Olivia Nantermoz

Olivia Nantermoz

PhD candidate

Department of International Relations

Connect with me

English, French
Key Expertise
International Criminal Law, Humanitarianism, Global Justice

About me

Olivia is a PhD Candidate and Graduate Teaching Assistant in the Department of International Relations at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE); and an Associate Study Adviser for LSE LIFE.

Olivia uses interdisciplinary approaches to explore the discourses, politics and practices of helping the suffering / vulnerable ‘other’ in international society.

Her doctoral research focuses on international responses to mass atrocities and interrogates the combination of penal and humanitarian sensibilities at the heart of international justice-making. 

In parallel to her PhD, Olivia is currently contributing to a project on the European Management of Migration and Refugees - Consequences for mobility and political stability in transit countries (MARE). The project is funded by the Norwegian Research Council and is jointly conducted by the Fafo Research Foundation, NUPI (both Oslo), the Institut Français du Proche Orient (Amman) and LSE. 

Previously, Olivia has written on international refugee protection as a primary institution of international society. Her research, published in the Review of International Studies, demonstrates that the figure of the refugee is foundational to the constitution of both modern international society and its agent, the sovereign territorial state.

Olivia holds a double master’s degree in International Affairs from Sciences Po Paris and LSE; and a double bachelor’s degree in social sciences and philosophy from Sciences Po Paris and Paris IV (La Sorbonne). Prior to starting her doctoral studies, Olivia spent a year in Taiwan teaching French to high school and university students.

Research topic

Imagining International Justice: A Genealogy of Penal Humanitarianism

Since the 1990s, international investigations and prosecutions have become commonplace in the midst and aftermath of episodes of mass violence, arguably becoming moral, if not political and legal, imperatives. Hence the dominant discourse -whether coming from NGOs and activists, diplomats, lawyers or academics - is one promoting individual accountability and the end of impunity as a means to defend human lives in the face of mass violence. This forms the basis for a contemporary mode of global governance which is at once penal and humanitarian, resting both a punitive element (the logic of repression) and on a benevolent element (the logic of compassion), and aimed at defending human lives. My PhD project enquires into the historical conditions of possibility and processes through which the Penal Humanitarian paradigm of international justice emerged.

Teaching experience

2016-2017: Assistant Professor – French Department, Wenzao University (Kaohsiung, Taiwan)
2019-2021: Graduate Teaching Assistant - IR200 International Political Theory (LSE)

Academic supervisors

Dr Peter Wilson

Dr Jens Meierhenrich

Dr Theresa Squatrito


Read or download Olivia Nantermoz Benoit-Gonin's CV


Expertise Details

International Criminal Law; Humanitarianism; Global Justice; Human Rights; Refugee Studies; International Theory; English School; International Political Sociology; Constructivism.

My research