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Zakia Shiraz

Academic Profile

2009 – 2014: Ph.D. Politics and International Studies, University of Warwick, UK
2004 – 2008: BA (Hons) Comparative American Studies, University of Liverpool, UK


I completed my doctoral research in the Department of Politics and International Studies in association with the Landscapes of Secrecy Project on the CIA and American Foreign Policy, with a particular focus in Latin America. My doctoral research on Colombia analysed the internal dynamics of the civil conflict from the onset of La Violencia in 1946. Prior to commencing my PhD at the University of Warwick, I spent time in Argentina researching with human rights organisations, including Asociación Madres de Plaza de Mayo examining the country’s transition to democracy in 1983 following the military dictatorship of General Videla and the Falklands War. Following my Ph.D. I secured a Postdoctoral Fellowship at the Institute of Advanced Study and the Centre for Interdisciplinary Methodologies at Warwick. As part of my ongoing work in Latin America, I am also a Research Associate at the Conflict Analysis Resource Centre (CERAC) in Bogotá, Colombia.

Doctoral Research

My research re-interpreted the long-standing Colombian conflict. It sought to escape the Americanisation of this subject by focusing on the internal dynamics of the violence. It used fresh archival material, interviews and press clippings with an emphasis on academic literature from Colombian authors to explore the development of the conflict since 1948. Colombian security has been traditionally framed as an extension of U.S. foreign policy with great emphasis placed on the various initiatives enforced by successive U.S. administrations through the Cold War, War on Drugs and the global War on Terror. This is particularly problematic as it reflective on the great power bias within academic literature as the focal point of many scholars when examining the Colombian conflict is actually U.S. foreign policy. The driving force behind the implementation security policy within Colombia itself is neglected. My doctoral thesis will addressed this gap in current literature and offered an up to date historical analysis of the Colombian conflict. I am currently developing the thesis manuscript beyond its current constraints to offer a comprehensive analysis of the internal dynamics of the conflict from 1946 to the present day.

Research Interests

Security in the Global South; insurgency; CIA and Latin America; Latin American politics; civil war.


In print or accepted


Colombia in Conflict, 1946-2016 (Edinburgh University Press, forthcoming 2016) contracted.

Journal Articles

CIA Intervention in Chile and the Fall of the Allende Government in 1973’, Journal of American Studies, 45:3, 2011.

'Drugs and Dirty Wars: Intelligence Co-operation in the Global South', Third World Quarterly, 34:10, 2013.

Book Chapters

‘White Out: The CIA and the Drugs Debate’ in Richard J. Aldrich and Matthew Jones (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of the Central Intelligence Agency. Oxford: Oxford University Press, forthcoming 2015.

'Globalisation and Borders' in Robert Dover, Michael S. Goodman, Claudia Hillebrand (eds.) Routledge Companion to Intelligence Studies. London: Routleledge, 2013, co-authored with Richard J. Aldrich.

'Intelligence in the Global South: China, Colombia and South Africa', Christopher Andrew et al. (eds.), Secret Intelligence. London: Routledge, forthcoming 2015, co-authored with John Kasuku.

Awards and Fellowships

2014: Associate Researcher, Centro de Recursos para el Análisis de Conflictos (CERAC, Conflict Analysis Research Centre) Bogotá, Colombia

2012: Visiting Researcher, Latin America Centre, St Antony’s College, University of Oxford

2011: Visiting Fellow, Centro de Recursos para el Análisis de Conflictos (CERAC, Conflict Analysis Research Centre) Bogotá, Colombia

2011: ERASMUS Staff Mobility Grant, Universidad Complutense de Madrid

2010: Santander Research Fund Award, University of Warwick

Zakia Shiraz


Centre for Interdisciplinary Methodologies
University of Warwick