Professor Michael Sheehan
Political and Cultural Studies
Telephone: (01792) 602215
Room: Office - 006
Ground Floor
James Callaghan
Singleton Campus

Michael previously worked at the University of Aberdeen, where he was Director of the Scottish Centre for International Security, and at the International Institute for Strategic Studies in London. He joined the Department in 2004.


  1. & Constructing Arctic security: an inter-disciplinary approach to understanding security in the Barents region. Polar Record 53(01), 52-66.
  2. The Security of the Sami People.. In Kamrul Hossein and Anna Petretei (Ed.), Understanding the Many Faces of Human Security. (pp. 139-172). Brill.
  3. Gleichgewicht der Krafte in einem anarchischen Staatensystem. In Michael Jonas, Ulrich Lappenkuper, Bernd Wegner (Ed.), Stabilitat Durch Gleichgewicht?. (pp. 183-201). Paderborn: Ferdinand Schoningh.
  4. The Changing Character of War’. In J Baylis, S Smith and P Owens (Ed.), The Globalisation of World Politics. (pp. 215-228). Oxford.
  5. The Scientific Revolution and the Origins of IR Theory. In R C H Witt (Ed.), Cosmological Viewpoints.. (pp. 227-231).

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  • AM-245 John F. Kennedy and America

    The image of John F Kennedy has acquired an extraordinary influence in the American political system and his charisma gave him a compelling hold on the political imagination of progressives, not only in the United States but around the world. This module analyses the factors which shaped the career of John F. Kennedy as a politician, as well as the impact of the policies he implemented, and examines the legacy his life left on the American political system. Students will be encouraged to examine the career and policies of JFK and consider contending approaches to assessing the influence of Kennedy on the USA and the impact of his image and reputation for subsequent generations of US political leaders.

  • 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.

  • HUPM03 War, Technology and Culture

    From the late Eighteenth century onwards the relationship between war and society was changed by two permanent revolutions in France and America. Industrialisation, coupled with the growth of centralised nation states dramatically modified the conduct of large scale warfare. In this module students will seek to understand the impact of industrialisation, nationalism, technology and ideology on warfare. The course will follow the development of industrialised mass warfare from the Napoleonic period, through to the era of the 'total warfare' of WWI and WW2 and the limited conflict of the Cold War/nuclear era.

  • HUPM04 War, Identity and Society

    This module is the companion module to HUPM03. It takes a pluri-disciplinary approach to understanding the impacts of war on society and vice-versa. The module evaluates the ways in which conflict changes and reshapes society and analyses the problems of war, its representations and its social outcomes. 'War' in thus not viewed solely in terms of military history, but rather through a broader context of changing social, economic and cultural trends both as a motor for change and as part of those broader changes. The module is taught over a ten week period. The weekly two hour sessions include at least an hour of seminar style `teaching¿, to make sure that there is ample time for discussions, questions, student presentations, etc. Hence, it is expected of all students to read the compulsory reading for each session beforehand, so that meaningful discussions can take place. .

  • PO-118 War and Peace in the Nuclear Age

    In this module you will examine the history of the international system from the end of the Second World War to the present day. It will provide an examination of the origins of the Cold War, how the two superpowers managed their relationship during the Cold War and an analysis of some of the key features of the post-Cold War world. We begin by assessing the rise of the USA and USSR and the emergence of deterrence. The failure of the US policy of containment in Vietnam and the emergence of tripolarity and detente in the 1970s then follows. By the beginning of the 1980s the superpowers relations had worsened and it was the time of the Second Cold War. Yet within ten years the Cold War that had dominated international relations since 1945 would be over. Why did it end, and who won will be questions for you to answer. The module will then examine the challenges facing the international system in the aftermath of the Cold War. Challenges ranging from failed states and military intervention to the rise of China and the re-emergence of Russia, and we conclude by asking, in the post 9/11 era, are we facing a clash of civilisations?

  • 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-3114 The International Politics of Space

    This module provides an overview of national and international space policies and relates them to enduring themes in the study of international relations.

  • PO-392 Contemporary Security

    This module will introduce students to developments within Security Studies. Security studies as a sub-discipline of International Relations, provides an understanding of those factors which often lead to conflict or peace. Traditionally it has focused on state preservation, defined as freedom from threats or the fear of threats for states, in other words it has been about state survival. Over time epistemological as well as ontological debates have surfaced within this sub-discipline such as, what is the meaning of security and who or what is being secured? Throughout this module we will explore major contemporary debates and developments in this field. Case study examples will be offered to provide students with an oppertunity to asses the utility of these approaches in 'real world' empirical contexts.

  • 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-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-M40 International Security in the Asia Pacific

    At the beginning of a new century the Asia-Pacific is beset with uncertainties. They range from `old¿ problems left remaining from the Cold War, such as the division of Korea and China, to `new¿ problems that have arisen in the post-Cold War era. In either case, these problems give rise to the perception that the Asia-Pacific has many `hotspots¿ that make conflict in the 21st Century a distinct probability. This module will focus on the security matters, broadly defined, of the region. In particular we will examine the internal threats to security that plague the ¿weak¿ states of the region as well as the inter-state rivalries that exist over Korea and Taiwan. The region is not bereft of ways of lessening tensions and thus appreciating the norms of behaviour that underpin the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the region¿s multilateral security forum (the ASEAN Regional Forum - ARF) are also necessary in our quest to assess the likelihood of conflict. With this knowledge at your finger tips you will become well-versed in one of the most dynamic regions in today¿s political world.

  • PO-M53 War and Space

    This is an MA optional course. The course examines the history, development and contemporary manifestation of the military exploitation of space. It investigates the military space policies and programmes of a number of key states and intergovernmental organizations, specifically the USA, Russian Federation, China, and India, as well as the European Space Agency. The course analyses in detail the military uses to which space technology is put, national military space doctrines and their relationship with the `revolution in military affairs¿, the utility of arms control as a constraint on space weaponisation and the relationship between space technology and terrestrial strategy and warfare.

  • 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.


  • Cultural and social dimensions of the 'conspiracism' phenomenon in America during the 1960s-The JFK Myth. (current)

    Student name:
    Other supervisor: Dr Mark Evans
    Other supervisor: Prof Michael Sheehan
  • 'No plan survives first contact with the enemy': British airborne deployments in World War Two with particular reference to Operation Tonga and Operation Market Garden. (current)

    Student name:
    Other supervisor: Prof Michael Sheehan
    Other supervisor: Dr Gerard Oram
  • Either With Us or Against Us: British Preceptions of the Irish during World War Two (current)

    Student name:
    Other supervisor: Dr Gerard Oram
    Other supervisor: Prof Michael Sheehan
  • UAE Tribalism and Security Challenges to National Security (current)

    Student name:
    Other supervisor: Mr Robert Bideleux
    Other supervisor: Prof Michael Sheehan
  • Militarism in Post-Soviet Russia: War, culture and identity, 1990-2000. (current)

    Student name:
    Other supervisor: Dr Eugene Miakinkov
    Other supervisor: Prof Michael Sheehan
  • 'The politics of space cooperation as part of President Clinton''''s Russia policy: the Shuttle-Mir programme' (awarded 2017)

    Student name:
    Other supervisor: Dr Mark Evans
    Other supervisor: Prof Michael Sheehan
  • 'An effectiveness Analysis of National Counter-Terrorist Financing Systems' (awarded 2017)

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