled Complex Indebtedness, which elaborates a postcolonial analysis of the international system with relations of indebtedness - both material and moral - at its centre.


Selected publications


  • Sabaratnam, M. (2017). Decolonising intervention: International statebuilding in Mozambique. Rowman & Littlefield.
  • Hoover, J., Sabaratnam, M., & Schouenborg, L. (2011). Interrogating democracy in world politics (Issue 1st). Routledge.
  • Campbell, S., Chandler, D., & Sabaratnam, M. (2011). A liberal peace?: The problems and practices of peacebuilding. Bloomsbury Publishing.


  • Sabaratnam, M., & Laffey, M. (2023). Complex indebtedness: Justice and the crisis of liberal order. International Affairs, 99(1), 161–180.
  • Sabaratnam, M. (2023). Bring up the bodies: International order, empire, and re-thinking the Great War (1914–1918) from below. European Journal of International Relations, 29(3), 553-575.
  • Sabaratnam, M. (2022). Introduction to Archive Collection: 100 years of Empire and Decolonization. International Affairs (online).
  • Sabaratnam, M. (2021). In the ruins of canonicity: Women and their practices of thought. International Politics Reviews, 9, 246–250.
  • Sabaratnam, M. (2020). Is IR theory white? Racialised subject-positioning in three canonical texts. Millennium: Journal of International Studies, 49(1), 3–31.
  • Gallagher, J., Death, C., Sabaratnam, M., & Smith, K. (2016). Teaching Africa and international studies: Forum introduction. Politics, 36(4), 441–452.
  • Sabaratnam, M. (2015). Staging a battle, losing the wars? International studies, ‘science’ and the neoliberalisation of the university. Millennium: Journal of International Studies, 43(3), 975–979.
  • Sabaratnam, M. (2013). Avatars of Eurocentrism in the Critique of the Liberal Peace. Security Dialogue, 44(3), 259–278.
  • Sabaratnam, M. (2011). IR in dialogue… but can we change the subjects? A typology of decolonising strategies for the study of world politics. Millennium, 39(3), 781–803.


  • Sabaratnam, M. (2018). On Situatedness, Knowledges and Absences: A Response to the Symposium on Decolonising Intervention. The Disorder Of Things.
  • Sabaratnam, M. (2013). Colonial, socialist, and liberal statebuilding in Mozambique.The Routledge Handbook of International Statebuilding, 106-124.
  • Sabaratnam, M. (2011). The liberal peace? An intellectual history of international conflict management, 1990-2010. A Liberal Peace, 13–30.
  • Sabaratnam, M. (2011). Situated critiques of intervention: Mozambique and the diverse politics of response. A Liberal Peace, 245–264.
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