Dr Aggie Hirst
Dr Aggie Hirst joined City University London in September 2012. Her research interests are in the fields of international political theory, radical/Continental philosophy, and violence in global politics, with a specific interest in post-9/11 US foreign policy. Prior to her appointment at City, she held the position of Lecturer in US Foreign Policy at the University of Leeds (2011-12) and lectured for a year at Liverpool Hope University (2010-11). She completed her PhD in International Politics at the University of Manchester in 2010.
My primary research interests lie in international political theory, radical/Continental philosophy, and violence in global politics, with a specific focus on post-9/11 US foreign policy. In 2013 I published a book entitled 'Leo Strauss and the Invasion of Iraq: Encountering the Abyss' with Routledge's Interventions series. The book examines the relationship between the political philosophy of Leo Strauss and the activities of a group of influential Straussians within and close to the George W. Bush administration during the period leading up to the 2003 invasion of Iraq. It traces a series of distinctive features of Strauss' thought through the interventions of eight Straussians in the fields of intelligence production, think tanks and the media. The book argues that the Straussian persuasion may be read as a project of securitisation against the foundationless condition of modernity, and offers a critique of this using the thought of Jacques Derrida. In 2012 I published a related journal article with International Politics on the subject of Strauss' thought entitled "Leo Strauss and International Relations: The Politics of Modernity's Abyss'.
My current research develops these dual interests in political theory and US foreign policy through an investigation of the US military's sponsorship and development of video games set in theatres of war or conflict as recruitment and training tools. Drawing upon Theodor Adorno's framing of 'immersion' and Johan Huizinga's theorisation of 'play', the research examines the extent to which videogames function as pedagogical tools, and the consequences of this for the player-subject and the changing character of military doctrine and warfare. This research comprises my second book project, provisionally titled 'Videogames and the US Military: Recruitment, Training, and the Politics of Immersive Play'. I have recently secured funding to undertake fieldwork in the US for this project, which will take place in January 2017. I have drafted a paper laying the groundwork for this project entitled 'Recreationalising Violence: Deconstructing Psycho-Social Libidinal Economies of War(Gaming)', and am planning a second exploring the notions of 'immersion' and 'play'.
As part of this project, I am currently developing a distinct theory paper titled 'Derrida, Adorno, and the Subject/Object Relation: Inversion, Subversion, and the Ontopolitical'. This paper lays the conceptual groundwork for the book through an examination of current trend with critical theory/IR to privilege the subject of study given the dangers of ontopolitical assumptions about the object. It suggests that this simply inverts rather than subverts positivism's reification of the object, doing precious little to meaningfully subvert the binary relation. It proposes that Adorno's negative dialectics might usefully be drawn upon to address this problem.
In addition to this work, in 2015 I published a journal article entitled 'Derrida and Political Resistance: The Radical Potential of Deconstruction' with Globalizations. This article suggests that conceptualising resistance through Derrida's thought offers a salient way to resist the reinscription of practices and sites of resistance back into forces of global ordering.
In 2013 I co-organised a forum in Millennium: Journal of International Studies entitled 'International Politics and the 'Death of God'', to which I contributed an article called 'Violence, Self-Authorship and the 'Death of God': The 'Traps' of the Messianic and the Tragic'. This piece explores Nietzsche's claim that 'Man' has killed God and the political consequences of this.
I have also recently contributed a co-authored piece to 'The Disorder of Things' on the subject of Accelerationism: https://thedisorderofthings.com/2015/11/06/11190/
Dr Hirst is interested in supervising PhDs in the following areas:
- Critical IR theory (post-structuralism, post-colonialism, feminism, Marxian and critical theory)
- Traditional IR theory (realism, liberalism, constructivism)
- US Foreign Policy (especially neo-conservatism, the invasion and occupation of Iraq, Leo Strauss and the Straussians)
- Political Violence in the contemporary world order (videogames, terrorism, the War on Terror, militarism, resistance).
- Mr Thomas Hooper
- Mr Bamo Nouri
- Hirst, A. (2013). Leo Strauss and the invasion of Iraq: Encountering the abyss. ISBN 978-0-203-38040-6.
- Hirst, A. (2010). Straussianism and Post-Structuralism: Two Sides of the Same Coin? In Burns, T. and Connelly, J. (Eds.), The Legacy of Leo Strauss (pp. 67–84). Exeter; Charlottesville: Imprint Academic.
- Hirst, A. (2009). Intellectuals and US Foreign Policy. In Parmar, I., Miller, L.B. and Legwidge, M. (Eds.), New Directions in US Foreign Policy (pp. 106–119). Abingdon; New York: Routledge.
- Hirst, A. (2016). The Edinburgh Companion to Poststructuralism. EUROPEAN POLITICAL SCIENCE, 15(4), pp. 564–566. doi:10.1057/eps.2016.10.
- Hirst, A. (2015). Derrida and Political Resistance: The Radical Potential of Deconstruction. Globalizations, 12(1), pp. 6–24. doi:10.1080/14747731.2014.971538.
- Hirst, A. and Michelsen, N. (2013). Introduction: International relations and the 'death of god. Millennium: Journal of International Studies, 42(1), pp. 103–113. doi:10.1177/0305829813500371.
- Hirst, A. (2013). Violence, self-authorship and the 'death of god': The 'traps' of the messianic and the tragic. Millennium: Journal of International Studies, 42(1), pp. 135–154. doi:10.1177/0305829813497822.
- Hirst, A. (2012). Leo Strauss and international relations: The politics of modernity's abyss. International Politics, 49(6), pp. 645–670. doi:10.1057/ip.2012.23.
- International Relations Theories - 1st Year
- Violence in Global Politics: Fear, Insecurity, Identity - 3rd Year
- Global Ethics: Power, Principle and Politics - MA