Dr Luca Trenta

Luca joined the Department in 2014. He previously held the post of Teaching Associate at the School of Politics and International Relations at the University of Nottingham. He received his PhD in International Relations and US Foreign Policy from Durham University.

Areas of Expertise

  • International Relations Theory
  • US Foreign Policy
  • US History
  • Cold War History
  • Drones and targeted killings
  • Intelligence and covert action
  • Strategic Studies
  • Security Studies


  1. The Obama Administration’s conceptual change: imminence and the legitimation of targeted killings. European Journal of International Security
  2. Risk and Presidential decision-making: the emergence of foreign policy crises. London: Routledge.
  3. Clinton and Bosnia: a candidate's freebie, a president's nightmare. Journal of Transatlantic Studies 12(1), 62-89.
  4. The Champion of Human Rights Meets the King of Kings: Jimmy Carter, the Shah, and Iranian Illusions and Rage. Diplomacy and Statecraft 24(3), 476-498.


  • HUA206 Contemporary Wars and Conflicts

    This module introduces and critically explores contemporary warfare and conflict, from post WWII up to the present War on Terror. It considers the de-colonization/independence wars; the Cold War proxy conflicts; post-1990 New Wars and the War on Terror.

  • PO-203 Anarchy and Order: Theories in International Relations

    This is a core International Relations (IR) module. Its aim is to show how global politics is all around us and illustrate which ideas have shaped the current discipline of International Relations. The module explores key theories and approaches in the discipline of International Relations. Through check-up lectures, the module applies the theories analysed to key issues in international politics including: the rise of China, humanitarian intervention and the role of power. The module encourages students to evaluate and multiple forms of power, and the nature of the discipline itself. It is also a story about a powerful academic discipline and its many issues.

  • PO-232 The Empire Strikes Back: War, Strategy and the Use of Force in the Post Cold War Era

    The module can be divided into two main parts. The first part concerns strategy and war. The module touches upon classics of strategic thoughts such as Clausewitz and Sun-Tzu, it explores the nature of war and the constraints on war and analyses key debates within strategic studies including nuclear weapons and revolutionary warfare. The second part of the module explores uses of forces in the post-Cold War era mainly by `the West.¿ The module discusses humanitarian intervention, the `war on terror¿ and the militarisation of space. The sub heading is "Strategy and the use of force in the post Cold War era".

  • PO-3316 Shadow Wars: US Presidents and covert action from the Cold War to Obama

    The Obama Administration¿s used of drones and special operations has rekindled interest in the role of covert action in US Foreign policy. The module will provide students with an analysis of the place of covert action in US foreign policy. The module will explore the strong connection between US Presidents and covert action, discussing the institutions, organizations and individuals involved. The module will adopt a chronological approach discussing presidencies from the Cold War to Barack Obama. This structure will also provide an opportunity to explore themes (e.g. assassination, regime change) and areas (e.g. Central America, the Middle East) central to the conduct of US foreign policy.

  • PO-396 Researching Politics 1

    This module offers students a valuable experience of both individual and collective research as well as the opportunity to study in depth an important aspect of Politics and International Relations. After an introductory session students will work in small groups pursuing research into a specific topic using a wide variety of source materials under the guidance of a member of staff with appropriate specialist knowledge and expertise.

  • PO-397 Researching Politics 2 (PO-327)

    This module offers students a valuable experience of both individual and collective research - as well as the opportunity to study in depth an important aspect of Politics and International Relations. Students extend and deepen the research undertaken in PO-396 Researching Politics 1 and continue to meet regularly in order to share ideas, opinions and sources. In these meetings, students evaluate, criticise and analyse issues concerning the topic under investigation. Minutes of the meetings are kept and the meetings are conducted with a view to arriving at a common position that will serve as the basis for producing a collectively authored report and presentation. Each student in the group also produces a shorter individual report on their own experience of Researching Politics, in the course of which they reflect on their individual contribution to the groups output. This self-assessment is validated by the other members of the group.

  • PO-M25 Dissertation

    Individual research based, under the guidance of appointed supervisor.

  • PO-M35 Approaches to International Relations

    The module explores a variety of approaches to the study of internation relations. It focuses on key issues which have become central to the sunject, notably the changing states system and the emergence of major non state actors, economic globalisation and security studies. It also examines key theoretical approaches, notably realism, liberalism and Marxism; Neo-realism and neo-Liberalism; and reflectivist critiques of rationalism, including constructivism, critical theory, post-structuralism and feminism.

  • PO-M60 Critical Security Studies: Issues and Approaches in Contemporary Security

    This MA module will offer students an opportunity to explore a multiplicity of new approaches to the study of international security, and analyse a number of pressing issue-areas within this subject area. The module allows students to engage theoretical debates over the meaning and definition of the concept of security itself and various theoretical approaches to the study of security. The module starts with a traditional understanding of security as `military security,¿ by looking at strategic studies. The module then explores the debate regarding the broadening and deepening of security. The first theoretical part of the module also includes: the Copenhagen School, the Welsh School of Critical Security Studies, post-structuralist approaches and feminist approaches. In the second part, the module will use these theoretical lenses to debate prominent security issues increasingly seen to form part of the broadened security agenda, such as the environment, migration, identity, gender and human security.


  • 'Collapse in southeast Asia: A Bureaucratic Politics Analysis of Gerald Ford''''s Foreign Policy.' (current)

    Student name:
    Other supervisor: Prof Alan Collins
    Other supervisor: Dr Luca Trenta
  • 'Wrestling with Hegemony: Professional Wrestling, Oppression and Rebellion' (current)

    Student name:
    Other supervisor: Dr Matthew Wall
    Other supervisor: Dr Luca Trenta
  • 'An effectiveness Analysis of National Counter-Terrorist Financing Systems' (current)

    Student name:
    Other supervisor: Prof Michael Sheehan
    Other supervisor: Dr Luca Trenta

Administrative Responsibilities

  • Web Officer - Department of Political and Cultural Studies

    2014 - Present

  • Admissions Officer - Political and Cultural Studies

    2016 - Present

Career History

Start Date End Date Position Held Location
2011 2013 Teaching Assistant School of Government and International Affairs, Durham University
2014 2014 Teaching Associate School of Politics and IR, University of Nottingham

Key Grants and Projects

Research Groups

  • BISA

    US Foreign Policy Group

  • APG

    American Politics Group