Dr Francesco Belcastro

Position: Lecturer & Subject Leader in International Relations

College: College of Business, Law and Social Sciences

Department: Law, Criminology and Social Sciences

Subject area: Social Science

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I am a Lecturer and the programme leader of International Relations at the College of Business, Law and Social Sciences here at the University of Derby. I am currently the admissions tutor for International Relations and Diplomacy.

I am also a Fellow of the Centre for Syrian Studies, University of St Andrews.

Teaching responsibilities

I am currently teaching several modules in the fields of International Security and Diplomacy. 

In the past I taught a range of modules in International Relations and Middle Eastern Studies. 

Professional interests

I am interested in politics and international relations of the Middle East- broadly defined. My non-academic work focuses in particular on Western foreign policy in the region, regional security, the Levant and the Arab-Israeli conflict. I regularly contribute to several online publications in the fields of International Relations and Geopolitcs. My articles are often included in the "reading lists" for Italian MPs working on foreign policy. 

I have been a Guest Speaker at several institutions, including the Royal Danish Defence College, Copenhagen where I lectured on  “The regional consequences of the Syrian crisis”. 

Research interests

My research interests lie, broadly speaking, in the fields of International Relations and Middle East Studies. My PhD dissertation developed a theoretical framework of alliances formation and analysed the foreign policy of Syria during the 1970-1989 years. I am particularly interested in the application of traditional international relations theories and concepts to the regional level. My current research focuses on regional involvement in civil wars both at theoretical level and in reference to the Syrian case.    

Membership of professional bodies

Fellow of the Higher Education Academy


Prior to joining the University of Derby I was a Teaching Fellow at the University of St Andrews, where I also obtained my PhD. 

I hold an MA in Geopolitics, Territory and Security from King's College London and a BA in International Relations from the University of Bologna.

Recent publications

  • Belcastro, F "From Domestic to Regional. The Civil War Conundrum and the Cases of Algeria and Syria". Civil Wars, Vol. 19 (2) 2017, pp. 198-219.
  • Belcastro, F. "Conflict in the Middle East" chapter in R. Hinnebusch (ed.) Ashgate Research Companion for Middle East, 2018 (forthcoming).

Recent conferences

  • February 2015: ISA New Orleans, paper entitled  "An useful framework of analysis? Classical Realism, the regional dimension and alliances"              
  • March 2014: ISA Toronto, paper entitled:"Can I borrow your map?"
  • June 2012: BISA conference, Edinburgh, paper entitled “Defeated by the domestic dimension? Realism and the challenge of the uprising in the Middle East”
  • July 2011: Conference coordinator, “Syrian-Turkish relations conference”, University of St. Andrews.

In the media

I am available for comments in the press on a range of topics including the current civil war in Syria, the Arab-Israeli Conflict and external powers' involvement in the Middle East.

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