Tobias Ruettershoff

Tobias Ruettershoff

Department: Strategy and Security Institute
Discipline: Politics

Project Summary

PhD research project: “Expert knowledge production in US military campaigns (1898-2008): The cases of the Philippines, Vietnam and Iraq“

The thesis examines the status of ‘expert knowledge’ in the history of US warfare during the last century. With a specific focus on the campaigns in the Philippines (1899-1902), Vietnam (1954-75) and Iraq (2003-11), the central research question guiding the project is as follows: “What were the conditions for the evolution of the constitution and use of ‘outside’ expert knowledge in US wars?” The history of these military campaigns suggests that so-called ‘experts’ have played an increasingly important role in knowledge production, that is, in defining and providing solutions to specific challenges the US Army has faced in waging imperialist wars. The historical rise of expert influence has so far been neglected in the study of wars within the field of International Relations. However, it is an important question that needs to be addressed because such ‘knowledge’ may have been used to develop or legitimise certain deleterious concepts or strategies in these wars.

Supervisory Team

First Supervisor: Dr Sergio Catignani, MA (Hons), MLitt (Res), DPhil, FHEA

Second Supervisor: Dr. Victoria Basham

Research Mentor: Dr. Catarina Thomson

Wider Research Interests

Tobias’ main research interests are in the field of International Relations (IR) with a focus on strategic and security studies (particularly small wars and irregular warfare, (counter-)insurgency and military interventions). His BA thesis is entitled: “Foreign Military Intervention in Intrastate Conflicts – What determines third-party engagement in civil wars?”. In his Master dissertation he wrote about “Terrorising Terrorists – The ‘targeted killing’ of terrorists on foreign soil: Legal and political aspects.” For the PhD, Tobias researches how expert knowledge is utilized by the US government and US military in constituting and conducting asymmetric military campaigns.