Assistant Professor Nicole Grove



I received my B.A. (2008) in Politics from New York University and my Ph.D. (2015) in Political Science from Johns Hopkins University, where I focused on international relations, political theory, and transnational Middle East politics. I joined the faculty in the Department of Political Science at UH as an Assistant Professor in 2015. I am also Associate Editor of the journal International Political Sociology.

To date my research has centered on algorithmic interventions in geopolitics and novel forms of securitization emerging alongside the application and adaptation of information technologies in the Middle East. More broadly, I am interested in the relationship between media, technology and security, the politics of visuality and affect, and entanglements of popular culture and international politics. I received the 2016-2017 Fulbright Scholar Award in the Middle East and North Africa Regional Research Program, and will be a visiting researcher at Abu Dhabi University and Qatar University in Spring and Summer 2017. My work appears in Security Dialogue, Globalizations, and the Journal of Critical Globalization Studies.

Research Interests

My first book, Optics of Capture: Platform Desires in an Age of Intervention (in preparation) considers how digital infrastructures and the production of user-generated content in the Middle East are appropriated by states, markets, and international organizations alongside gendered logics and practices of securitization and intervention to produce novel geographies of women’s rights, sexual violence, and political participation. The book considers how interventionist ethics are actively integrated into appeals to greater information access for women, and in bridging the so-called ‘digital divide.’ Rather than simply champion new opportunities for women’s participation in politics and public dialogue through platforms developed by proprietary networks, I consider how participatory media produce circuitous routes by which the region continues to function as a laboratory for new technologies of capital accumulation, security, and gendered and racialized discipline, while also creating novel spaces for more pluralist politics that resist commonsense overtures toward cultural and religious explanations of agency and change.

I am currently working on two additional research projects. The first is on the transnational politics of gaming in the region, and how video games and computer simulations are being incorporated into national institutional agendas, particularly in the areas of security and education. I also consider how players and designers use games as expressive social and cultural forms of mediation in the construction of historical narrative, and in expressions of contemporary political life. The second research project concerns North American and European civilians traveling overseas to ‘fight ISIS’ in the globalized and decentralized battlefields of Iraq and Syria. I’m particularly interested in how these individuals represent a new category of combatant that is different from private military contractors and mercenaries profiled in the private security literature. I am also interested in how the imagined communities who support these fighters morally and financially through social media and peer-to-peer funding platforms suggest a radical deviation from conventional organizational structures and capacities for waging combat.

Teaching Areas

  • global politics
  • international relations
  • Middle East politics
  • feminist theory
  • gender and sexuality
  • US foreign policy
  • politics of media


Personal Website

Curriculum Vitae