A/Prof. Cai Wilkinson



Associate Professor, International Relations


Faculty of Arts and Education


SHSS Arts & Ed


Melbourne Burwood Campus

Biography summary

Cai is Associate Head of School (International) 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 human rights and “traditional values” in Kyrgyzstan and Russia, as well as on interrogating the role of genders and sexualities in international politics. Methodologically, Cai utilizes interpretive ethnographic approaches that foreground lived experiences and situated knowledge production. Her work has been published in Security Dialogue, Journal of Human Rights, and Nationalities Papers, and she has contributed chapters to volumes on securitization theory, LGBT activism in Central Asia, and fieldwork-based research methods. She also recently guest-edited an interventions symposium on queer/ing in/security for Critical Studies on Security. Cai is currently working on projects about the politics of LGBT rights in the post-Soviet space and the protection of LGBTIQ rights in the Asia-Pacific. 

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.


  • Vice-Chancellor’s Award for Outstanding Contribution to Global Experiences, Deakin University, 2017.
  • Faculty of Arts and Education Student Mobility Program Award (for AIS203 Japanese Politics, Society and Culture Immersive Study Program), Deakin University, 2016.
  • Award for Excellence, PGCLTHE Teaching Project, University of Birmingham, UK, 2011.
  • School of Government and Society Teaching Prize, University of Birmingham, UK, 2009. 


  • The politics of LGBT rights in the post-Soviet space.
  • Research ethics and meaningful consent practices.
  • The protection of LGBTIQ+/SOGIE human rights in the Asia-Pacific


Filter by


Mother Russia in queer peril: the gender logic of the hypermasculine state

C Wilkinson

(2018), pp. 105-121, Revisiting gendered states : feminist imaginings of the state in international relations, Oxford, Eng., B1


Community, identity, orientation: sexuality, gender and rights in ASEAN

A Langlois, C Wilkinson, P Gerber, B Offord

(2017), Vol. 30, pp. 710-728, Pacific review, Abingdon, Eng., C1


LGBT rights in Southeast Asia: one step forward, two steps back?

C Wilkinson, P Gerber, B Offord, A Langlois

(2017), Vol. 3, pp. 5-17, IAFOR : Journal of Asian studies, Nagoya, Japan, C1


Human rights in Papua New Guinea: is this where we should be settling refugees?

C Wilkinson, P Gerber, A Langlois, B Offord

(2016), Vol. 22, pp. 27-65, Australian journal of human rights, Chatswood, N.S.W., C1


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

C Wilkinson

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


The securitization of development

C 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

C Wilkinson

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


Development in Kyrgyzstan : Failed State or Failed Statebuilding?

C Wilkinson

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


LGBT activism in Kyrgyzstan: What role for Europe?

C Wilkinson

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


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

C 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

C 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

C Wilkinson, Y Jetpyspayeva

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


Ethnographic methods

C Wilkinson

(2012), pp. 129-145, Critical approaches to security : an introduction to theories and methods, Oxon, England, B1


International agency in Kyrgyzstan : rhetoric, revolution and renegotiation

C Wilkinson

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


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

C Wilkinson

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


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

C Wilkinson, A 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

C 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?

C Wilkinson

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


The e-revolution in Kyrgyzstan

C Wilkinson

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


Funded Projects at Deakin

No Funded Projects at Deakin found


Associate Supervisor

Timothy Sutherland Budge

Thesis entitled: Creating Change in Informal Settlements in Southern Africa

Doctor of Philosophy, School of Humanities and Social Sciences