Dr David Roberts

PhD in International Peacebuilding; BA (Hons.) International Relations and Politics

  • Senior Lecturer of International Relations

Expertise: post-conflict entrepreneurship; developing countries; global security; social resilience

I’m a pedagogue before a researcher these days: I enjoy the acting of teaching more than researching, for the most part. But I have managed to combine the two: I research how to teach better. I did a TEDx talk on it, organised by supporting students. On the back of this, I was appointed Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy in 2017, and in recognition of that, I was made a University Teaching Observer.

I teach Business Studies modules, but from a perspective related to my career experience. So, for my Third Years it’s a module on using business to help rebuild countries emerging from war. But I am engaging my critical background to ask if we should be rethinking our entire mentality about what we do with our students. The 21st century brings with it for them the greatest challenges the planet has ever seen, yet we are still teaching with 19th century ideas about profit and 20th century ideas about sustainability. My mission now is to ask whether we have a Hippocratic responsibility to stop teaching the very ideologies and practices that are destroying the planet.

My intellectual background lies in international relations and postcoloniality. My doctoral work in Cambodia with the UN peacekeeping mission led to 25 years’ field work in Southeast Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa examining the dynamics of western neoimperial efforts to dominate, subjugate and transform other spaces, people and existences. In that time, my intellectual evolution has been shaped and reshaped primarily by radical feminisms, postcolonial scholarship and Foucauldian and Freirean frameworks of power and oppression.

After joining Loughborough, my research diversified into two new domains, both related to ideologies of power I have studied before. The first concerns structural determinism of mainstream pedagogies: why and how we continue to favour and peddle text-dominant teaching, despite our brains being biologically multimedia from birth. By rights, we should all be teaching using imagery as standard, but most teaching continues to depend upon text to the exclusion of imagery. My research on pedagogy is also about inclusivity: I have conducted experiments on the effect of multimedia learning for dyslexic learners.

My second and main research area concerns White Power in Higher Education, and how this accounts for the commonality and universality of racial oppression in UK universities. This is the most recent exercise, and draws on how the implementation of the Race Equality Charter reveals the extent and nature of White Senior Management’s role in maintaining and protecting institutional racism.