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Job Title(s)Senior Lecturer - Politics
Phone No.+44 (0) 28 9026 8270 
Internal Phone No.ext. 270 


Human Development Studies

Short Description

Follow @BirgitSchippers

Academia: http://smucb.academia.edu/BirgitSchippers


  • MLA1003 Society, Work and the Individual (core unit on Political Concepts)
  • MLA2010 Global Justice (core module)
  • MLA3011 Researching Global Justice (option)

Current Research

I am a feminist scholar working at the intersection of critical political theory, international studies, and global ethics. Following the completion of my PhD (QUB 2005), on the ideas of Julia Kristeva and Judith Butler, I published on gender and feminism, and on radical democratic theory. My current research draws from the archive of critical social and political theory, international studies, and international ethics to examine the ethics and politics of artificial intelligence. I develop this research in two related directions:

The first element of my research investigates the ethical and human rights implications of surveillance and military technologies propelled by artificial intelligence (e.g. facial recognition and other biometric technologies, autonomous weapons systems, drones) and it studies the impact of AI-enabled technologies on democratic politics. This element of my research is applied in orientation, and committed to publically engaged scholarship.

The second element of my research utilises posthumanist and new materialist ideas to examine human ‘entanglement’ with autonomous and intelligent systems; to excavate the epistemological and ontological effects of this entanglement; and to explore if, and how, such human-technology intertwinement reconfigures the conceptual apparatus of political discourse (I focus on human rights, democracy, and political agency). The key aim of this aspect of my research is to develop a critical political theory and ethics of artificial intelligence.

I am developing this research as a visiting research fellow at the Senator George J. Mitchell Institute for Global Peace, Security, and Justice at Queen’s University Belfast.



The Routledge Handbook to Rethinking Ethics in International Relations, London & New York: Routledge (forthcoming 8 June 2020).

Critical Perspectives on Human Rights, London: Rowman & Littlefield International, 2019.

The Political Philosophy of Judith Butler, London and New York: Routledge, 2014.

Julia Kristeva and Feminist Thought, Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2011.

Articles & chapters:

‘Drone Technology and Drone Strikes’, in B. A. Arrigo and B. G. Sellers (eds), The Pre-Crime Society: Crime, Culture and Control in the Ultramodern Age, Bristol: Policy Press (forthcoming 2021).

‘Autonomous Weapons Systems and International Ethics’, in B. Schippers (ed.), The Routledge Handbook to Rethinking Ethics in International Relations, London & New York: Routledge (forthcoming 8 June 2020).

‘Introduction’, in B. Schippers (ed.), The Routledge Handbook to Rethinking Ethics in International Relations, London & New York: Routledge (forthcoming 8 June 2020).

‘Human Rights and Gender’, in G. McCann and F. O’Hadhmaill (eds), International Human Rights, Social Welfare and Development, Bristol: Policy Press (forthcoming April 2020).

‘Artificial Intelligence and Democratic Politics’, Political Insight, 11(1): 35-37, March 2020.

‘Towards a Posthumanist Conception of Human Rights?’, in B. Schippers (ed.), Critical Perspectives on Human Rights, London: Rowman & Littlefield International, 63-82, 2019.

‘Introduction’, in B. Schippers (ed.), Critical Perspectives on Human Rights, London: Rowman & Littlefield International, ix-xxi, 2019.

‘Judith Butler’, in L. J. Marso (ed.), Fifty-One Key Feminist Thinkers, New York & London: Routledge, 26-31, 2016.

‘Violence, Affect and Ethics’, in M. Lloyd (ed.), Butler and Ethics, Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press (Critical Connections series), 91-117, 2015.

‘Butler, Judith (1956-)’, in J. D. Wright (editor-in-chief), International Encyclopedia of the Social & Behavioural Sciences, 2nd edition, vol. 3, Oxford: Elsevier, 56-60, 2015.

‘Political Theory, Academic Writing, and Widening Participation’, in M. Deane & P. O’Neill (eds), Writing in the Disciplines, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 155-173 (co-authored with J. Worley), 2013.

‘Kristeva’s Time? Review Article’, Feminist Theory, 11(1): 87-96, 2010.

‘Judith Butler, Radical Democracy and Micro-Politics’, in M. Lloyd and A. Little (eds), The Politics of Radical Democracy, Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 73-91, 2009.

‘Civil Society’, in I. MacKenzie (ed.), Political Concepts: A Reader and Guide, Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 343-354, 2005.

‘Women’s Studies: The Cut(ting) Edge of Contemporary Critical Theory and Practice?’, International Feminist Journal of Politics, 4(2): 278-83 (co-authored with C. Davey), 2002.

‘Zur Kontrolle der nordirischen Polizei’, Bürgerrechte und Polizei (Civil Liberties and Police), 52: 68-74, 1995.

Book reviews:

Ben Golder, Foucault and the Politics of Rights, Journal of Politics, 80(1): 25-6, 2018.

