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Corine Wood-Donnelly, MA PhD AFHEA

Corine Wood-Donnelly, MA PhD AFHEA

Institute Associate

Researcher in Human Geography and International Relations with an interest in issues and models of maritime governance and state performances of sovereignty, especially in the Arctic.


My research investigates the shifting nature of sovereignty and the ability of the state to maintain permanent borders, especially with regards to porous maritime boundaries. The overarching problem throughout my research queries how the practice and application of sovereignty has developed and evolved due to the dynamic and symbiotic relationship of states with the international system as states confront transboundary issues such as climate change, resource security (i.e. water, energy), or migration.

As the international system and relationships of states with the system continues to evolve, I am intent on identifying futures in the evolution of sovereignty, specifically in regards to maritime spaces, but also along strategic land boundaries between maritime spaces. In pursuit of this objective, my research investigates how states demonstrate territorial authority through use of domestic policy, governance and international law mechanisms. In doing so, it makes individual comparisons of a specific state's performances in domestic and international spaces of national interests.


  • 2019-2022 SYLFF Research Fellow, Institute for Russian & Eurasian Studies, Uppsala University
  • 2017-2019 Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Centre for Russian and Eurasian Studies, Uppsala University
  • 2016-Present Research Fellow in Maritime Governance, Centre for Rising Powers, University of Cambridge
  • 2015-2017 Director of Studies and Bye-Fellow in Geography, Downing College, University of Cambridge


  • PhD International Relations and International Law --Brunel University
  • MA International Relations --Brunel University


Performative Politics in the Arctic 2015-present

Based at the Scott Polar Research Institute, this project focused on the performance Arctic policy priorities and the communication of these policies through the visual medium of postage stamps. The project has already resulted in the publication of a journal article in the Geographical Review. The complete research will be published as a monograph in 2018 in the Routledge Polar Studies series and will also be shared with the wider public in a museum exhibition at the Polar Museum in late 2018. I acted as the principal investigator and author in this project.

Maritime Governance Programme 2016-present

Based at the Centre for Rising Powers, this programme identifies comparative lessons in the historical rise of naval powers, application of international maritime law, and regional cooperative mechanisms for traditional and non-traditional security and marine resource management. My own contribution to this project is looking at ways states perform maritime sovereignty and investigating how the current framework of international law will be challenged the use of 'safety' legislation, such as maritime search and rescue, environmental law or anti-piracy cooperation.

Awkwardness in Cryopolitics 2016-2017

This project is an innovative, integrative and interdisciplinary partnership between a productive network of academics in the United States (Cornell and Brown Universities) and the United Kingdom (University of Cambridge) who are engaging with the topic of the impact of climate change in the Polar Regions from different disciplinary perspectives. My own contribution to this project is in acting as the project coordinator and by researching the ways in which climate change is framing the territorial and resource development of the Arctic, especially in regards to maritime security.

Arctic Energy Research in a Low-Carbon Era 2015-2016

The purpose of this project was to offers a broader and more inclusive perspective on Arctic energy research as a challenge to traditional views on energy development. In reflecting this perspective, a group of academics from Finland, Norway, Sweden, the United States and the United Kingdom investigated social, economic, political, and environmental aspects of oil and gas development in the Arctic region while offering critiques of such development's processes and initiatives. Our project included the publication of a special edition in the Journal of Energy Research & Social Sciences entitled "Arctic Energy: Views from the Social Sciences." I have my own article titled: "From Whale to Crude Oil: Lessons from the North American Arctic."


Selected publications:

  • Wood-Donnelly, C. (2019) withOzawa, M., Lin, K-C., Humphrey, C., Reilly, T., Chong, C. "The Power of Siberia" in In Search of Good Energy Policy, Ozawa M (ed). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 97811086394392018
  • Wood-Donnelly, Corine. (2018) Performing Arctic Sovereignty: Policy & Visual Narratives. Routledge, London. IBSN 9781138573598.
  • Wood-Donnelly, C. (2018) 'Boundaries of Authority'. AAG Review of Books, 6(2)/Spring
  • Wood-Donnelly, Corine. (2017) Exploring and Mapping Alaska: The Russian American Era, 1741-1867, Terrae Incognitae, Vol 49. No. 1. Pp. 1-3
  • Wood-Donnelly, Corine. (2017) Messages on Arctic Policy: The Postage stamps of the United States, Canada & Russia. Geographical Review Vol 107, No 1. Pp. 236-257.
  • Wood-Donnelly, Corine. (2016) From Whale to Crude Oil: Lessons from the North American Arctic. Energy Research & Social Sciences. Vol 16, Pp. 132-140.
  • Wood-Donnelly, Corine. (2013) The Arctic Search and Rescue Agreement: Text, Framing and Logics. The Yearbook of Polar Law. Vol 5, No 1. Pp. 299-318.



  • University of Cambridge:
    • IA Paper 1 Human Geography
    • Part II Paper 2 Geographies of the Arctic
    • Part II Paper 4 Political Geography of Postcolonialism
    • Part II Paper 2 (ret) Knowledge, Policy and Expertise

Politics & International Relations

  • University of Cambridge:
    • Part II Paper 19 China in the International Order
  • University of Reading:
    • Year 1 International Relations and Strategic Studies
    • Year 2 Modern International Relations
  • Brunel University:
    • Year 1 Introduction to Political Thought
    • Year 2 International Politics

External activities

  • SYLFF Research Fellow, Institute for Russian & Eurasian Studies, Uppsala University
  • Affiliated Research, Swedish Institute for International Affairs
  • Research Fellow in Maritime Governance, Centre for Rising Powers, POLIS, University of Cambridge
  • Natures, Cultures, Knowledges Research Group, Department of Geography, University of Cambridge