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Beier J. Marshall, Professor


Marshall Beier received his PhD in Political Science from York University and is a former Associate Director of the York Centre for International and Security Studies. He joined the Department of Political Science at McMaster University in 2000.

His teaching and research interests are rooted in critical approaches to security studies and international relations theory, in particular postcolonialism, poststructuralism, and feminist approaches. Established and ongoing areas of inquiry deal with issues of indigeneity in advanced colonial contexts and with child/youth rights and political subjecthood across various settings. Other interests include issues of human security, weapons proliferation, arms control, and disarmament. As a 3M National Teaching Fellow and member of the Society for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, he is also interested in pedagogy both in practice and as an area of research focus. He is active with and serves on the Faculty Advisory Committee of the McMaster Children and Youth University and carries out research on other such initiatives outside of North America.

In his core research he explores two broad areas of empirical focus through theoretical lenses fashioned by a commitment to the constructedness of social life. The first of these involves intersections between indigeneity and conceptual treatments of security and the realm of the international. This work has been concerned with exploring tensions between Indigenous discourses of global politics and varied attempts by Indigenous people(s) to make their voices heard in the established international system and its attendant institutions.

Informed by the same conceptual commitments, he is also carrying out a multi-year project on the militarization of childhood as well as child/youth rights and social/political participation. Among the outputs of this work are an edited volume (recently reprinted in a paperback edition) and a special issue of the journal, Critical Studies on Security, as well as other contributions dealing with impediments to children's exercise of rights in both local contexts and in connection with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. Related research considers issues of child/youth political subjecthood with particular emphasis on questions of responsibility pertaining to trauma visited on young people both within and beyond zones of conflict.

Drawing on insights from his theoretical work, the balance of his research agenda is marked by an interest in offering new perspectives on contemporary security issues. Projects in this vein have focused variously on ballistic missile defence, the movement to ban antipersonnel landmines, the 'Revolution in Military Affairs,' and emergent autonomous weapon systems.



  • 4GG3 - Conceptual Issues in Global Politics
  • 4QQ3 - Child/Youth Rights and Security in Global Political Perspective


  • 771 - Advanced Concepts in International Relations Theory
  • 772 - Theories of International Politics
Teaching Awards
  • McMaster Students' Union Faculty Teaching Award (2003)
  • Ontario Leadership in Faculty Teaching Award (2007)
  • Petro-Canada Young Innovator Award (2009)
  • Canadian Political Science Association Teaching Excellence Prize (2010)
  • 3M National Teaching Fellowship (2012)
  • Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations Teaching Award (2014)


The Militarization of Childhood: Practices and Pedagogies
SSHRC Insight Grant, $94,391 (2014-18)

Allied with a much needed critical turn in the vast and still rapidly growing child soldier literature, this project asks whether there may be ways in which childhood is militarized beyond the global South through enactments of militarism that have drawn much less in the way of critical inquiry. Uncovering and examining such enactments and exploring their relatively more subtle circulations in tension with the child soldier debates is a principal aim of the project, and one which brings into relief the under-interrogated and everyday ways in which children's lives may be militarized in less scrutinized contexts and settings. At the same time, the project seeks to reveal complex workings of agency too often obscured by overly reductionist and ascriptive notions of victimization. Moving beyond a focus on zones of conflict, the project works to bring to view everyday pedagogies whereby myriad knowledges, performances, practices, and competencies may function to militarize children's lives in advanced (post)industrial societies. Treating these circulations as pedagogies is not to suggest that there need necessarily be a conscious instrumentality giving rise to them. The project therefore takes important conceptual cues from actor-network theory and the notion of 'heterogeneous assemblages,' understanding that actors can be part of an assemblage without necessarily sharing the same aims. This underscores the indeterminacy of militarized knowledges and, at the same time, highlights childhood as a site of agency inasmuch as a sensitivity to everyday practice locates agency in learning.

