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School of Social and Political Science: Staff profiles


Oliver Turner

Oliver Turner
Dr Oliver Turner
Lecturer in International Relations
3.02 Chrystal Macmillan Building 15a George Square Edinburgh UK EH8 9LD
0131 651 5678
Research Interests
US foreign policy, US-China/Asia relations, British foreign policy in Asia, Critical geopolitics, International relations of East/South East Asia, Decolonisation

Guidance and Feedback Hours

  • Mondays 10.00 - 12.00. Please email in advance. For alternative times please contact to arrange.

Summary bio

Oliver Turner is a Lecturer in International Relations at the University of Edinburgh.

Oliver gained his PhD from the University of Manchester, where he later worked as Hallsworth Research Fellow before joining Edinburgh. He has acted as convenor (2016/17) and co-convenor (2017/18) of BISA's US Foreign Policy working group, and is a former visiting research fellow at the Swedish Institute of International Affairs.

Oliver's research is located broadly within the IR sub-field of Security Studies, with overlaps into Foreign Policy Analysis and International Political Economy. His current research interests are in US politics and foreign policy; US-China/Asia relations, the international politics of East and South East Asia; and British policy and presence in Asia. His work is primarily informed by postcolonial, critical social constructivist, and critical geopolitical theory. He has published a monograph on historical and contemporary American images of China and their role in US China policy. His other research appears in journals including the European Journal of International Relations, Review of International Studies, Third World Quarterly, and Geopolitics, as well as in such current affairs outlets as The National Interest, The Diplomat, and The Conversation.  

At Edinburgh, Oliver convenes the courses International Relations Theory (PGSP11156) and International Relations of the Asia Pacific (PLIT10109). He also acts as Academic Misconduct Officer for the University's School of Social and Political Science.

You can follow Oliver on and Twitter



- Turner, O. (2014), American Images of China: Identity, Power, Policy (London: Routledge).

Journal articles

- Turner, O. (2018) ‘Subcontracting, Facilitating, and Qualities of Regional Power: The UK’s Partial Pivot to Asia’, Asia Europe Journal.

- Turner, O. (2016), ‘China, India and the US Rebalance to the Asia Pacific: The Geopolitics of Rising Identities’, Geopolitics 21(4), pp.922-944.

- Pan, C. and Turner, O. (2016), ‘Neoconservatism as Discourse: Virtue, Power and US Foreign Policy’, European Journal of International Relations 23(1), pp.74-96.

- Turner, O. (2013), ‘Threatening China and US Security: The International Politics of Identity’, Review of International Studies 39(4), pp.903-924.

- Turner, O. (2013), ‘Finishing the Job: The UN’s Special Committee on Decolonization and the Politics of Self-Governance’, Third World Quarterly 34(7), pp.1193-1208.

- Turner, O. (2011), ‘Sino-US Relations Then and Now: Discourse, Images, Policy’, Political Perspectives 5(3), pp. 27-45.

- Turner, O. (2009), ‘China’s Recovery: Why the Writing Was Always on the Wall’, The Political Quarterly 80(1), pp. 111-118.

Book chapters 

- Hulme, D. and Turner, O. (2018), ‘Poverty Reduction’, in Weiss, T.G. and Wilkinson, R. (eds.) International Organization and Global Governance, second edition (London: Routledge), pp.694-706.

- Turner O. (2016), ‘The US and China: Obama’s Cautious Engagement’, in Holland, J. and Bentley, M. (eds.) The Obama Doctrine: Legacy and Continuity in US Foreign Policy (London: Routledge).

- Turner, O. (2014), ‘The US Pivot to the Asia Pacific’, in Parmar, I., Miller, L. and Ledwidge, M. (eds.) Obama and the World: New Directions in US Foreign Policy, 2nd edition (London: Routledge), pp.219-230.

- Hulme, D. and Turner, O. (2014), ‘Poverty Reduction’, in Weiss, T.G. and Wilkinson, R. (eds.) International Organization and Global Governance (London: Routledge), pp. 632-643.


- Turner, O. (2017)  ‘The United States and China: Ruptures and Realignments in Trump's First Six Months’. Swedish Institute of International Affairs, Brief no. 9. (Republished on the PIR blog:

- Turner, O. (2015) ‘China and the 2016 US Presidential Debates: Curiosities and Contradictions’. Swedish Institute of International Affairs, Brief no. 3.

Book reviews

- Turner, O. (2018), Review of Gordon Chang, Fateful Ties: A History of America’s Preoccupation with China (Harvard: Harvard University Press), The China Journal, 79, 192-193.

- Turner, O. (2016), Review of Jeb Sprague, Globalization and Transnational Capitalism in Asia and Oceania (London: Routledge, 2015), Journal of Asia Pacific Economy 22(1), pp.191-193.

- Turner, O. (2014), Review of Chengxin Pan, Knowledge, Desire and Power in Global Politics: Western Representations of China’s Rise (Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar, 2012), Global Change, Peace and Security, pp.121-123.

- Turner, O. (2013), Review of Dambisa Moyo, Winner Take All: China’s Race for Resources and What it Means for Us (London: Allen Lane, 2012), Journal of International Development 25(4), pp.596-597.

Media/Opinion pieces

- Turner, O. (2018) 'The Golden Era of UK-China Relations Meets Brexit', The Diplomat,

- Turner, O. and Pan, C. (2016), ‘How Neocons are Still Winning in 2016', The National Interest,

- Turner, O. (2016), ‘China and ASEAN: A Complex and Evolving Landscape’, University of Nottingham China Policy Institute, 

- Turner, O. (2016), ‘The Motives Behind China’s South China Sea Expansion’, South East Asia Globe,

- Turner, O. (2014), ‘Hagel Speech on China’s ‘Rise’ exposes Hypocrisy in Washington, The Conversation, 11 July. Available online:

- Turner, O. (2013), ‘West Fears the Rise of Some Countries More Than Others’, The Conversation, 9 December. Available online:

Topics interested in supervising

Oliver is interested in supervising PhD dissertations on US, British or European foreign policies in East/South East Asia; and the international politics of East and South East Asia, all in historical and/or contemporary contexts.

If you are interested in being supervised by Oliver Turner, please see the links below for more information:

PhD in Politics; MSc (R) Politics