Dr Cai Wilkinson



Associate Head Of School


Faculty of Arts and Education


SHSS Arts & Ed


Melbourne Burwood Campus

Biography summary

Cai is Associate Head of School (International), Course Director for the Bachelor of International Studies and a Senior Lecturer in International Relations. She joined Deakin in February 2012 from the University of Birmingham, UK, where she was a Lecturer in the Centre for Russian and East European Studies and taught International Relations and Russian language.

Cai's research focuses on societal security in the post-Soviet space, with a particular focus on LGBTQ rights in Kyrgyzstan and Russia. She recently co-edited a special issue of the Journal of Human Rights on resistance to LGBT rights, and has previously published in Security Dialogue, Central Asian Survey and Europe-Asia Studies, as well as contributing chapters to a number of books on securitization, international politics in Central Asia and the use of interpretive ethnographic methods in Critical Security Studies.

Research interests

- Securitization Studies;
- Critical Security Studies;
- Interpretive ethnographic methods and fieldwork in IR;
- International norms socialization, localization and resistance;
- Genders and sexualities in IR.

Empirically, Cai's research focuses on the former Soviet Union, particularly
Kyrgyzstan and Russia.

Teaching interests

  • Critical Security Studies
  • Gender and Sexualities in IR
  • Research Design
  • Eurasian Politics and Society

Knowledge areas

  • Post-Soviet society and politics, especially Central Asia
  • Security and identity
  • Securitization theory (Copenhagen School)
  • LGBTQ rights in Russia and Central Asia
  • Fieldwork methods
  • Experiential learning


"A Matter of Moral Security: the Securitization of LGBT People in Russia". Paper presented at the 54th annual International Studies Association Convention in San Francisco, 3-6 April 2013.

Convenor, Critical Security Studies Methods Cafe. Innovative Panel, 54th annual International Studies Association Convention, San Francisco, 3-6 April 2013.

Round table participant, "Where are the 'Women?' Challenges of Data Collection about Gender Diversity in ISA and the Profession". 54th annual International Studies Association Convention, San Francisco, 3-6 April 2013.

Roundtable participant, "Reflexivity in (International) Politics and Practice". Western Political Science Association, Hollywood, 28-30 March 2013. "Anti-gay laws in Russia: fighting back".

Presentation at the Queer Allies/Queer Spaces Symposium (joint RMIT, Deakin and Monash event), RMIT Brunswick, Melbourne, 16 November 2012.

"Passing and Perception, Power and Privilege: Identity Management for Queer academic Fieldworkers". Paper presented at the 53rd annual International Studies Association Convention, San Diego, 1-4 April 2012.

Round table participant, "Claiming Space: LGBTQI Scholarship and Teaching in the IR Classroom", 53rd annual International Studies Association Convention, San Diego, 1-4 April 2012.

"Letting 'Reality' Interfere with Theory: Towards a 'How' of Fieldwork-Based Securitization Studies". Paper presented at the 52nd annual International Studies Association Convention, Montreal, Canada, 16-19 March 2011.

Round table participant, "Queer Theory in International Relations Teaching and Research: Making Connections and Challenging Boundaries", 52nd annual International Studies Association Convention, Montreal, Canada, 16-19 March 2011.

"Returning Context to Securitization: From Meta-narratives to Experiences of Security". Paper presented at the International Studies Association Annual Convention, New Orleans, 17-21 February 2010.

"Problematic Protests: Adding Action to Securitizations Words". Paper presented at the Annual Conference of the Centre for Russian and East European Studies,University of Birmingham, Cumberland Lodge, Windsor Great Park, UK, 6-8 June 2008.

Round table participant, "The Political Baggage of Political Ethnography", Midwest Political Science Association Annual Conference, Chicago, 12-15 April 2007.

"You Say Security, We Say Safety: Speaking and Talking Security in Kyrgyzstan". Paper presented at "Methodologies in Peace Research" Conference in cooperation with the Tampere Peace Research Institute (TAPRI), Finland, Centre for Peace Studies, University of Troms, Norway, 21-23 March 2007.

"Positioning 'Security' and Securing One's Position: The Researcher's Role in Investigating 'Security' in Kyrgyzstan". Paper presented at "Central Asia and the Caucasus: explorations from the field" Postgraduate Conference, St. Andrews, UK, 9-11 November 2006.