Childhood, Militarism, and Pedagogies of the Everyday
McMaster University Arts Research Board Grant, $6,275 (2011)

Thinking beyond the global South and recognizing that militarism circulates and interpenetrates childhood experience in ways that are much less conspicuous than child soldiering raises questions of critical relevance to but not yet taken up in the disciplinary study of international relations. What is the relationship between militarism and childhood in advanced (post)industrial societies and what can be learned about its sources and implications? To what extent is childhood important as a site for the translation, maintenance, and (re)production of militarized knowledges and practices? How do prevailing conceptualizations of victimization limit our understanding of children's capacity for autonomous action, creativity, and resistance? In what ways are less visible circulations of militarism similar to and different from more explicit and purposefully-conceived forms? What can an approach that takes children seriously as bona fide politico-ethical actors reveal to us about the ways in which the disciplinary study of international relations frames political possibilities? In addressing these questions, this research project brings together a focus on everyday sites of both structured and unstructured learning with a commitment derived from postcolonial theory to recovering agency from overly simplistic ascriptions of victimhood. The project explores more explicitly militarized knowledges and practices in global politics while looking also to some of the less obvious continuities with these same knowledges and practices in various contexts of children's active learning and leisure activities. This approach, together with themes of everyday pedagogy and childhood agency, proposes a corrective to too narrow a focus on zones of conflict that might make it seem as though militarism affects the lives of children only in distant and politically fraught places.

Innovation in Arms Control
Experiential Education Grant, $10,000 (2006)
Petro-Canada Young Innovator Award, $25,000 (2009)

Inspired by current research on new arms technologies and rapidly changing determinants of war, the Innovation in Arms Control project aims to encourage identification and creative engagement with emerging challenges and opportunities in multilateral arms control. Inquiring into the future of arms control in the post-9/11 world, this project proceeds from the view that traditional approaches to non-proliferation, arms control, and disarmament were already unsetted by the advent of the 'Revolution in Military Affairs' and, in particular, by new weapons technologies underwriting the notion of 'costless war.' Broadly, the implications of precision-guided munitions, which have dramatically altered the global balance of military power as well as the political aspects of its application, are weighed in connection with what it is argued is a relative impasse in contemporary arms control.  With the aim of encouraging new thinking and a new community of expertise around these issues, this project is explicitly connected to both graduate and undergraduate teaching and to the development of two new undergraduate courses.

Postcolonial Diplomacies: Indigenous Peoples and the International Negotiation of Sovereignties and Selves
SSHRC Standard Research Grant, $71,733 (2005-08)
McMaster University Arts Research Board Grant, $4,550 (2004)

Since the early-1990s, Indigenous voices in international politics have been growing in strength, in numbers, and in their demonstrated ability to affect outcomes on a range of important issues.  At the same time, international bodies like the Organization of American States have begun to take seriously the participation of Indigenous peoples and, equally noteworthy, the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues has enjoyed a steadily increasing profile since its formal adoption by the UN General Assembly in October 2000.  With these and other developments, global politics is witnessing qualitatively new forms of diplomacy.

In investigating these developments, this research project works through three interrelated themes.  The first of these turns on questions of change, inquiring into how existing institutions, arrangements, norms, and practices of global governance are transformed by Indigenous diplomacies and, no less, how the latter have been affected by the need to work through the former.  The second theme involves highlighting and clarifying continuities on both sides of the encounter, seeking to better appreciate and understand commonalities, compatibilities, and areas of convergence.  Finally, points of divergence are examined with a view to revealing compromises around notions of sovereignties and selves that have enabled these diplomatic encounters and engagements.

Answering the Cull to Arms: US Foreign Military Sales and the Commercialization of the Global Arms Market
McMaster University Arts Research Board Grant, $6,955 (2005)

This research project inquires into the unforeseen circumstance that US foreign military sales (FMS) increased dramatically following the end of the Cold War.  Accompanying anticipation of a domestic peace dividend, it had been expected that the shrinking global arms market would enhance and accelerate the trend of the late-1980s toward lower levels of FMS.  Instead, US arms sales abroad swelled in both quantitative and qualitative terms.  This project seeks to elaborate and understand the political bases of important changes in US FMS patterns over the last two decades.

In an effort to make sense of these developments, several aspects of recent and current US arms sales activities are considered.  First, the extent of increase in terms of both the quantitative and qualitative characteristics of articles proposed and authorized for transfer is evaluated.  Related to this are increases in the number of those states to which US-produced arms are available for transfer, and/or increases in the level of access to more advanced weapons systems by one or more clients.  Second, efforts to control FMS are assessed, as are initiatives undertaken in order to enhance or facilitate arms transfers abroad.  Finally, the justificatory rhetorics of advocates and apologists are evaluated.



Childhood and the Production of Security (London: Routledge, 2016), ed.


 marshall new book

The Militarization of Childhood 

The Militarization of Childhood:Thinking Beyond the Global South (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2014), ed. The Militarization of Childhood:Thinking Beyond the Global South (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011), ed. 

