Dr Luca Trenta is a lecturer in International Relations in the Department of Political and Cultural Studies, Swansea University. He previously worked as Teaching Associate at the University of Nottingham. Dr Trenta received his PhD from Durham University in 2014. He is the holder of a 2017 British Academy Rising Star Engagement Award for his project: ‘Out of the Shadows: understanding, researching and teaching covert action.’ He previously received a British Academy Small Research grant for his project on 'Targeted killing? The recurrence of assassination is US foreign policy.' He has published a monograph on risk and presidential decision-making with Routledge. He has also published articles on US foreign policy and presidential decision-making in The European Journal of International SecurityDiplomacy and Statecraft and in The Journal of Transatlantic Studies. His research interests include US foreign policy, intelligence, covert action, assassination, and the use of drones. He is a regular contributor to The Conversation, Talk Radio and BBC Radio Wales.

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. Schmidt, D., Trenta, L. Changes in the law of self-defence? Drones, imminence, and international norm dynamics Journal on the Use of Force and International Law 5 2 201 245
  2. Trenta, L. ‘An act of insanity and national humiliation’: the Ford Administration, Congressional inquiries and the ban on assassination Journal of Intelligence History 17 2 121 140
  3. Trenta, L. The Obama administration’s conceptual change: Imminence and the legitimation of targeted killings European Journal of International Security 3 1 69 93
  4. Trenta, L. Risk and Presidential decision-making: the emergence of foreign policy crises London Routledge
  5. Trenta, L. Clinton and Bosnia: a candidate's freebie, a president's nightmare Journal of Transatlantic Studies 12 1 62 89

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  • PO-126 Introduction to International Relations

    This course introduces students to the study of international relations(IR) focusing on especially on the evolution of international actors and systems. Next to studying key IR concepts, terms and theories of International Relations discipline such as the state, nation, anarchy security, international organisations, international economy and globalisation, the module will also elucidate both rational and critical approaches to IR ¿ particularly Liberalism, Realism, and Marxism; but also IR¿s newer theoretical schools ¿ particularly Constructivism and post- structuralism. Secondly, the module aims to improve students¿ practical academic skills, including research, reading, presentation, referencing and academic writing skills ¿ all tailored to the study of International Relations

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

    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-3319 Researching Politics 1

    Researching Politics (RP) provides students with the skills that underlie the process of conducting and communicating cutting-edge research in Politics and International Relations. RP works by creating topic groups, each comprised of 8-10 students. Each group will follow a bespoke course set out by their topic tutor, guiding them through the literature in a substantive research area. Students are invited to select a list of preferred options in the first teaching week of the term. This list is then used to assign students to topics and group sessions run from the second week of teaching onwards. Alongside the topic-specific teaching, there is a general lecture series focusing on discovering, analysing and presenting complex information. The lecture series also focuses on dealing with the ups and downs of working as part of a team.

  • PO-3320 Researching Politics 2

    Researching Politics 2 (RP2) is the follow-on module from RP1 and it acts as the culmination for the subject knowledge and transferable skills developed in that module. RP2 puts the creative emphasis in the hands of the students, with the module convenor and topic tutors giving guidance and feedback to facilitate the realisation of research conceived, developed, executed and presented by students. In this way, it tries to approximate the worlds of further study and work into which students will be progressing following the completion of their degree schemes. It is a module where all of the summative assessments are comprised of group work, although individual marks can be varied depending on each student¿s performance. Students are also required to submit an individual self-assessment, detailing what they have learned about their own strengths and weaknesses on the basis of the sustained group work. In RP2, you will extend and deepen the research undertaken in RP1 and continue to meet regularly in order to share ideas, opinions and sources in your groups. These meetings will include several where the topic tutor provides guidance and feedback as well as those where the meetings are student-led.

  • 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-M93 Analysing Politics and International Relations

    This module aims to introduce students to the core methods of data collection and analysis. In addition to discussing selected research methods drawing on the previous research on research methodologies, it offers an opportunity to practice using them for small-scale real-life research. The module contributes to the students¿ understanding of research methods and to their ability to choose research methodologies appropriately for their future MA dissertations and develops their practical research skills for a dissertation and in the future workplace.

  • POA200 International Politics

    International Politics (POA-200) is focused on understanding the intersection of domestic and international politics, and on developing an appreciation of how both of these aspects of political affairs intersect in an increasingly complex, interdependent, and globalised landscape. The emphasis of the module is demonstrating how a range of major global and national problems can be understood by analysing domestic and international decision-making as co-occurring and interacting. The module allows students to explore both historical (and widely studied) examples of international politics at play as well as developing insights into contemporary politics, where the academic literature is still emerging. The module's core objectives are to equip students with a range of theoretical and methodological tools that facilitate the analysis of international politics, before exploring three thematic areas over which such analysis can be conducted. These themes are: war and conflict; international development; and the environment. These themes are designed both to draw on the research and teaching strengths of the Political and Cultural Studies Department and to feed into a range of optional modules which will be offered to students at Level 6. International Politics is the lynch pin module for the joint honours Politics and International Relations programme. It is designed specifically for that programme and is a compulsory element of it. The module is situated at a point in the curriculum (TB2, Level 5) where students have undertaken compulsory modules that have established a solid theoretical, conceptual, methodological and empirical understanding of both Politics and International Relations. It seeks to act as a bridge that will allow students to draw these elements together so that the 'added value' of studying both in tandem can be fully drawn out. This module is also designed to inform students' Dissertation work as well as research on the Researching Politics 1 and 2 modules in the final year.


  • Access to medical opioids as a human right and the barriers and tensions on international drug control system.«br /»«br /»«br /»«br /»«br /»«br /» (current)

    Other supervisor: Dr Luca Trenta
    Other supervisor: Prof David Bewley-Taylor
  • '''''Wrestling with Rebellion: Professional Wrestling, Oppression and Rebellion.' (awarded 2018)

    Other supervisor: Dr Luca Trenta
    Other supervisor: Dr Matthew Wall
  • 'Collapse in southeast Asia: A Bureaucratic Politics Analysis of Gerald Ford''''s Foreign Policy.' (awarded 2017)

    Other supervisor: Dr Luca Trenta
    Other supervisor: Prof Alan Collins
  • 'An effectiveness Analysis of National Counter-Terrorist Financing Systems' (awarded 2017)

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

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