The Centre’s research and outreach activities stem from its core focus on various aspects of security and development, with particular attention to the intersections between them. Within that broad array, Centre fellows are working on an ever-evolving list of specific projects, including established interests like maritime security and new priorities like disabilities and development. This page features a number of our current projects, grouped by thematic clusters; check for periodic updates here and in the Research Notes section of our Publications page.


Centre staff are now in the stages of planning for a major conference to be held at Dalhousie in the fall of 2017. This will be the first in a new series of regular “core” conferences on the intersections of security and development policy, designed to bring together diverse interests and expertise within the Centre community. This initial conference will explore the Canadian government and military’s capacities in responding to complex emergencies abroad, including interventions, post-conflict reconstruction and state-building, and rapid response to complex humanitarian emergencies.

Much of the work undertaken by our colleagues at the Roméo Dallaire Child Soldiers Initiative  (RDCSI) is concerned with the intersections between security and development, as part of a larger effort to understand the complex forces driving the use of children in armed conflict, and the development of strategies to prevent it. In addition to research and teaching on related issues, RDCSI is undertaking a variety of specialized training programs for security sector personnel, in Canada and abroad, to build awareness and understanding of the problem of child soldiers, and work out new strategies to end the use of children in war.


With support from a SSHRC Insight grant, Brian Bow is working on a three-year project on security policy coordination in North America. This research looks comparatively at the way networks of government officials and law enforcement officers shape the design and implementation of national policies to respond to terrorism, organized crime, undocumented migration and human trafficking, natural disasters, and threats to critical infrastructure. The research is driven by numerous interviews with Canadian, US, and Mexican officials, and has been facilitated by Bow’s affiliation with the Borders in Globalization (BIG) project at University of Victoria. This project builds on previous research  on network-driven coordination in other issue areas.

Ruben Zaiotti continues his work on the evolution of internal security cooperation in the European Union, with particular attention to border control, migration, and refugee policy. This research builds on Zaiotti’s recent published work on migration policy, including the edited volume Externalizing Migration Management: Europe, North America and the Spread of ‘Remote Control’ Practices (Routledge, 2016).

Building on the two projects above, and with support from a SSHRC Connection grant, the CSSD and the European Union Centre of Excellence (EUCE) at Dalhousie are co-organizing a project on regional security cooperation in comparative perspective, focusing on internal (“homeland”) security cooperation in North America and Europe. Brian Bow and Ruben Zaiotti co-hosted an author’s workshop for this project (Halifax, 26-27 August 2016), with contributors from Canada, the US, Mexico, and Europe. Workshop papers are currently being revised, looking ahead to the publication of a special issue in a leading journal and an edited volume.

Alex Wilner has recently been awarded a new SSHRC grant for a multi-year project on cybersecurity and deterrence in Canada, which will make important contributions to ongoing debates on both conventional homeland defence and unconventional homeland security cooperation.


The chief concern of the CFPS at its founding was the understanding of Canadian foreign policy-making, as it evolved over time and in comparative perspective, and CFPS architects Denis Stairs and Gilbert Winham made pioneering contributions in this area. The CSSD carries on that tradition with new research on the intellectual and institutional sources of Canadian foreign policy.

CSSD director Brian Bow and deputy director Andrea Lane are organizing an ongoing project on the sources and evolution of Canadian experts’ ideas about foreign policy. For this “Generations” project, they have gathered a diverse group of academic specialists, and asked them to reflect on the way our ideas about foreign policy are shaped by the times in which we “came of age” politically, with attention to the cross-cutting effects of place, pedagogy, and professional socialization. Exploration of these questions is anchored in an effort to understand the growth of Canadian Foreign Policy as a field of study in the late 20th century, and its fragmentation in the early 21st century. With support from the Canadian International Council and the Bill Graham Centre for Contemporary International History, Bow and Lane organized an authors’ workshop for Generations, held at Hart House in Toronto, 28-29 September 2016. Workshop papers will be revised for publication as a special issue of International Journal and an edited volume from UBC Press.

Jean-Christophe Boucher has also looked into the sources of foreign policy ideas, but from different directions. In addition to his work on the foreign and defence policy views of the Harper government, Boucher has published extensively on public attitudes toward defence and the military in Quebec, and the impact of those ideas on Canadian foreign policy.


The CFPS established a strong profile in the study of defence policy, military procurement, and civil-military relations. The CSSD carries on those traditions, but seeks to broaden its focus, by anchoring defence policy in a more expansive “security” frame, connecting it to issues like counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency, intelligence, use of the military in complex humanitarian emergencies, and military support for domestic security operations.

The Centre has long been known for its extensive and widely-respected work on maritime security, and it has recently renewed its commitment in this area, with the recruitment of a new cohort of junior scholars. This group is currently working on a new collaborative research initiative on the way states select and develop maritime security capabilities, with a conference planned for 2017.