"Narratives of Identities: The Founding and Formalisation of Labrys as an LBT Space in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan". Paper presented at "Spaces of Sexualities Unlimited: Still Queerying Geographies?" Conference, Brighton, 29 August 2006.

Taking Copenhagen Outside Europe: The Copenhagen School and Societal Security Paper presented at the Annual Conference of the Centre for Russian and East European Studies, University of Birmingham, Cumberland Lodge, Windsor Great Park, UK, 10-12 June 2005.


Award for Excellence, PGCLTHE Teaching Project, University of
Birmingham, UK, 2011. 

School of Government and Society Teaching Prize, University of
Birmingham, UK, 2009. 


  1. The securitization of LGBTQ identities in Russia.
  2. The politics of LGBT rights in the post-Soviet space.
  3. LGBTQ experiences of (in)security.
  4. The politics and practices of LGBT allyship.
  5. Research ethics and meaningful consent practices.


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Imagining Kyrgyzstan's nationhood and statehood: reactions to the 2010 Osh violence

Dr Cai Wilkinson

(2015), Vol. 43, pp. 417-436, Nationalities papers : the journal of nationalism and ethnicity, London, Eng., C1


The securitization of development

Dr Cai Wilkinson

(2015), pp. 32-46, Handbook of international security and development, Cheltenham, Eng., B1


Putting “traditional values” into practice : the rise and contestation of anti-homopropaganda laws in Russia

Dr Cai Wilkinson

(2014), Vol. 13, pp. 363-379, Journal of human rights, Abingdon, Eng., C1


LGBT activism in Kyrgyzstan: What role for Europe?

Dr Cai Wilkinson

(2014), pp. 50-72, LGBT Activism and the making of Europe, Basingstoke, U. K., B1


Development in Kyrgyzstan : Failed State or Failed Statebuilding?

Dr Cai Wilkinson

(2014), pp. 137-162, Development in difficult sociopolitical contexts, Aukland, New Zealand, B1


Ethnographic methods

Dr Cai Wilkinson

(2013), pp. 129-145, Critical approaches to security : an introduction to theories and methods, Oxon, England, B1


Not just finding what you (thought you) were looking for : reflections on fieldwork data and theory

Dr Cai Wilkinson

(2013), pp. 387-405, Interpretation and method : empirical research methods and the interpretive turn, London, England, B1


More problem than solution? Managing the practical challenges of PBL course delivery

Dr Cai Wilkinson

(2013), pp. 67-92, Disciplines: The Lenses of Learning, Champaign, IL, B1


From blogging Central Asia to citizen media : a practitioners’ perspective on the evolution of the neweurasia blog project

Dr Cai Wilkinson, Yelena Jetpyspayeva

(2012), Vol. 64, pp. 1395-1414, Europe-Asia studies, Abingdon, England, C1


The limits of spoken words : from meta-narratives to experiences of security

Dr Cai Wilkinson

(2010), pp. 94-115, Securitization theory : how security problems emerge and dissolve, Abingdon, England, B1-1


International agency in Kyrgyzstan : rhetoric, revolution and renegotiation

Dr Cai Wilkinson

(2010), pp. 133-155, Stable outside, fragile inside? Post-Soviet Statehood in Central Asia, Farnham, England, B1-1


What’s in a name? The personal and political meanings of 'LGBT' for non-heterosexual and transgender youth in Kyrgyzstan

Dr Cai Wilkinson, Anna Kirey

(2010), Vol. 29, pp. 485-499, Central Asian survey, Oxon, England, C1-1


Positioning security and securing one’s position : the researcher’s role in investigating security in Kyrgyzstan

Dr Cai Wilkinson

(2008), pp. 43-67, Field work in difficult environments : discussing the divergence between theory and practice, Berlin, Germany, B1-1


The Copenhagen school on your in Kyrgyzstan : is securitization theory useable outside Europe?

Dr Cai Wilkinson

(2007), Vol. 38, pp. 5-25, Security dialogue, London, Eng., C1-1


The e-revolution in Kyrgyzstan

Dr Cai Wilkinson

(2005), Vol. 1, pp. 17-21, Danish Society for Central Asia journal, Copenhagen, Demark, C1-1