Faculty of Education, Social Sciences and Law

School of Politics and International Studies

Research Student: Dr Volha Piotukh

The Biopolitics of Humanitarian Assistance: 'Caring' for the Populations of Afghanistan and Belarus

Photo of Dr Volha Piotukh

I am originally from Belarus, where I worked as a Lecturer in Public International Law and a civil servant (legal advisor).

I hold a BA in Law, an MA in International Politics from the University of Manchester and a PhD in Politics and International Studies from the University of Leeds, where I have also been teaching since 2008. I have successfully completed the University of Leeds Teaching Award (ULTA-1).

I have recently finished a PhD project that addressed the post-Cold War changes in the nature of international humanitarian action and used Michel Foucault’s theorising on biopolitics and governmentality, firmly placed within his broader thinking on power, to analyse policies and practices associated with “new” humanitarianism, along with two case studies – on the conflict-related assistance effort in Afghanistan post-2001 and the Chernobyl-related assistance effort in Belarus post-2000.

My research interests include: humanitarian action and its evolution, including aid securitisation and militarisation; Foucault’s theorising on power, in particular on biopolitics and governmentality, and Foucauldian applications, including politics of expertise; International Relations Theory; and Public International Law.

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