Photo of Ross Williamson

Ross Williamson

PhD Candidate (Legal Studies)

Research Interests:

  • Theoretical and historical approaches to international law, particularly international humanitarian law and its predecessors.
  • State violence, law and war.
  • Identity and performativity.
  • Socio-legal theory and popular culture.

Ross joined the legal studies PhD program in the fall of 2013 after completing his BA and MA in that same department at Carleton University.  Despite his long presence in legal studies programs, he pursues interdisciplinary research.  His MA thesis combined performativity, constructivist international relations theory, postcolonial insights and international law history.  His current research centres on the different ways that people understand violence and their relation to violence, specifically through the distinction in international law between war and peace.  What stories do these categories allow us to tell, and what stories do they foreclose or conceal?  How do they affect the ongoing work of legal actors to construct various, often conflicting identities?  On what assumptions do these categories rely, and how do actors contest those assumptions?  At present, he is developing a thesis proposal that will allow him to engage with these questions as well as their relationship with imperialism through a number of case studies.  While these are changing, they currently centre on 19th and early 20th century British imperialism, particularly in Latin America.  However, he is also intermittently working on article projects involving ontopower and drone strikes, as well as historical and present-day piracy.


Christiane Wilke

Committee (current):

Betina Appel Kuzmarov
Andrew Johnston (history department)