James Shires

Mr James Shires

Research topic:
The emergence of cyber-security in the Middle East
Degree course:

Research Themes:
Political Theory Cyber security International relations International security Power Political thought and ideologies Violence, security and conflict 

Academic Profile

My research examines the emergence of cyber-security in the Middle East, specifically looking at the relationships between governments, businesses, and international organisations in identifying and responding to cyber risks. I have an MSc in Global Governance and Public Policy from Birkbeck College, University of London, and a BA in Philosophy from the University of Cambridge.

Teaching specialism, interests and experience

Teaching Interests:

International Relations Theory, International Security, Political Sociology, Discourse Analysis, Qualitative Methods, Critical and Post-colonial Studies, Cyber-security, Theories of Terrorism and Counter-Terrorism.

Teaching Experience:

I have completed the University of Oxford Social Science Division Preparation for Teaching Course, and have provided tutorials in ‘International Relations Theory’ and ‘International Relations in the Cold War', as well as designing and delivering a module in ‘International Relations and Emerging Security Challenges’. I am currently supervising an undergraduate final year thesis in Politics, and will design and run workshops on qualitative methods software for the MPhil Qualitative Methods course in spring 2017.


2016 Awarded Anglo-Omani Society Language Scholarship (Arabic)

        Winner, Cyber Security Essay Competition, International Institute for Strategic Studies

              Title: “Discourses of cyber-security in the Middle East”

2015 Awarded Christ Church Language Grant (Arabic)

        Winner, German Marshall Fund Young Writer's Award (with C. Laporte-Oshiro)

              Title: “Negotiating order in cyberspace: security spirals or trade foundations?”

        Awarded Santander Academic Travel Award

        Awarded DPIR Cyril Foster Fund Travel Grant

2014 Awarded ESRC DPhil Studentship

2013 Nominated for Birkbeck College Norman Price Prize in Politics

2007 Awarded Clare College Foundation Scholarship 


Shires, James and Catherine Laporte-Oshiro. “Negotiating order in cyberspace: security spirals or trade foundations?”, German Marshall Fund, Brussels, February 2016. Available online at http://brussels.gmfus.org/microsites/brussels-forum/young-writers-award.

Shires, James. “Discourses of cyber-security: regional cyber risks in the Middle East”, Policy paper for International Institute for Strategic Studies, London, 2016.

Shires, James and Max Smeets. “What do we talk about when we talk about cyber?” (under review, available online at https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2860839.

Shires, James. “International improvisation: cyber (in)security in the Middle East” (working paper)

Shires, James. “Export knowledge: a genealogy of cyber-security in the GCC” (working paper)

Conference Papers and Presentations

06/2016: “Discourses of cyber-security: regional cyber risks in the Middle East”

               British International Studies Association, Edinburgh

06/2016: “Evolving security arrangements in the Arab Gulf states”

               ESRC Interdisciplinary Conference, Oxford

03/2016: “Discourses of cyber-security: regional cyber risks in the Middle East”

               Western Political Science Association, San Diego

03/2016: “Conceptualising cyber risks in the Middle East”

               Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey

10/2015: “Forecast and failure in cyber-security”

               Millennium Journal of International Affairs Conference, London

09/2015: “The politics of knowledge: the construction of risk in cyber-security”

               University of Oxford Cyber Security Early Careers Symposium

06/2015: “Cyber-security as risk management”

                International Studies Graduate Workshop, Foundazione Bruno Kessler, Italy