Picture of Colleen Bell

Colleen Bell Ph.D.

Associate Professor

Graduate Supervisor in Political Studies
Faculty Member in Political Studies

Arts 279

Research Area(s)

  • Theories of security and war
  • Critical theories
  • Political Violence, counterterrorism, counterinsurgency
  • Police power in international relations
  • Gender and violence
  • Racism

About me

I am an international relations scholar specializing in theorizations of war and security, and the contested boundary between military and civilian operations in Western-led counterterrorism, counterinsurgency, and stabilization missions. I'm the author of The Freedom of Security: Governing Canada in the Age of Counterterrorism (UBC Press) and co-editor of War, Police and Assemblages of Intervention (with Jan Bachmann and Caroline Holmqvist). My current research projects examine police power in global politics, martial public diplomacy, and the politics of Canada’s feminist foreign policy. I am the past president of the International Studies Association-Canada section and the current editor of Critical Studies on Security. @ColleenDBell

I regularly teach the following courses: 

POLS 869: Theories of International Relations

POLS 364: International Terrorism 

POLS 370: War, Militarism and Society

POLS 110: Global Issues


War counterinsurgency counterterrorism insurgency intervention political violence security surveillance war on terror

Books and Edited Collections

Bachmann, J, C. Bell, C. Holmqvist, Eds 2015. War, Police and Assemblages of Intervention. London: Routledge: Interventions Series:  http://www.routledge.com/books/details/9780415732574/.

Bell, C. The Freedom of Security: Governing Canada in the Age of Counterterrorism. Nelson: University of British Columbia Press (2011). http://www.ubcpress.ca/search/title_book.asp?BookID=299173162.  

Bell, C. and B. Evans, Eds. 2010. "Post- Interventionary Societies”, Special issue in Journal of Intervention and Statebuilding 4.4 (2010). 

Bell, C and T. Managhan, Eds. 2006. Exceptional Measures for Exceptional Times: The State of Security Post 9/11. Toronto: Centre for International and Security Studies.

Articles, Chapters, Reviews

Bell, C., N. Lange and C. McRorie. 2024. “Our State/Ourselves: Discourses on Sexual Exploitation and Abuse in Police Peacekeeping. International Peacekeeping, 1-24.   https://doi.org/10.1080/13533312.2024.2358925

Bell, C. and C. Holmqvist. 2023 “Assemblages.” In Handbook on International Political Sociology, eds. Stacie Goddard, George Lawson and Ole Jacob Sending. Oxford University Press. Forthcoming. 

Pingeot. L & C. Bell (2022) "Recentring the coloniality of global policing," Third World Quarterly, DOI: 10.1080/01436597.2022.2102475

Bell, C, L. Diakuw and T. NaahSabie. 2020. "Review of Lippert, Walby, Warren and Palmer's National Security, Surveillance and Terror: Canada and Australia in Comparative Perspective." Surveillance and Society 18.4: https://doi.org/10.24908/ss.v18i4.14415

Deonandan, K and C. Bell. 2019. "Discipline and Punish: Gendered Dimensions of Violence in Extractive Development." Canadian Journal of Women and the Law 31.1: 24-57. 

Bell, C. 2018. "Celebrity Powers and Powers of War: The rise of the COINdinistas in American Popular Media," Critical Military Studies 4.3: 244-263.  DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/23337486.2016.1268370. 

Bell, C. and K. Schreiner. 2017. "Settler Colonialism and the ‘Civilizing’ Mission of Canada’s Mounties: Re-thinking Police Power in International Relations," International Journal 73.1 https://doi.org/10.1177/0020702018768480.

Bell, C. 2016. Review of The Political Impossibility of Counterinsurgency: strategic problems, puzzles, and paradoxes. Cambridge Review of International Affairs 29.2: 782-786.DOI:10.1080/09557571.2016.1189678.

Bell, C. 2013. “Grey’s Anatomy Goes South: Global racism and suspect identities in the colonial present,” Canadian Journal of Sociology 38.4: 487-508. https://www.jstor.org/stable/canajsocicahican.38.4.465. 

Bell, C. 2012. “Hybrid Warfare and its Metaphors,” Humanity: An International Journal of Human Rights 3.2: 225-247. http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/hum/summary/v003/3.2.bell.html.

Bell, C. 2012. “Insurgency and the Allegory of Medical Intervention: Why Metaphors Matter,” International Political Sociology 6.1. Forum on the International Political Sociology of Health and Medicine.

Bell, C. 2011. “Civilianising Warfare: Ways of War and Peace in Modern Counterinsurgency” Journal of International Relations and Development 14.3: 309-332. http://www.palgrave-journals.com/jird/journal/v14/n3/abs/jird201016a.html. 

Bell, C. and B. Evans. 2010. “From Terrorism to Insurgency: Re-mapping the Post-Interventionary Security Terrain,” Journal of Intervention and Statebuilding 4.4: 371-390. With Brad Evans.

 Bell, C. 2010. “Fighting the War and Winning the Peace: Three Critiques of the War in Afghanistan,” Critical Perspectives on Canadian Foreign Policy. Eds. J.M. Beier and L. Wylie (Oxford: Oxford University Press).

Bell, C. 2006. “Surveillance Strategies and Populations at Risk: Governing through Security in Canada’s National Security Policy,” Security Dialogue 37.2: 147-65.

Bell, C. 2006. “Subject to Exception: Security Certificates, National Security and Canada’s Role in the ‘War on Terror’,” Canadian Journal of Law and Society 21.1: 63-83.

C.A.S.E. Collective (Critical Approaches to Security in Europe). 2006. “Europe, Knowledge, Politics: Engaging with the Limits: The c.a.s.e. collective Responds,” Security Dialogue 38.4: 559-76. (Multi-authored, collective project).


Teaching & Supervision

global and international politics international studies security studies terrorism war


international relations and global politics, war and security studies, terrorism and counterterrorism, security-development nexus, international theory, political theory, Western intervention


counterterrorism critical security studies critical war studies development-security nexus foucault international political sociology political violence racism surveillance war

Education & Training

BA Honors University of Calgary

MA, PhD York University

SSHRC Post-doctoral Fellow University of Bristol and University of Toronto