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portrait of Professor Theo Farrell

Professor Theo Farrell

Dean of Arts and Social Sciences

School of Arts and Social Sciences, Department of International Politics

Contact Information


Visit Theo Farrell

D324, Rhind Building


Postal Address

City, University of London
Northampton Square
United Kingdom



Professor Theo Farrell joined City from King’s College London, where he was Professor of War in the Modern World (2006-16) and Head of the Department of War Studies (2013-16). At King’s, Professor Farrell led the largest submission in Politics and International Studies (UoA 21) to the 2014 REF, involving over 100 academic staff from five departments.

Professor Farrell is the President and former Chair of the British International Studies Association. Previously, he was Chair of the International Security Studies Section of the International Studies Association (ISA). He also served on the ISA Governing Council, and was the Security Studies Editor for the ISA’s flagship Compendium Project, as well as Associate Editor of Security Studies and of Review of International Studies.

Professor Farrell has served on and chaired a number of ESRC and AHRC grant panels, and is a member of the Strategic Advisory Group for the RCUK Partnership on Conflict, Crime and Security research. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, and Associate Fellow of the Royal United Services Institute.


  1. PhD in Politics, University of Bristol, United Kingdom, 1994
  2. Diploma in International Relations, University of Vienna, Austria, 1989
  3. MA in International History, University College Dublin, Ireland, 1989
  4. BA (Hons) in History and Politics, University College Dublin, Ireland, 1988



Research Summary

Professor Farrell has authored or edited 10 books, and over 45 research papers on military affairs and security studies. His latest book is Unwinnable: Britain’s war in Afghanistan, 2001-2014 (Bodley Head, 2017). Professor Farrell has held multiple ESRC and AHRC awards, including an ESRC/AHRC Global Uncertainities Fellowship (2009-2012). His current research is funded by the ESRC and will result in a co-authored history of the Taliban’s war in Afghanistan.


- Military Innovation Studies
- Organisation theory
- Humanitarian intervention and stabilisation operations
- The Afghanistan conflict since 2001
- The Afghan Taliban


Books (3)

  1. Farrell, T., Rynning, S. and Terriff, T. (2013). Transforming military power since the cold war: Britain, France, and the United States, 1991–2012. ISBN 978-1-107-36014-3.
  2. Armstrong, D., Farrell, T. and Lambert, H. (2007). International law and international relations. ISBN 978-0-511-80875-3.
  3. Armstrong, D., Farrell, T. and Maiguashca, B. (2006). Force and legitimacy in world politics. ISBN 978-0-511-62202-1.

Chapters (2)

  1. Farrell, T. (2012). Improving in war: Military adaptation and the British in Helmand, 2006-2009. Contemporary Military Innovation: Between Anticipation and Adaptation (pp. 130–152). ISBN 978-0-203-11254-0.
  2. Armstrong, D. and Farrell, T. (2006). Introduction. (pp. 3–13). ISBN 978-0-511-62202-1.

Conference Paper/Proceedings

  1. Farrell, T. and Lambert, H. (2001). Courting controversy: international law, national norms and American nuclear use. .

Journal Articles (21)

  1. Farrell, T. and Semple, M. (2015). Making Peace with the Taliban. Survival, 57(6), pp. 79–110. doi:10.1080/00396338.2015.1116157.
  2. Farrell, T. and Giustozzi, A. (2013). The Taliban at war: Inside the Helmand insurgency, 2004-2012. International Affairs, 89(4), pp. 845–871. doi:10.1111/1468-2346.12048.
  3. Farrell, T. (2011). A good war gone wrong? RUSI Journal, 156(5), pp. 60–64. doi:10.1080/03071847.2011.626277.
  4. Chaudhuri, R. and Farrell, T. (2011). Campaign disconnect: Operational progress and strategic obstacles in Afghanistan, 2009-2011. International Affairs, 87(2), pp. 271–296. doi:10.1111/j.1468-2346.2011.00973.x.
  5. Farrell, T. (2010). Nuclear non-use: Constructing a Cold War history. Review of International Studies, 36(4), pp. 819–829. doi:10.1017/S0260210510001294.
  6. Farrell, T. and Rynning, S. (2010). NATO's transformation gaps: Transatlantic differences and the war in Afghanistan. Journal of Strategic Studies, 33(5), pp. 673–699. doi:10.1080/01402390.2010.498247.
  7. Farrell, T. (2010). Improving in war: Military adaptation and the British in Helmand Province, Afghanistan, 2006-2009. Journal of Strategic Studies, 33(4), pp. 567–594. doi:10.1080/01402390.2010.489712.
  8. Farrell, T. and Gordon, S. (2009). COIN Machine: The British Military in Afghanistan. Orbis, 53(4), pp. 665–683. doi:10.1016/j.orbis.2009.07.002.
  9. Farrell, T. (2008). The dynamics of British military transformation. International Affairs, 84(4) . doi:10.1111/j.1468-2346.2008.00737.x.
  10. Caccavone, S. and Rudrum, M. (2006). Introduction. PROCEEDINGS OF THE INSTITUTION OF CIVIL ENGINEERS-CIVIL ENGINEERING, 159(6), pp. 3–3. doi:10.1680/cien.2006.159.6.3.
  11. Ullrich, H. (2006). Introduction. EVOLUTION OF EUROPEAN COMPETITION LAW: WHOSE REGULATION, WHICH COMPETITION? pp. 3–14. doi:10.1002/9780470344606.ch1.
  12. Armstrong, D. and Farrell, T. (2005). Force and Legitimacy in World Politics: Introduction. Review of International Studies, 31(SUPPL. 1), pp. 3–13. doi:10.1017/S0260210505006893.
  13. Farrell, T. (2005). World culture and military power. Security Studies, 14(3), pp. 448–488. doi:10.1080/09636410500323187.
  14. Farrell, T. (2002). Constructivist security studies: Portrait of a research program. International Studies Review, 4(1), pp. 49–72.
  15. Farrell, T. and Lambert, H. (2001). Courting controversy: International law, national norms and American nuclear use. Review of International Studies, 27(3), pp. 309–326. doi:10.1017/S0260210501003096.
  16. Farrell, T. (2001). Transnational norms and military development: Constructing Ireland's professional Army. European Journal of International Relations, 7(1), pp. 63–102. doi:10.1177/1354066101007001003.
  17. Farrell, T. (1998). Professionalization and Suicidal Defence Planning by the Irish Army, 1921-1941. Journal of Strategic Studies, 21(3), pp. 67–85.
  18. Farrell, T. (1998). Culture and military power. Review of International Studies, 24(3), pp. 407–416.
  19. Farrell, T. (1996). Figuring Out Fighting Organisations: The New Organisational Analysis in Strategic Studies. Journal of Strategic Studies, 19(1), pp. 122–135.
  20. Farrell, T. (1995). Waste in Weapons Acquisition: How the Americans Do It All Wrong. Contemporary Security Policy, 16(2), pp. 192–218. doi:10.1080/13523269508404114.
  21. Farrell, T. (1995). Sliding into war: The somalia imbroglio and us army peace operations doctrine. International Peacekeeping, 2(2), pp. 194–214. doi:10.1080/13533319508413551.