Professor Anthony Burke

Professor Anthony Burke

BA Hons. MA (Communications) UTS; PhD (Politics & International Relations) ANU

UNSW Canberra
School of Humanities & Social Sciences

I am Professor of Environmental Politics and International Relations at the University of New South Wales (UNSW), Canberra, Australia. I am an interdisciplinary scholar working across international law and international relations, philosophy, political theory, science and technology studies, and the environmental humanities. 

I am a graduate of the University of Technology, Sydney and the Australian National University. Prior to joining academia I was a human rights activist on Southeast Asia and the South Pacific (especially East Timor), and Principal Research Officer for the Australian Senate’s environment, arts and communications committee, where I led the drafting of reports on the Jabiluka uranium mine and Australia's response to climate change. I was co-lead on the UNSW Grand Challenge on Thriving in the Anthropocene. 

I have published in Nature, Review of International Studies, International Political Sociology, Angelaki, Theory & EventEthics & International Affairs, Millennium, Earth System Governance, and Critical Studies on Security. My books include Uranium (Polity, 2017), Global Insecurity (with Rita Parker, Palgrave 2017), Ethical Security Studies (with Jonna Nyman, Routledge 2016), Ethics & Global Security: A Cosmopolitan Approach (with Katrina Lee-Koo and Matt McDonald, Routledge 2014), Beyond Security, Ethics & Violence: War Against the Other (Routledge 2007), and Fear of Security: Australia's Invasion Anxiety (Cambridge University Press 2008; Pluto Press Australia 2001). With Stefanie Fishel I am completing a new book for the MIT Press entitled The Ecology Politic: Power, Law & Earth After the Holocene.

I am the founding editor of the Borderlands journal, and am coeditor of Palgrave Macmillan's Environmental Politics & Theory book series.

+61 2 5114 5085

  • 2005 Australian Research Council Discovery Projects: Global Security, Strategic Paradox and Limited War ($150,000)
  • 2014 Economic and Social Research Council/Arts and Humanities Research Council (UK): Nuclear Ethics and Global Security (£250,000)
  • 2022 UNSW Sustainable Development Goals Reform Hub ($20,000)

I am a critical international relations scholar and social theorist, authoring innovative works in Australian politics and culture, international theory, philosophy, and critical security studies, such as my 2007 Beyond Security Ethics & Violence and a series of key articles and books on security cosmopolitanism, ethics, and global governance. I also published on the war on terror, the ethics and philosophy of war, and nuclear strategy, politics and governance. These works include articles on nuclear reason, time in nuclear politics, and Uranium, which wove together nuclear weapons, energy, mining, and proliferation to analyse the planetary risks and colonial injustices of the global nuclear complex. In 2022 I was invited to write for Nature on the challenge the Zaporizhzhia nuclear crisis in Ukraine posed for nuclear safety and international law.

More recently, I have turned to the ecological crisis of the Anthropocene, publishing the key intervention, "Planet Politics: A Manifesto from the End of IR" in 2016 and combining environmental political theory with critical works on the global governance and law of climate change and biodiversity: "Blue Screen Biosphere", "Interspecies Cosmopolitanism", and with Stefanie Fishel, "Power, World Politics and Thing-Systems in the Anthropocene", and "Across Species and Borders: Political Representation, Ecological Democracy and the Non-Human". I have also published articles proposing a new global Coal Elimination Treaty and a treaty Architecture for Net Zero. I am a regular commentator on new developments in climate and environmental governance.

Key ongoing projects:

  • A global forests treaty
  • Crimes against biodiversity and ecocide
  • Global climate governance and reform
  • Climate and environmental security in the Asia-Pacific
  • Environmental political theory and philosophy