Several of the Centre’s more established experts continue to work in this area, often in connection with Canadian Naval Review. CNR published a special issue in June 2016—with contributions from a number of recognized experts—on issues relating to Canada’s Defence Policy Review. Commodore (retd) Eric Lerhe, for example, has published several recent studies on naval procurement .

Also connected to the CSSD’s ongoing focus on maritime security are David Griffiths’ work on regional maritime security cooperation, which includes extensive involvement in ongoing “track two” diplomacy in various parts of the world, and Aldo Chircop’s work on Arctic and maritime shipping law.

David Perry, at Canadian Global Affairs Institute, continues to explore the politics and economics of defence budgeting and procurement in Canada. And David McDonough, at the Conference of Defence Associations Institute, has explored a wide variety of topics related to Canada’s national defence and international security.


John Cameron continues to explore representations of development in theory and practice, linking these questions to development NGOs’ efforts to engage effectively with policy-makers and the general public. He is also working on indigenous and local government in the Andean region, as part of a multi-year project supported by SSHRC and IDRC. Kristi Kenyon has also been working on NGOs and other transnational advocacy groups, but with a focus on their efforts to influence health policy and human rights in the global South.

David Black’s 2014 volume, Rethinking Canadian Aid—co-edited with Stephen Brown and Molly den Heyer—had a second edition published this year. It helped lay the groundwork for a SSHRC Insight Grant, with co-investigators Stephen Brown, John Cameron, and Liam Swiss and collaborators Molly den Heyer and Shannon Kindornay, on Canadian development cooperation and the new politics of ‘partnership’. David Morgan’s dissertation, undertaken with Black’s supervision, considers the evolution of global humanitarianism in the context of conflict, environmental stress, and migration.

With Deborah Stienstra, Stephen Estey, and Stephen Baranyi, David Black has been working on a project on disability and global development, with support from IDRC and SSHRC. The initial phase of this project resulted in a June 2015 workshop and a series of subsequent publications. Black, Estey, Stienstra and Baranyi are continuing to develop this project, expanding the network of researchers and civil society collaborators and looking ahead to future events and publications.

David Black has also continued his research on the international politics of sport, participating in a Leverhulme Foundation International Network project on sports mega-events and development. The original network-building project is winding down, but the network created is looking to carry on collaborative research in this area.

Centre Fellows are increasingly engaged with the links between environment and development, and several are also affiliated with Dalhousie’s College of Sustainability. Matthew Schnurr and Larry Swatuk worked together a few years ago on a volume that explored the security implications of environmental change. Schnurr’s current multi-year research project is concerned with the impact of genetically-modified (GM) agriculture on development in Africa. Anders Hayden continues to work on the economic and social struggles surrounding climate change, linking it to different ways of thinking about development and progress.


A number of Centre fellows—including some of our Doctoral Fellows—have been working on the impact of conflict and instability on states and societies, and the coping strategies individuals develop to adapt to violence and social dislocation. Erin Baines has a new book, published by Cambridge University Press, on women’s experiences and identities within conflicted-affected areas in Uganda.

Building on past collaborative work with David Black, Carla Suarez’s dissertation research looks at the micro-dynamics of governance in conditions of armed conflict, with a focus on the roles and reactions of civilians under rebel and ‘hybrid’ governance. And Michelle Legassicke is studying conflict by looking more closely at the political structures of rebel groups, and their relationships with local communities.

Some CSSD fellows approach the connection between the state and violence from another angle, by looking at the challenges posed for states by increasingly capable and numerous non-state actors. Alex Wilner carries out cutting-edge research on the organization and purposes of transnational terrorist networks, and the difficulties involved in trying to deter them. And Aaron Ettinger has explored the growth of private military contractors, in the context of changing security challenges and an evolving political and economic context for military deployments abroad.


Frank Harvey and John Mitton have recently published a number of important studies on crisis bargaining and diplomacy, including articles on the question of reputation and credibility. Mitton has also published a number of articles in this area, including a re-examination of Thomas Schelling’s arguments  about the meaning and importance of reputation. His dissertation is concerned with proxy conflicts in the context of enduring international rivalries.

David Beitelman is focusing on defence diplomacy, and the sources and effectiveness of military-to-military contacts as bases for the development of confidence-building measures to prevent inadvertent escalation. His dissertation research looks at recent efforts by the US and China to work out understandings to prevent or contain incidents at sea.

Elikem Tsamenyi’s dissertation research is concerned with regional institutions, particularly those in Africa, and their use of sanctions as a means to effect political and economic change within the region.

Robert Finbow and Brian Bow have been looking at international negotiations from the point of view of regional trade and investment agreements. Finbow continues to work on the politics of the Canada-EU Trade Agreement, and has recently published a more general exploration of the structural politics of international trade and investment agreements. Bow published several book chapters on the question of legitimacy in regional trade agreements, focusing on NAFTA and post-NAFTA regional integration in North America.