I’m Alexandra Phelan, a PhD candidate at Monash University, Australia. My research examines the impact of ‘legitimacy’ on government response to ending insurgency, specifically in terms of shifts in policy between counterinsurgency and negotiation.
My interest in conflict, political violence and prospects for peace started at a young age. At about ten years old I became fascinated with the Russian Revolution and wrote my first (very bad, very simplistic) ‘essay’ in primary school. Throughout my teenage years I travelled frequently and extensively with my family around Southeast Asia, and developed a love for the region. After the events of 9/11 and particularly with the first Bali Bombings in 2002, I remember questioning as a teenager why a region that I perceived to be so peaceful and serene was subjected to political violence. What provided the motivation for this, and what factors contributed as drivers? During my undergraduate degrees at university, these questions led me to further study into the areas of terrorism, insurgency and political violence. Initially, I studied the Southeast Asian region with a specific focus on the southern Philippines and Indonesia.
I later broadened my research to focus on the nature of protracted conflicts. This led to a love and passion for Latin America, and a research interest in various types of non-state militants. As a result, much of my focus now is on Central and Latin America, with a particular interest in Colombia. However, I still hold Southeast Asia incredibly close to my heart and I am also interested in Turkey’s relationship to the PKK.
I love travel and run away frequently, though at present I am currently based in Melbourne, Australia.
Follow me on Twitter @Alex_Phelan