Canadian Foreign Policy in Critical Perspective (Toronto: Oxford University Press, 2010), ed. with Lana Wylie.
Indigenous Diplomacies (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2009), ed.
IRUP international-relations

International Relations in Uncommon Places: Indigeneity, Cosmology, and the Limits of International Theory (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2009).

 International Relations in Uncommon Places: Indigeneity, Cosmology, and the Limits of International Theory (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2005).

Journal Special Issues:

Childhood and Security cfp
Children, Childhoods, and Security Studies, Guest Editor, Critical Studies on Security 3:1 (April 2015). Indigenous Diplomacies, Guest Editor, Canadian Foreign Policy 13:3 (Spring 2007).

Journal Articles:

  • "Short Circuit: Retracing the Political for the Age of 'Autonomous' Weapons," Critical Military Studies (forthcoming 2018).
  • "Ultimate Tests: Children, Rights, and the Politics of Protection," Global Responsibility to Protect 10:1-2 (forthcoming 2018).
  • "Shifting the Burden: Childhoods, Resilience, Subjecthood," Critical Studies on Security 3:3 (November 2015).
  • "Children, Childhoods, and Security Studies: An Introduction," Critical Studies on Security 3:1 (April 2015).
  • "Pathologizing Subjecthoods: Pop Culture, Habits of Thought, and the Unmaking of Resistance Politics at Guantanamo Bay," International Political Sociology 8:3 (September 2014), with David Mutimer.
  • "Dangerous Terrain: Re-Reading the Landmines Ban through the Social Worlds of the RMA," Contemporary Security Policy 32:1 (April 2011).
  • "Grave Misgivings: Allegory, Catharsis, Composition," Security Dialogue 38:2 (June 2007).
  • "Inter-National Affairs: Indigeneity, Globality, and the Canadian State," Canadian Foreign Policy 13:3 (Spring 2007).
  • "Outsmarting Technologies: Rhetoric, Revolutions in Military Affairs, and the Social Depth of Warfare," International Politics 43:2 (April 2006).
  • "Doubting Hephaestus: Canada and Ballistic Missile Defence," Contemporary Security Policy 26:3 (December 2005).
  • "Bear Facts and Dragon Boats: Rethinking the Modernization of Chinese Naval Power," Contemporary Security Policy 26:2 (August 2005).
  • "Becoming Undisciplined: Toward the Supradisciplinary Study of Security," International Studies Review 7:1 (March 2005), with Samantha L. Arnold.
  • "Discriminating Tastes: 'Smart' Bombs, Non-Combatants, and Notions of Legitimacy in Warfare," Security Dialogue 34:4 (December 2003).
  • "'Emailed Applications are Preferred': Ethical Practices in Mine Action and the Idea of Global Civil Society," Third World Quarterly 24:5 (October 2003).
  • "Siting Indiscriminacy: India and the Global Movement to Ban Landmines," Global Governance 8:3 (July-Sept. 2002).
  • "Postcards from the Outskirts of Security: Defence Professionals, Semiotics, and the NMD Initiative," Canadian Foreign Policy 8:2 (Winter 2001).
  • "Harnessing Change for Continuity: The Play of Political and Economic Forces Behind the Ottawa Process," Canadian Foreign Policy 5:3 (Spring 1998), with Ann Denholm Crosby.

Chapters in Books:

