Patricia Owens is a reader (associate professor) in international relations at the University of Sussex, England, writing at the intersection of political and international theory and the history and theory of war. In her first book, Between War and Politics: International Relations and the Thought of Hannah Arendt (Oxford University Press, 2007), she argued that Arendt’s political theory is fundamentally rooted in her understanding of war and its political significance.
At Radcliffe, Owens will write about the relatively recent invention of the “social realm” as a concrete historical entity, category of political and international thought, and object of military and political strategy. She aims to establish the historical specificity of “the social” in its international/imperial context; describe the ontology of the social as a scaled-up form of household shaped by class, gendered, racial, and intercommunity hierarchies; suggest the implications for the main theories of politics and international relations; and offer empirical analysis of how different paradigms of social regulation shaped recent interventions in the global South. Paying attention to the rise, transformation, and transnational expansion of social regulation yields new analysis of specific modes of North-South intervention.
Owens, who holds graduate degrees from the University of Cambridge and Aberystwyth University, has received fellowships from Oriel College, Princeton University, the University of Oxford, and the University of Southern California, and a grant from the Social Science Research Council. She has also been a visiting scholar at the University of California, Berkeley, and a visiting professor at UCLA.