Helen M Kinsella

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Political Science
1325 SocSci

267 19th Ave S

Helen M. Kinsella is an Associate Professor of Political Science at University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. She also holds affiliate faculty positions at the Department of Gender, Women & Sexuality Studies, and the Interdisciplinary Center for the Study of Global Change. Her research focuses on the theorization of gender and armed conflict. She is currently working on a book on sleep in war. She is the author of The Image before the Weapon: A Critical History of the Distinction between Combatant and Civilian (Cornell University Press, 2011; paperback 2015), which won the 2012 Sussex International Theory Prize (The Centre for Advanced International Theory) and received an Honorable Mention for the 2012 Joseph S. Lepgold Book Prize (Georgetown University). Her work has also appeared in journals such as Review of International Studies, International Theory, Political Theory, Political Power and Social Theory, Feminist Review, among others. Prior to joining UMN, she was an Associate Professor at the Department of Political Science and an affiliate in the Department of Gender & Women’s Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, from 2005 to 2018. She has also held fellowships at the Council on Foreign Relations and the New York University School of Law, as well as postdoctoral and predoctoral appointments at Stanford University, and Harvard University, respectively.

Educational Background & Specialties

Educational Background

  • Ph.D.: Political Science, University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, 2004.
  • M.A.: Public Policy (Gender and Foreign Policy), Hubert H. Humphrey School of Public Affairs, University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, 1996.
  • B.A.: Political Science and Gender Studies, Bryn Mawr College, 1990.


  • International humanitarian law; international norms and institutions; international security; gender and armed conflict; international relations theories; contemporary political thought; feminist theories
Courses Taught
  • Critical International Relations Theory (graduate)
  • Night Raids, Detention, Torture and Drones: Methods of War (undergraduate)
  • Kinsella, Helen Mary, Laura Sjoberg. "Family values? Sexism and heteronormativity in Feminist Evolutionary Analytic (FEA) research." Review of International Studies 45.2 (2019): 260-279. Link
  • Kinsella, Helen Mary. "Sex as the secret: counterinsurgency in Afghanistan." International Theory 11.1 (2019): 26-47. Link
  • Kinsella, Helen Mary. "Feminism." The Globalization of World Politics: An Introduction to International Relations (2019): 189-203. Link
  • Kinsella, Helen Mary, Daniel J. Kapust. Comparative Political Theory in Time and Place: Theory's Landscapes. Palgrave Macmillan, 2017. Link
  • Kinsella, Helen Mary. "Superfluous Injury and Unnecessary Suffering: National Liberation and the Laws of War." Political Power and Social Theory 32 (2017): 205-231. Link
  • Kinsella, Helen Mary, Ramzi Fawaz, Justin Hall. "Discovering Paradise Islands: The Politics and Pleasures of Feminist Utopias, A Conversation." Feminist Review 116.1 (2017): 1-21. Link
  • Kinsella, Helen Mary. "Gender and International Humanitarian Law." Handbook of Gender in World Politics (2016): 171-177. Link
  • Kinsella, Helen Mary. "Gender and Human Shielding." American Journal of International Law 110 (2016): 296-334. Link
  • Kinsella, Helen Mary. "Possibilities of international intellectual history." Contemporary Political Theory 13:4 (2014): 387-418. Link
  • Kinsella, Helen Mary. "Simone Weil: An Introduction." Émigré Scholars and the Genesis of American International Relations (2014): 176-196. Link
  • Kinsella, Helen Mary. The Image Before the Weapon: A Critical History of the Distinction between Combatant and Civilian. Cornell University Press, 2011. Link
  • Kinsella, Helen Mary. "Feminism, Art, and Politics: Fragments of the Same?." International Feminist Journal of Politics 11.3 (2009): 305-333. Link
  • Kinsella, Helen Mary. "Arendt and Analogies." International Politics 45.4 (2008): 497-505. Link
  • Kinsella, Helen Mary. "Understanding a War That Is Not a War: A Review Essay." Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society 33.1 (2007): 209-231. Link
  • Kinsella, Helen Mary. "Gendering Grotius: Sex and Sex Difference in the Laws of War." Political Theory 34.2 (2006): 161-191. Link
  • Kinsella, Helen Mary. "Securing the Civilian: Sex and Gender in the Laws of War." Power and Global Governance (2005): 249-272. Link
  • Kinsella, Helen Mary. "Discourses of difference: civilians, combatants, and compliance with the laws of war." Review of International Studies 31 (2005): 163-185. Link
  • Kinsella, Helen Mary. "Women, Peace, and Security: Resolution 1325." International Feminist Journal of Politics 6.1 (2004): 130-140. Link
  • Kinsella, Helen Mary. "For a Careful Reading: The Conservatism of Gender Constructivism." International Studies Review 5.2 (2003): 287-302. Link
  • Council on Foreign Relations, The International Affairs Fellowship for Tenured International Relations Scholars - placement at the International Committee of the Red Cross, 2018 - 2019
  • Center on Human Rights and Global Justice, New York University Law School - Fellow, 2018 - 2019
  • Vilas Associate Award, Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research and Graduate Education, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2016 - 2017
  • Feminist Scholars’ Fellowship, Department of Gender and Women’s Studies, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2016
  • Residential Fellowship, Institute for Research in the Humanities, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2015
  • Winner, Sussex International Theory Prize, The Centre fro Advanced International Theory, University of Sussex for "The Image Before the Weapon", 2012
  • Honorable Mention, Lepgold Book Prize, The Edmund A.Walsh School of Foreign Service, Mortara Center for International Studies, Georgetown University for “The Image Before the Weapon”, 2012
  • Robert and Susan Trice Faculty Scholar Award, Department of Political Science, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2011
  • Vilas Life Cycle Fellowship for Professional Development, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2006 - 2007
  • Helen Dwight Reid Award for best dissertation in international relations, law, and politics by the American Political Science Association, 2004
  • Feminist Theory and Gender Studies Section of International Studies Association, Winner of the Best Paper Award for “Securing the Civilian,” International Studies Association, 2003 - 2004