Matthew Kirk - student profile

MATTHEW KIRKMatthew Kirk - student photo

I am a final year PhD candidate in International Studies at Queen’s University Belfast’s School of History, Anthropology, Philosophy and Politics.

Previously from Scotland, I completed undergraduate studies in social sciences (with honours) at the University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI) and postgraduate studies in transnational crime, justice and security (with merit) at the University of Glasgow. During my postgraduate dissertation, I worked alongside Professor Gregory Philo of the Glasgow Media Group to complete research examining the criminological representations of Palestinian female suicide bombers and violent political actors within the context of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Building upon my postgraduate dissertation focus at the University of Glasgow, my research currently engages with the representation of Palestinian female suicide bombers during the Second Intifada (or “Uprising”) of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Titled ‘Female Suicide Bombers: Gender, Ethnicity and Mass Media’, my thesis departs from the pathway of previous academic offerings which have predominantly engaged with "Western" print news media (i.e. newspapers) and progresses towards the realm of televised news media.

By applying a postcolonial feminist approach to this topic, I intend to not only uncover whether gendered representations of these female suicide bombers exist in "Western" (specifically U.K. and U.S.) non-cable televised news media, but, critically, to uncover whether a racial aspect exists that contributes towards an intersectional victimisation of these women and, therefore, their contribution as legitimate political agents in the eyes of the "West".

The objective of this research is two-fold. Its aim, firstly, is to uncover how particular narratives surrounding women and, in particular, Palestinian women who were participants in political violence were constructed in “Western” broadcast news media. Secondly, and perhaps most intriguing, is in uncovering how discourse surrounding these female political actors is formulated in the broadcast news media format: a type of news media which has received scarce interaction from previous academic contributions.

My general research interests and areas of expertise include female suicide bombers (their rationales and representations), news media analysis, qualitative/thematic analysis and postcolonialism.

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