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Stuart Horsman

Stuart Horsman

Department Visiting Research Fellow
19 April 2021 until 11 March 2022
Office Address:
Department of Politics and International Relations, Manor Road, Oxford. OX1 3UQ

I am a Visiting Research Fellow at the DPIR for 2021-22, looking at the impact of Sir John Malcolm, an East India Company official and diplomat, on British diplomatic thinking towards Iran. This will examine his Iran missions and publications and their influence on the India Office and Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s (FCO), and on key individuals within these institutions, including Curzon, Lambton and Wright. In answering this question, the research will study, 

  • Malcolm’s sources, methodology and his intellectual foundations, and to what extent these factors make his analysis resilient and compelling to subsequent British diplomatic audiences.
  • To what extent, successive British diplomats have been conscious of and identified with Malcolm’s analysis.
  • And to what extent single dominant narratives inform British diplomatic culture more widely and how these can be managed to provide for a more inclusive, diverse base for policy making.

As the Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office’s Iran analyst, the construction and articulation of British policy towards Iran is central to my daily work. Malcolm’s place in this is debate deserves greater examination.

The Fellowship will allow me to further develop on of my core roles at the FCDO, engaging

with external academic expertise, including academia.

I previously served as the FCO’s Central Asian analyst and on the Central Asia Desk at the OSCE Secretariat, Vienna.

To date, my research has focused on Central Asia and linkages between governance, security and political identity, beginning with my PhD thesis Security Issues Facing the Newly Independent States of Central Asia, at the University of Sheffield. A separate research stream has been on the politics of landscape, mountaineering and exploration in the USSR.


Selected Publications

  • “‘A Highly Favoured Country’?: Iranian Travellers’ views of late Hanoverian Britain”, Asian Affairs, Vol. 42, Number 2, 2011.
  • “Michael Romm's Ascent of Mount Stalin: A Soviet Landscape?” in Europe Asia Studies, Special Edition - Politics of the Spectacular: Symbols, Rhetoric and Power in Central Asia, Vol. 61, Issue 7, 2009, pp. 1151–66.
  • “Afghanistan and Transboundary Water Management on the Amu Darya: A Political History” in Rahaman, M. & Varis, O. (eds.) Central Asian Waters: Social, Economic, Environmental and Governance Puzzle, Water and Development Publications, Finland, 2008.
  • “The Politics of Mountain Toponyms in the Pamirs” Area, Vol. 38, No 3, 2006, pp. 279-91.
  • “The Tajik Minority in Contemporary Uzbekistani Politics” in K. Cordell, (ed.) Ethnicity and Democratisation in the New Europe, Routledge, London, 1999, pp. 197-222.