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Lucy Thomas

Lucy Thomas

PhD Candidate


Lucy is a PhD candidate in the Department of War Studies, as part of the ESRC-funded LISS Doctoral Training Partnership. She holds an MA in International Conflict Studies from King’s College London, and an MSc in International Relations from the London School of Economics, both with Distinction. She is currently a Research Associate with the Policy Institute at King’s.

Thesis Title

Constellations of Violence: Producing and Managing White Supremacist Terror


The last five years have seen a number of high-profile instances of violence described as white supremacist terror, for example the 2019 Christchurch Mosque massacres and 2015 Charleston Church shootings. These instances have gained support from across the political spectrum for increasingly intrusive measures, including enhanced surveillance practices.

This thesis seeks to problematise both an understanding of such instances as a distinct genre of violence (white supremacist terror) and of broad support for solutionist measures. This thesis is underpinned by anti-colonial and Black feminist writings on white supremacy, which affords a broader understanding of it as a structuring dynamic in Western societies.

From this starting point, this thesis focuses on three ‘sites’ (police stop-and-search practices; mapping Muslim communities in the US for anti-terror policing; support for enhanced social media surveillance post-Christchurch) to analyse how ‘white supremacist terror’ is produced and managed. The thesis maps the fluid, dynamic and overlapping forms of violence—a ‘constellation’—that constitute an understanding of white supremacist terror as a distinct genre of violence. Particularly, it seeks to understand and analyse the colonial legacy of surveillant and carceral measures deployed to ‘combat’ specific genres of violence.

Methodologically, this thesis takes an anti-colonial approach. As such, it is presented atypically and will explore alternative ways of knowing and of sharing knowledge as it develops.

Research Interests

International Relations; theory; violence; anti-colonial; white supremacy; surveillance


Primary supervisor: Dr Leonie Ansems de Vries