Dr Katarina H.S. Birkedal

My research is centrally concerned with understanding the role of stories in politics, whether they be those told in popular culture, the history lessons taught in school, the narrative of world order presented by theories – or indeed any other kind of story! I am intrigued by the power of stories to shape identity and communicate meaning, and my work thus far has focussed on this issue through different contexts; most notably, gender and queerness in cosplay, and the nature of war visualised through narratives.

My work is inherently interdisciplinary, drawing on literature, theory, and methodology from diverse fields, from archaeology to film studies. I believe that the embrace of complexity and nuance is key to intriguing research. I enjoy including crafts, artwork, and different writing styles in my work, finding in these media ways to explore that complexity that inheres in social and political research.

Until the end of July 2021, I am Research Fellow on the Visualising War Project, which is based in the School of Classics, University of St Andrews. Here I work to bridge disciplinary siloes, in order to better understand they ways in which war stories interact and shape our understanding – and enactment – of war.

I was awarded my PhD in International Relations from the University of St Andrews in 2019 for my thesis titled ‘Resistance, Reproduction, Attachment: Unsettling gender through cosplay.’

Further to the above, my research interests include: masks, masquerade, and costume; mythology; games and play; international political theory; intersectionality; and emotions.

Recent publications/activities:

Embodying a perpetrator: Transcending identity through performance in cosplay

Closing traps: emotional attachment, intervention, and juxtaposition in cosplay and International Relations

What do we mean by ‘Visualising War’?