Doerthe's research is situated in the interstices of theories of coloniality, decoloniality and materiality, questions of nature and environmental activism, as well as political struggle more generally. Using theories, methodologies and concepts from different disciplines, such as International Relations, human geography, anthropology, sociology, and continental philosophy, she understands her work as genuinely transdisciplinary. This has become manifest in many of her publications to date: she has published articles in both IR and geography journals, a monograph in a geography series, and has convened a cross-disciplinary British Academy conference on the theme of vulnerability and care together with a philosopher and an anthropologist that will be published as an edited volume in the Proceedings of the British Academy in 2019.
Her monograph Un-Making Environmental Activism: Beyond Modern/Colonial Binaries in the GMO Controversy was published in the Routledge series ‘Research in Space, Place and Politics’. This book has concluded a research project on how to critically theorise and analyse political struggle (particularly environmental activism) from perspectives that engage notions of materiality and decoloniality; unravelling how the fundamental modern dichotomy between the human and the natural has historically come about through the colonial oppression of other, non-Western and often non-binary ways of knowing nature and living in the world. Bringing the thought and practices of anti-GMO activists at various sites into critical dialogue with the thought of Gilles Deleuze, Bruno Latour, María Lugones, and Gayatri C. Spivak, as well as a broader range of postcolonial and decolonial bodies of thought, the book develops different, decolonised environmental activist strategies that move away from this epistemology.
Doerthe is currently developing a new research project that is interested in substantially engaging what Walter D. Mignolo calls the ‘outside’ of modernity/coloniality – those bodies of knowledge and ways to live which have been suppressed and eliminated by the universal aspirations and colonial practices of modernity. In this context, she is particularly interested in how practices and logics of settler colonialism are made sense of by North American Indigenous scholars; drawing in particular on the work of Glen Coulthard, Leanne Betasamosake Simpson, and Audra Simpson.
Another strand of Doerthe's work is based in her continuing collaboration with Lara Coleman from the University of Sussex. They are working on a broader critique of the constraining impact of disciplinary boundaries and paradigms, particularly in relation to critical security studies and poststructuralist IR, on critical/radical thought and action. In a major paper that is currently under review they are reflecting on the need to develop a new approach to critical IR that attempts overcome the dilemma of recognising (based on Foucault) the historical contingency of any claims to truth while at the same time forwarding a new understanding of theory that allows us to develop general (though never quite stable) categories for making sense of structures of power and domination at particular historical conjunctures.
Research group membership
Doerthe participates in the research groups International Political Theory
and Cultures, Identities and Differences
in the Department of Social Sciences.
Research grants and awards
In February 2017 Doerthe convened, together with two colleagues, a British Academcy Conference on the theme Vulnerability and the Politics of Care: Cross-Disciplinary Dialogues which was funded by the British Academy.