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Simone Tholens

Part-time Assistant Professor

Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies

Contact info

[email protected]

Working languages

Norwegian, English

Simone Tholens

Part-time Assistant Professor

Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies


Simone Tholens is Associate Professor of International Relations at John Cabot University, and part-time assistant professor at the European University Institute/Robert Schuman Centre. Her main research interest are interventions, security assistance, bordering processes, and materiality of global war practices, as well as theories of contestation and practice. She has worked on these issues in the Middle East, Western Balkans and South East Asia. In her research, she combines critical approaches to security & conflict, with practice-based methodologies.

Her ongoing projects include a monograph on Assembling Security Assistance: Knowledge, Materiality and Networks of a Global Practice (for submission with Oxford University Press), as well as a series of initiatives on Ignorance and Interventions, in which she focuses on the role of non-knowledge, secrecy and ignorance in contemporary intervention practices.

Simone was previously a Senior Lecturer at Cardiff University (2016-2021), and the Co-founder and Director of the Centre for Conflict, Security and Societies. She has also taught at Johns Hopkins University SAIS Europe as an Adjunct Professor, teaching Conflict Management and Europe-Middle East relations. After graduating with a PhD in International Relations at the European University Institute (2012), she was a post-doctoral Research Fellow at the EUI, working on the ERC funded Borderlands project (2013-2016). She has also been a visiting fellow at the Norwegian Institute of Foreign Affairs (NUPI) and the Wissenshaftszentrum Berlin (WZB) and has held the Leverhulme Trust’s International Academic Fellowship (2020-2021)

Her publications include the recently co-edited volume Resisting Europe: Practices of Contestation in the Mediterranean Middle East (University of Michigan Press, 202); as well as academic articles in a wide range of journals, including International Affairs, Journal of International Relations and Development, Small Wars & Insurgencies, Journal of Intervention and Statebuilding, European Security and International studies Perspectives.

Fields of expertise

View more Research Output Go to Cadmus

Other publications

  • Tholens, Simone. 2023. “Regional entanglements: MENA states as providers of Security Assistance”, in Robert Springborg, Sean Yom, and Lindsay Benstead (eds.) Political Economy of Security Assistance to the Arab Middle East, Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner.
  • Tholens, Simone and Rosa Maryon. 2022. “European Counter-terrorism and organised crime”, in Erik Jones and Veronica Anghel (eds.) Developments of European Politics Vol 3, London: Bloomsbury Academic.
  • Tholens, Simone. 2021. “Intervention Practices: Assembling Security Force Assistance in Lebanon”, Journal of Intervention and Statebuilding, Vol. 15, Issue 5, pp. 647-664.
  • Bueger, Christian and Simone Tholens. 2021. “Theorizing Capacity Building”, in Bueger, Christian, Timothy Edmunds and Robert McCabe (eds.) Understanding Capacity Building: Maritime Security and the Western Indian Ocean Experience, London: Palgrave.
  • Tholens, Simone. 2019. “Winning the Post-War: Norm Localization and Small Arms Control in Kosovo and Cambodia”, Journal ofInternational Relations and Development, Vol. 22, Issue 1, pp. 50-76.
  • Santini, Ruth Hanau, and Simone Tholens. 2018. ‘Security assistance in a post-interventionist era: the impact on limited statehood in Lebanon and Tunisia’, Small Wars and Insurgencies, Vol. 29, Issue 3, pp. 491-514.
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