Dr Sebastian Kaempf

Senior Lecturer

School of Political Science and International Studies
Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences
s.kaempf@uq.edu.au
+61 7 336 57530

Overview

Dr Sebastian Kaempf is Senior Lecturer in Peace and Conflict Studies at the School of Political Science and International Studies at the University of Queensland (Australia) and the School's Director of Research Training for Higher Degree Research.

Dr Kaempf's general expertise lies in the areas of international security, the transformation of violent conflict, ethics and the laws of war, and the role a transforming global media landscape plays in contemporary conflicts. In particular, he has three areas of research interests:

The first concerns the relationship between ethics and the laws of war in the context of the transformation of violent conflict. More specifically, he is interested in the ways in which wars waged under conditions of asymmetry have impacted on the historical and contemporary relationship between the US norms of casualty-aversion and civilian protection.

The second area focuses on the role a transforming global media landscape is playing in contemporary conflicts. It focuses specifically on how conflicts are being waged in and through historical and contemporary media platforms, with a particular emphasis on the geopolitics of cyberspace, embedded news reporting, mass surveillance, non-state armed groups, and the visualisation of warfare in popular culture.

The third area of interest is in the network-state threat posed by the Islamic State to open democratic societies (undertaken in collaboration with Andrew Phillips, Herfried Münkler, and Felix Wassermann).

Dr Kaempf received his PhD at the Department of International Politics at Aberystwyth University (UK) in 2007. He holds a BSc and MSc (Econ) in International Relations from the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE).

In 2013, he won an Australian national award for teaching excellence (AAUT); in 2012, he won UQ and Faculty awards for teaching excellence. He also the producer (with UQx and edX.com) and convenor of 'MediaWarX', one of UQ's Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs): https://www.edx.org/course/global-media-war-technology-uqx-mediawarx-0

He was a visiting fellow/researcher at Sao Paulo State University (2018), Humboldt University in Berlin (2018 and 2014/15), Sciences Po Lyon (2015), the Catholic University in Rio de Janeiro (2014), The University of Sydney (2011) and Brown University in Providence, US (2004/05).

In collaboration with colleagues from overseas, he co-convenes an interactive webplatform, called www.thevisionmachine.com.

Research Interests

  • The relationship between ethics and the laws of war in the context of contemporary asymmetric US warfare
    Dr Kaempf's research examines the relationship between ethics and the laws of war in the context of contemporary US warfare. More specifically, he investigates the ways in which wars waged under conditions of asymmetry have impacted on the relationship between the US norms of casualty-aversion and civilian protection. This historically-informed conceptual enquiry is explored in relation to questions of legitimacy and effectiveness of US interventions in Somalia, Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya.
  • Global Media, InfoTech, and War
    In this research project, Dr Kaempf investigates the role a transforming global media landscape is playing in contemporary conflicts. It focuses specifically on how conflicts are being waged in and through historical and contemporary media platforms, with a particular emphasis on the Global War on Terror, the Arab Spring, surveillance, and the visualisation of drone warfare.
  • The Network-State Threat posed by the Islamic State to Open Societies
    In this collaborative research project, Dr Kaempf and colleagues examine the Network-State Threat posed by the Islamic State to Open Societies (together with Andrew Phillips, Herfried Muenkler, and Felix Wassermann), funded jointly by Universitas Australia and the Deutsche Akademische Austausch Dienst (DAAD).

Qualifications

  • Doctor of Philosophy, University of Wales
  • Master of Science in International Relations, London School of Economics and Political Science
  • Bachelor of Science in International Relations, London School of Economics and Political Science

Publications

View all Publications

Supervision

View all Supervision

Available Projects

  • In this area, I am interested in taking on PhD students researching the relationship between ethics and the laws of war in the context of the transformation of violent conflict; the ethics of contemporary war; asymmetric conflicts; the rise of casualty-averse and risk free war (with its implications for ethics and the laws of war); and projects examining contemporary and historical questions of civilian protection in violent conflict.

  • In this area, I am interested in taking on PhD students researching the political effects of the current transformation of the global media landscape; the intersection between infotech and violent conflict; contemporary and historical war and its connection to media; the (geo)politics of cyberspace; embedded war reporting; mass surveillance; and non-state armed groups and their use of information technology.

View all Available Projects

Publications

Featured Publications

Book

Book Chapter

Journal Article

Grants (Administered at UQ)

PhD and MPhil Supervision

Current Supervision

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

  • Doctor Philosophy — Associate Advisor

  • Doctor Philosophy — Associate Advisor

    Other advisors:

Completed Supervision

Possible Research Projects

Note for students: The possible research projects listed on this page may not be comprehensive or up to date. Always feel free to contact the staff for more information, and also with your own research ideas.

  • In this area, I am interested in taking on PhD students researching the relationship between ethics and the laws of war in the context of the transformation of violent conflict; the ethics of contemporary war; asymmetric conflicts; the rise of casualty-averse and risk free war (with its implications for ethics and the laws of war); and projects examining contemporary and historical questions of civilian protection in violent conflict.

  • In this area, I am interested in taking on PhD students researching the political effects of the current transformation of the global media landscape; the intersection between infotech and violent conflict; contemporary and historical war and its connection to media; the (geo)politics of cyberspace; embedded war reporting; mass surveillance; and non-state armed groups and their use of information technology.