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Researcher biography

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). He received his PhD ('Wresting under Conditions of Asymmetry: Contemporary US Warfare and the Trade-off between Casualty-Aversion and Civilian Protection') 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 is a visiting fellow at Sciences Po Lyon (2015), the Catholic University in Rio de Janeiro (2014) and at the Humboldt University (2014/15). He was a Research Associate of the US Studies Centre at The University of Sydney in 2011 and a visiting fellow at the Watson Institute for International Studies at Brown University (US) in 2004/05.

Dr Kaempf's general research interests are in International Security, Peace and Conflict Studies, the Ethics and the Laws of War, and the impact of digital new media technology on contemporary security.

In particular, Dr Kaempf has three areas of research interests:

The first research examines the relationship between ethics and the laws of war in the context of contemporary US warfare. More specifically, it 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.

The second research 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 third examines 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).

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