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. & Changes in the law of self-defence? Drones, imminence, and international norm dynamics. Journal on the Use of Force and International Law, 1-45.
  2. ‘An act of insanity and national humiliation’: the Ford Administration, Congressional inquiries and the ban on assassination. Journal of Intelligence History, 1-20.
  3. The Obama administration’s conceptual change: Imminence and the legitimation of targeted killings. European Journal of International Security 3(1), 69-93.
  4. Risk and Presidential decision-making: the emergence of foreign policy crises. London: Routledge.
  5. Clinton and Bosnia: a candidate's freebie, a president's nightmare. Journal of Transatlantic Studies 12(1), 62-89.

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  • 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-395 Dissertation (PO-325)

    Subject to the approval of the Departmental Dissertations Tutor, students will choose their own area for research. They will be given guidance on research skills and techniques and supervised by a specialist research topic supervisor during the research for, and writing of, their dissertation. Dissertation word length - 8000 words.

  • PO-397 Researching Politics 2

    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-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.


  • America and Wavering Hegemon: Examining the challenges America faces in an Asymmetric World. (current)

    Student name:
    Other supervisor: Dr Luca Trenta
    Other supervisor: Dr Stephen Mcveigh
  • '''''Wrestling with Rebellion: Professional Wrestling, Oppression and Rebellion.' (awarded 2018)

    Student name:
    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)

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

    Student name:
    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