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.

Dr Kaempf's expertise lies at the intersection between International Relations and Peace and Conflict Studies, with specialization in the areas of international security, conflict transformation, ethics and the laws of war, and information technology relating to global politics and violent conflict. Specifically, his research focuses on two areas:

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

The second area focuses on the role a transforming global media landscape is playing in violent conflicts. Here, his research focuses on how historic and current conflicts are being waged in and through media and information technology, with a particular emphasis on the geopolitics of cyberspace, embedded news reporting, mass surveillance and big data mining, non-state armed groups, and the influence of the Pentagon and CIA in the entertainment sector.

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

He won the ISA Deborah Gerner Award for Teaching Innovation in 2020. In 2013, he won an Australian national award for teaching excellence (AAUT); in 2012, he won UQ and Faculty awards for teaching excellence. He is 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 UGA in Athens, Georgia, Sao Paulo State University, Humboldt University in Berlin, Sciences Po Lyon, the Catholic University in Rio de Janeiro, The University of Sydney,and Brown University in Providence, US.

Together with his colleague A/Prof Al Stark, he hosts the podcast 'Higher Ed Heroes': https://www.buzzsprout.com/813707

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

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Supervision

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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

  • Kaempf, Sebastian (2022). Getting our teaching “future ready”. Pandemic Pedagogy: Teaching International Relations Amid COVID-19. (pp. 189-202) edited by Andrew A. Szarejko. Cham, Switzerland: Springer International Publishing. doi: 10.1007/978-3-030-83557-6_12

  • Kaempf, Sebastian (2018). Digital New Media. Visual Global Politics. (pp. 99-103) edited by Roland Bleiker. Abingdon, Oxon United Kingdom: Routledge.

  • Kaempf, Sebastian (2018). Digital media. Visual global politics. (pp. 99-103) edited by Roland Bleiker. Abingdon, Oxon, United Kingdom: Routledge.

  • Kaempf, Sebastian (2017). Digital battlespaces and virtual media wars. An introduction to international relations. (pp. 238-240) edited by Richard Devetak, Jim George and Sarah Percy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

  • Kaempf, Sebastian (2017). The ethics of soft war on today’s mediatized battlespaces. Soft war: the ethics of unarmed conflict. (pp. 104-118) edited by Michael L. Gross and Tamar Meisels. Cambridge, United Kingdom: Cambridge University Press. doi: 10.1017/9781316450802.010

  • Kaempf, Sebastian (2016). The potentiality and limits of understanding world politics in a transforming global media landscape. Understanding popular culture and world politics in the digital age. (pp. 14-31) edited by Laura J. Shepherd and Caitlin Hamilton. Abingdon, Oxon, United Kingdom: Routledge.

  • Kaempf, Sebastian (2014). Postheroic U.S. warfare and the moral justification for killing in war. The future of just war: new critical essays. (pp. 79-97) edited by Amy E. Eckert and Caron E. Gentry. Athens, GA, United States: University of Georgia Press.

  • Kaempf, Sebastian (2012). Digital battlespace and virtual media wars. An introduction to international relations. (pp. 202-203) edited by Richard A. Devetak, Anthony Burke and Jim George. Port Melbourne Vic., Australia: Cambridge University Press.

  • Kaempf, Sebastian (2011). Violence and victory: Guerrilla warfare, 'authentic self-affirmation' and the overthrow of the colonial state. War, peace and progress in the 21st century : development, violence and insecurity. (pp. 129-146) London, United Kingdom: Routledge.

  • Kaempf, S. (2009). THE DIGITAL DIVIDE: Scarcity, inequality and conflict (Last Moyo) Case study: Virtual wars. Digital Cultures Understanding New Media. (pp. 131-138) edited by Creeber, Glen and Martin, Royston. Maidenhead, U.K.: Open University Press; McGraw-Hill.

Journal Article

Other Outputs

Grants (Administered at UQ)

PhD and MPhil Supervision

Current Supervision

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.