Personal profile


Dr. Alexandra Phelan is a Lecturer in Politics and International Relations at Monash University. Her research interests include insurgent governance and legitimation activities, insurgent women and gender, political violence, illicit financing and organised crime with particular focus on Latin America. She has published on insurgent legitimation strategies, the Colombian conflict, and women in terrorism. She is the author of the book, The Combination of All Forms of Struggle: Insurgent Legitimation and State Response to FARC (Columbia University Press, forthcoming 2024) and the editor of the book Terrorism, Gender and Women: Toward an Integrated Research Agenda (Routledge, 2021). She currently serves as a contributing editor for the journal, Studies in Conflict and Terrorism, and is a Small Wars Journal- El Centro Fellow.
Alex was the Deputy Director of the Monash Gender, Peace and Security Centre (Monash GPS) between 2020-2022, where her research at GPS focused on gendered approaches to understanding terrorism and political violence.
Alex completed her PhD in 2019, which examined why the Colombian government alternated between counterinsurgency and negotiation with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). Based on an extensive examination of negotiation documents and primary FARC material, fieldwork and interviews with former and active FARC, ELN, M-19 and AUC members, she critically examined the role that insurgent legitimation activities had on influencing Colombian government response between 1982-2016. Before she was appointed a Lecturer in Politics and International Relations, she was a postdoctoral fellow at Monash GPS. She was also a visiting scholar at Georgetown University's Centre for Security Studies, Walsh School of Foreign Service (2019). 

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 5 - Gender Equality
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

Research area keywords

  • Terrorism
  • Conflict
  • Latin American Politics
  • Latin American Studies
  • Security Studies
  • Insurgency
  • gender analysis
  • gender
  • women, peace and security agenda
  • Organised crime

Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

Recent external collaboration on country/territory level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots or