Tom's research interests are in the areas of contemporary conflict, critical security studies and the ethics of war. In particular, he is interested in how contemporary forms of humanitarianism produce and maintain an exclusionary conception of the human, constituting certain populations as abject victims in need of protection whilst leaving them vulnerable to the most extreme forms of violence. His article, “Potential Lives, Impossible Deaths: Afghanistan, Civilian Casualties and the Politics of Intelligibility”, was recently published in the International Feminist Journal of Politics.
Currently, he is working on a paper examining the Maywand District Murders, which refers to a series of staged killings involving US soldiers in Afghanistan. Combining the work of Judith Butler, Hannah Arendt and the Italian feminist philosopher Adriana Cavarero, he hopes to show how these acts of violence were part of a dehumanising logic that went far beyond what was necessary to simply kill the victims and represents an affront to the ontological unity of the human body. Tom is also preparing a paper examining Michel Foucault’s work on race in relation to the so-called liberal way of war, as well as a paper on the use of drones in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Yemen.