  • "Critical Interventions: Subjects, Objects, and Security," in Alan Collins, ed., Contemporary Security Studies, 4th edition (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016).
  • "Indigenous Diplomacy," in Costas M. Constantinou, Pauline Kerr, and Paul Sharp, eds., SAGE Handbook of Diplomacy (Los Angeles: SAGE, 2016).
  • "War Stories: Militarized Pedagogies of Children's Everyday," in J. Marshall Beier, ed., The Militarization of Childhood: Thinking Beyond the Global South (New York: Palgave Macmillan, 2011).
  • "Everyday Zones of Militarization," in J. Marshall Beier, ed., The Militarization of Childhood: Thinking Beyond the Global South (New York: Palgave Macmillan, 2011).
  • "Thinking and Rethinking the Causes of War," in Craig A. Snyder, ed., Contemporary Security and Strategy, 3rd edition (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011).
  • "Dangerous Terrain: Re-Reading the Landmines Ban through the Social Worlds of the RMA," reprinted in Neil Cooper and David Mutimer, eds., Reconceptualizing Arms Control: Controlling the Means of Violence (London: Routledge, 2011).
  • "At Home on Native Land: Canada and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples," in J. Marshall Beier and Lana Wylie, eds., Canadian Foreign Policy in Critical Perspectives (Toronto: Oxford University Press, 2010).
  • "What's So Critical about Canadian Foreign Policy?" in J. Marshall Beier and Lana Wylie, eds., Canadian Foreign Policy in Critical Perspectives (Toronto: Oxford University Press, 2010), with Lana Wylie.
  • "Forgetting, Remembering, and Finding Indigenous Peoples in International Relations," in J. Marshall Beier, ed., Indigenous Diplomacies (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2009).
  • "Indigenous Diplomacies as Indigenous Diplomacies," in J. Marshall Beier, ed., Indigenous Diplomacies (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2009).
  • "Disarming Politics: Arms, Agency, and the (Post)Politics of Disarmament Advocacy," in Colleen Bell and Tina Managhan, eds., Exceptional Measures for Exceptional Times: The State of Security Post 9/11 (Toronto: Centre for International and Security Studies, 2006).
  • "Articles of Faith: International Relations and 'Missionary' Scholarship," in Gareth Griffiths and Jamie S. Scott, eds, Mixed Messages: Materiality, Textuality, Missions (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2005).
  • "'Emailed Applications are Preferred': Ethical Practices in Mine Action and the Idea of Global Civil Society," reprinted in Kristian Berg Harpviken, ed., The Future of Humanitarian Mine Action (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2004).
  • "From the Altar to the Lectern: Two Discourses of Salvation," in Kyle Grayson and Cristina Masters, eds., Theory in Practice: Critical Reflections on Global Policy (Toronto: Centre for International and Security Studies, 2003).
  • "Beyond Hegemonic State(ment)s of Nature: Indigenous Knowledge and Non-State Possibilities in International Relations," in Geeta Chowdhry and Sheila Nair, eds., Power, Postcolonialism and International Relations: Reading Race, Gender and Class (London: Routledge, 2002).
  • "Of Cupboards and Shelves: Imperialism, Objectification and the Fixing of Parameters on Native North Americans in Popular Culture," in James N. Brown and Patricia M. Sant, eds., Indigeneity: Construction and Re/Presentation (Commack: Nova Science Publishers, 1999).
  • "Harnessing Change for Continuity: The Play of Political and Economic Forces Behind the Ottawa Process," reprinted in Maxwell A. Cameron, Robert Lawson, and Brian Tomlin, eds., To Walk Without Fear: The Global Movement to Ban Landmines (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998), with Ann Denholm Crosby.


  • "Review of Cecilia Jacob, Child Security in Asia: The Impact of Armed Conflict in Cambodia and Myanmar," Global Responsibility to Protect 8:4 (2016).
  • "Review of M.I. Franklin, Postcolonial Politics, the Internet, and Everyday Life: Pacific Traversals Online," International Feminist Journal of Politics 9:1 (March 2007).
  • "Review of Jean-Marc Coicaud, Michael W. Doyle, and Anne-Marie Gardner, The Globalization of Human Rights," International Journal 60:2 (Spring 2005).
  • "Roundtable: Missile Defence in a Post-September 11th Context," Canadian Foreign Policy 9:2 (Winter 2002), with Ann Denholm Crosby, James Fergusson, Frank Harvey, and Douglas Ross.
  • (Dis)Placing Security: Critical Re-evaluations of the Boundaries of Security Studies (Toronto: Centre for International and Security Studies, 2000), ed. with Samantha Arnold.
  • Arms Control and the Rule of Law: A Framework for Peace and Security in Outer Space (Toronto: Centre for International and Security Studies, 1998), ed. with Steven Mataija.
  • Cyberspace and Outer Space: Transitional Challenges for Multilateral Verification in the 21st Century (Toronto: Centre for International and Security Studies, 1997), ed. with Steven Mataija.
  • Verification, Compliance and Confidence-Building: The Global and Regional Interface (Toronto: Centre for International and Strategic Studies, 1996), ed. with Steven Mataija.
  • Proliferation in All Its Aspects Post-1995: The Verification Challenge and Response (Toronto: Centre for International and Strategic Studies, 1995), ed. with Steven Mataija.
  • Multilateral Verification and the Post-Gulf Environment: Learning from the UNSCOM Experience (Toronto: Centre for International and Strategic Studies, 1992), ed. with Steven Mataija.