Simon Thompson and Paul Hoggett (eds), Politics and the Emotions: The Affective Turn in Contemporary Political Studies, LSE Review of Books blog, 2012.
Politics and the Emotions - Book Review

Matthew Flinders, Defending Politics: Why Democracy Matters in the Twenty-First Century, LSE Review of Books blog, 2012.
Defending Politics : Why Democracy Matters in the Twenty-First Century - Book Review

Wendy Brown, Walled States, Waning Sovereignty, in Political Studies Review, 10(2), 2012.

Judith Butler, Frames of War, in Redescriptions: Yearbook of Political Thought, Conceptual History and Feminist Theory, 15: 231-38, 2011.

Elena Loizidou, Judith Butler: Ethics, Law, Politics, in Political Studies Review, 7(3), 2009.

Noëlle McAfee, Habermas, Kristeva, and Citizenship, in Women’s Philosophy Review, 27: 66-70, 2001.

Luce Irigaray, To Be Two, in Political Studies, 49(5), 2001.

Selected media, policy engagement & knowledge exchange:

Commentary for Nature Podcast ‘Curbing the rise in genetic surveillance’, 4 Dec. 2019, https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-019-03748-1.

Submission to Scottish Parliament Justice Sub-Committee on Policing ‘Facial Recognition: How Policing in Scotland makes use of this technology’, https://www.parliament.scot/S5_JusticeSubCommitteeOnPolicing/Inquiries/JS519FR24_Dr_Schippers.pdf.

‘Artificial Intelligence and Democratic Governance’, address to Council of Europe Committee on Political Affairs and Democracy, 2 October 2019, http://www.assembly.coe.int/nw/xml/News/News-View-EN.asp?newsid=7654&lang=2&cat=.

‘Facial Recognition: Ten Reasons You Should be worried about the technology ’ The Conversation, 21 August 2019, https://theconversation.com/facial-recognition-ten-reasons-you-should-be-worried-about-the-technology-122137.

‘When your face is your boarding pass you are holidaying with Big Brother’, The Irish Times, 8 July 2019, https://www.irishtimes.com/opinion/when-your-face-is-your-boarding-pass-you-are-holidaying-with-big-brother-1.3949353.

Interview with The Jist podcast ‘Big Tech, Mass Surveillance and the Power of AI’, 22 June 2019, http://www.thejist.co.uk/science-and-tech/chatter-episode-50-dr-birgit-schippers-on-big-tech-mass-surveillance-and-the-power-of-ai/.

Interview with NvTv on National Surveillance Camera Day, 20 June 2019, http://www.nvtv.co.uk/shows/the-round-up-thursday-20th-june-2019/.

‘Why artificial intelligence needs democratic governance’, The Globe Post, 9 April 2019, https://theglobepost.com/2019/04/09/artificial-intelligence-democratic-governance/.

‘Face recognition technology: the human rights concerns’, eolas magazine, issue 34, January 2019, pp. 80-81.

Public lecture on human rights and artificial intelligence, Northern Ireland Human Rights Festival, 10 December 2018.

Interview with NvTv ‘In Focus’, September 2018, http://www.nvtv.co.uk/shows/in-focus-birgit-schippers/.

Interview with Australian Broadcasting Corporation Future Tense programme, 2 September 2018, a href="http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/futuretense/technology-and-human-rights/10173398" target="_blank"> http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/futuretense/technology-and-human-rights/10173398.

‘Why technology puts human rights at risk’, The Conversation, 4 July 2018, https://theconversation.com/why-technology-puts-human-rights-at-risk-92087.

‘Security in the Age of Killer Robots’, published in agendaNI < a href="http://www.agendani.com/security-in-the-age-of-killer-robots/" target="_blank"> http://www.agendani.com/security-in-the-age-of-killer-robots/ and eolas magazine http://www.eolasmagazine.ie/security-in-the-age-of-killer-robots/.

Commentary for article on robots and human rights, Discover Magazine, 5 December 2017, http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/crux/2017/12/05/human-rights-robots/#.WjKIvK2cZBw.

‘Women’s Human Rights and Diversity Politics,’ agendaNI, Feb./March 2016, pp. 106-107.

‘Lessons from the Marriage Referendum’, agendaNI, June/July 2015, pp. 110–111.

‘Human Rights and Surveillance’, agendaNI, issue 68, Dec. 2014/Jan. 2015, pp. 126–127.

‘When research meets politics: lessons from the Boston College/Belfast oral history project’, Compromise after Conflict blog http://blogs.qub.ac.uk/compromiseafterconflict/2014/06/17/when-research-meets-politics-lessons-from-boston-colleges-belfast-oral-history-project/.

PhD Supervision:

I welcome proposals in the following areas:

  • International political theory & international ethics
  • Critical human rights scholarship
  • The politics & ethics of artificial intelligence (biometric technologies, autonomous weapons systems)
  • Proposals on the work of Judith Butler

Please use the Staff Directory if you wish to contact another member of staff.