Kelly-Jo Bluen

Kelly-Jo Bluen

PhD candidate

Department of International Relations

Connect with me

English, French
Key Expertise
Atrocity crimes, White innocence, International justice, Racism

About me

Kelly-Jo is a PhD candidate in the Department of International Relations at LSE. She is the editor of Millennium: Journal of International Studies, volume 48 and a Graduate Teaching Assistant in the department.

Prior to commencing her PhD, she worked for the Institute for Justice and Reconciliation in South Africa where she headed projects on accountability for sexual and gender-based violence in conflict and on the geopolitics of international justice. She also worked as a newspaper columnist for South African daily newspaper, the Business Day.

She holds an undergraduate degree in international relations, French literature and law from the University of Cape Town, and a double Masters degree in International Affairs from the London School of Economics and Peking University. In 2017, she was selected as one of the Mail and Guardian’s ‘200 Young South Africans’ in the law and justice category.

Research topic

Kelly-Jo’s research examines the colonial, raced and racist narratives and materialities of atrocity crimes and international criminal justice in International Relations. Drawing on the work of Wynter, Weheliye, Fanon, Wekker, and Glissant read against the histories and contemporary discourses of international criminal justice, she is primarily interested in how international criminal law produces white innocence and raced unhumanning.

Taking as a starting point the idea of humanity as the constituent community of international criminal law, she traces the ways in which international criminal law has historically and presently constructed a race bound notion of humanity, inveigled in coloniality, in contrast to its purported egalitarianism and universalism. To do so, she historicises the contemporary international justice project by examining these features in the intellectual and discursive histories of international criminal law and humanity before turning to their contemporary manifestations at the International Criminal Court. 

Teaching experience

IR100 - International Relations: Theories, Concepts and Debates (LSE)
POL 1004F – Introduction to Politics (University of Cape Town)
POL 3030F – Conflict in World Politics (University of Cape Town)

Academic supervisor

Dr Kirsten Ainley



Expertise Details

Atrocity crimes; white innocence; international justice; racism; colonialism; humanity