Dr Natasha Saunders, Associate Lecturer (and Second Year Coordinator)


Dr Saunders completed an ESRC-funded PhD in the School of International Relations in 2015, after gaining an MLitt in International Political Theory and an undergraduate degree in International Relations. She is an Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, and the Associate Editor of the Journal of International Political Theory. Her work has been published in Refugee Survey Quarterly, The International Journal of Human Rights, and as part of Routledge Research on the Global Politics of Migration.

Research areas

Dr Saunders’ research sits at the intersection of global politics and political theory, focusing on contemporary social and political thought as a framework for analysing pressing global issues. She has a particular interest in issue of forced migration, human rights, and citizenship, and in conceptualisations of, and questions about, political responsibility, social justice, political subjectivity, and ‘decolonising’ political theory.

Dr Saunders’ research is currently concentrated in two related issue areas:

  • Border politics and protest: examining the protest movements and activism of irregularised migrants, with a particular focus on rights- and responsibility-claims made by protesting migrants. 
  • Civil disobedience, responsibility, and border politics: citizen activism in relation to immigration controls, with a particular focus on conceptions of citizenship and belonging manifested by such action.

In pursuing these lines of research Dr Saunders’ work diverges from the traditional state-centric focus of normative political theory/theorising on questions of justice, responsibility, and rights protection, seeking actively to integrate the voices and experiences of marginalised groups into theorising.


Dr Saunders has published on the history of refugee protection, on asylum seeker protest movements, and on the political thought of Hannah Arendt and Michel Foucault as they relate to forced migration and political action.

Please see my Pure research profile for updated publications information.


Dr Saunders teaches the following modules:

  • IR3065 Refugees and International Relations (Semester 1)
  • IR4565 Contemporary Political Theory (Semester 1)
  • IR5413 Topics in International Political Theory: Michel Foucault (Semester 2, co-taught with Patrick Hayden)

Dr Saunders also contributes to the following team-taught modules:

  • IR2005 Theoretical Approaches to International Relations (Semester 1)
  • IR2006 Issues in International Relations (Semester 2)
  • IR5401 Texts in International Political Theory (Semester 1)