Module Convenor for P03UNI: The United Nations in the International System
Areas of interest
My research concerns the implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1325 (women, peace and security) by small and middle powers engaged in peacekeeping.
Funded by the Leverhulme Trust and the British Academy, I am the Principal Investigator of a five-year comparative research project which examines how the UN’s protection of civilians and gender equality norms, intended to facilitate gender-responsive, people-centred peacekeeping, are implemented in the pre-deployment training and deployment practices of troop contributing countries from the Global North and the Global South.
Theoretically, the project contributes to theorising norm implementation and practice change in peacekeeping and explores methodological issues around conducting feminist research within institutions.
I have conducted extensive qualitative field research with Ghana Armed Forces, Rwanda Defence Force and the British Army, and concentrate on three peacekeeping operations in South Sudan, Darfur and Mali.
A second research area explores the evolving gender dynamics in conflicts in the Great Lakes region of Africa. My book Women and War in Rwanda: Genocide, Media and the Representation of Genocide (2013, I.B Tauris) examines how gendered narratives about war and genocide are used in the public diplomacy of actors with strategic interests in the region, including states (UK, France, Rwanda and the DRC), militia groups (FDLR and the CNDP), human rights activists and Rwandan and Congolese diaspora groups.
Research centres and groups
- Founding member and Co-Chair of the BISA Peacekeeping and Peacebuilding Working Group (2018–)
- Co-Lead, Gender and Peacekeeping Research Cluster, West Africa Peace and Security Network (a partnership between the University of Quebec, University of Bonn, University of Portsmouth and the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre in Ghana)
- Associate Chair, Africa Research Network, Department of War Studies, King's College London
I joined the University of Reading in January 2016 as a Leverhulme Early Career Research Fellow and I am also a Visiting Research Fellow at the National University of Rwanda.
Prior to joining Reading, I was a Lecturer in International Relations at the University of Portsmouth. Previously, I worked in strategic and organisational change communications, including in the UK government, and have experience working in applied social research, both as a communications practitioner and as a researcher in public policy and international law.
My experience in implementing national, multi-sited organisational change programmes, staff engagement and reputation management informs my theoretical work.
I am the co-founder and current chair of the BISA Peacekeeping and Peacebuilding Working Group; Co-Lead of the Gender and Peacekeeping Research Cluster of the West Africa Peace and Security Network (a partnership between the University of Quebec, University of Bonn, University of Portsmouth and the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre in Ghana); an academic advisor on Women, Peace and Security to the British Army; and an editor for the journal Genocide Studies and Prevention.
- BA Honours, University of Warwick
- MA, University of Warwick
- PhD, SOAS University of London
- Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (FHEA)
Awards and honours
- Runner up, University of Reading Research Output Prize for Early Career researchers (prosperity and resilience theme) (2021) - awarded for her article, ‘Situating Agency, Embodied Practices and Norm Implementation in Peacekeeping Training’, in International Peacekeeping 26 55-84 (2019).
- The Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF): Pump Priming Grant (2017–2018)
- Leverhulme Early Career Research Fellowship (2016–2019)
- British Academy Small Research Grant (2014–2015)
Professional bodies/affiliationsHonorary Research Associate, Department of Politics and International Relations, Royal Holloway, University of London (2013–2015)
- Holmes, G. (2020) Strengthening UK support for gender responsive, people-centred peacekeeping in Africa. RUSI Journal , 165 (5-6). pp. 36-45. ISSN: 1744-0378 | doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/03071847.2020.1844593
- Holmes, G. (2020) Feminist institutionalism. In: Oksamytna, K. and Karlsrud, J. , (eds.) United Nations Peace Operations and International Relations Theory. Manchester University Press , Manchester. ISBN: 9781526148872
- Duriesmith, D. and Holmes, G. (2019) The masculine logic of DDR and SSR in the Rwanda Defence Force. Security Dialogue , 50 (4). pp. 361-379. ISSN: 1460-3640 | doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0967010619850346
- Holmes, G. and Buscaglia, I. (2019) Rebranding Rwanda’s peacekeeping identity during post-conflict transition. In: Grayson, H. and Hitchcott, N. , (eds.) Rwanda Since 1994: Stories of Change. Francophone Postcolonial Studies Liverpool University Press (10). , Liverpool. pp. 104-124. ISBN: 9781786941992
- Holmes, G. (2019) Enhancing operational effectiveness? Pre-deployment training for tactical-level Rwandan female military peacekeepers. War Amongst the People: Critical Assessments. Sandhurst Trends in International Conflict Series Howgate Publishing , Havant. ISBN: 9781912440023
- Holmes, G. , Wright, K. , Basu, S. , Hurley, M. , Martin de Almagro, M. , Guerrina, R. , Cheng, C. (2019) Feminist experiences of ‘studying up’: encounters with international institutions. Millennium: Journal of International Studies , 47 (2). pp. 210-230. ISSN: 1477-9021 | doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0305829818806429
- Holmes, G. (2019) Situating agency, embodied practices and norm implementation in peacekeeping training. International Peacekeeping , 26 (1). pp. 55-84. ISSN: 1743-906X | doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13533312.2018.1503934
- Curran, D. , Holmes, G. , Cunliffe, P. (2018) Peacekeeping after Brexit. pp. 1-18.
- Holmes, G. (2018) Teaching the United Nations, gender and critical pedagogy. Peace Review , 30 (3). pp. 285-294. ISSN: 1040-2659 | doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/10402659.2018.1495805
- Holmes, G. (2018) Gender and the military in post-genocide Rwanda. In: Bemporad, E. and Warren, J. , (eds.) Women and genocide: survivors, victims, perpetrators. Indiana University Press , Bloomington.