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Constance Wilhelm

Constance Wilhelm

PhD Student


Constance Wilhelm is an experienced researcher and Public and Humanitarian Policy consultant, specialising in conflict-affected areas and fragile states. She has worked with think tanks at Princeton University and New York University, with the Afghan Mission to the UN in New York, the OECD in Paris, humanitarian and international development organisations and a public policy consulting firm in Lebanon (leading teams in Syria), in Jordan (leading teams in Yemen), in Afghanistan, in Libya, as well as across both the Horn of Africa and the Sahel-Lake Chad region.

She has designed and implemented mixed qualitative and quantitative methods research and analysis projects for the EU, the U.S. government, European and African governments, the World Bank, International NGOs, and UN agencies. Constance has an MA in Conflict Management and International Economics from Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) and a BA from McGill University.

Constance is currently a doctoral researcher with the Department of War Studies at King’s College London, where her research interests include feminist security studies and socio-legal methodologies. At King’s, she participates in the War Crimes Research Group; the Society, Culture, and Law theme; the IR and Ethics theme; and is a Senior Editor for the Strife Journal. She is fluent in French and English, intermediate in Levantine Arabic, Spanish, and Italian, and a beginner in Modern Greek.


Research Interests

  • Critical Security and Terrorism Studies, including Feminist Security Studies
  • Socio-legal methodologies, including legal feminism
  • Islamic State (IS), Daesh
  • Women, Political Violence
  • Counter-Terrorism



  • Wilhelm, Constance (2020). "Peace in the time of pandemic". Strife - King's College London Department of War Studies.
  • Wilhelm, Constance (2014). "Identity politics: the MNLF, the MILF, and what their differences mean for the transition". In Hopmann, P. Terrence & Zartman, I. William (Eds.), Mindanao: Understanding Conflict 2014 (pp. 27-38). Washington, D.C.: Johns Hopkins University.
  • Wilhelm, Constance (2014). "Responsibility to Protect: R2P Doesn't Work". SAIS Observer, March 30 2014.
  • Taylor, Glyn, Abby Stoddard, Adele Harmer, Katherine Haver, Paul Harvey, Kathryn Barber, Lisa Schreter, and Constance Wilhelm. The State of the Humanitarian System. London: ALNAP – ODI, 2012.
  • Bruce Jones, Jake Sherman, Megan Gleason, and Constance Wilhelm (2011). “Recent Evolutions in Statebuilding: From Supporting Capacity-Building to Political Processes in Statebuilding” in Situations of Fragility and Conflict: Relevance for US Policies and Programs, USAID.



Between Politics and Law: The Question of the European female Islamic State returnees

This research project adopts an interdisciplinary approach to investigate the question: How are the European women that joined the Islamic State being dealt with by national governments and international institutions? This research will apply gender and socio-legal approaches to the counterterrorism and judicial practices as well as international cooperation of the UK, France, and the European Union regarding the return, prosecution, conviction, and reintegration of female returnees.

Key questions to be investigated will be: 1) Whether and to what extent these counterterrorism and judicial responses reflect a gendered application of legal conventions, institutional norms, and policy frameworks? 2) To what extent the international legal conventions and domestic legal frameworks applied to these women, including but not limited to rights to citizenship and conceptual distinctions such as that between combatants and non- combatants, reflect a gendered understanding of the capacity of female IS adherents for ideological conviction, of the particular roles attributed to them, and of their agency? 3) How is the degree of risk these individuals are seen to pose to society framed and calculated, and what are the factors that influence this framing? This project seeks to contribute to the academic discourse on gender and violence and to facilitate the creation of coherent and just national and multi-lateral responses to the case of female returnees.


First Supervisor: Professor Vivienne Jabri

Second Supervisor: Dr. Nicola Palmer


War Crimes Research Group

Conducting research and teaching on war crimes (broadly conceived) and war.


War Crimes Research Group

Conducting research and teaching on war crimes (broadly conceived) and war.