School of Politics and International Relations

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Dr Cindy May, BA Hons (Butler University), MPhil (University of Cambridge), PhD (University of Cambridge)


Lecturer in Politics and International Relations

Telephone: 020 7882 2850
Room Number: Arts One, Room 2.21A


Office Hours: Thursday 2-3pm and Friday 2-3pm

Cindy is a Lecturer in the School of Politics and International Relations at QMUL.  Prior to joining QMUL, Cindy was a Lecturer in the Defence Studies Department at King’s College London. She completed her PhD in Politics and International Studies at the University of Cambridge.

Her doctoral thesis entitled “United States Presidential Decision-Making and the Use of Force during Crises in the Middle East and North Africa: 1979-2009” examined the American use of force in the Middle East and North Africa, utilising the Iran Hostage Crisis (1979), the Bombing of Libya (1986), the Gulf War (1991), and the Iraq War (2003) as case studies. During the PhD she supervised undergraduate students in Politics at the University of Cambridge as a tutorial supervisor.

Prior to her doctoral work Cindy received a B.A. in Politics, International Studies, and Spanish from Butler University (USA) and an MPhil in International Relations from the University of Cambridge. Cindy has previously worked on two occasions at the U.S. State Department in the Bureau of Intelligence and Research and the Political and Military Affairs Bureau. She has also served as a researcher for the UK Defence Forum Defence Viewpoints publication.


Research Interests:

  • U.S. Foreign Policy
  • U.S.-Middle East relations
  • Middle East Politics
  • Terrorism - including the Islamic State (IS) and Al Qaeda
  • Radicalisation
  • Security Studies
  • Foreign Policy Analysis


Book Chapter

“Al Qaeda as a Transnational Political Movement,” in Multi-Faceted Approach to Radicalization in Terrorist Organizations, ed. Ishan Bal, Suleyman Ozeren, and Mehmet Alper Sozer, vol. 87 of NATO Science for Peace and Security Series E: Human and Societal Dynamics. (Amsterdam, The Netherlands: IOS Press BV, 2011), 61.

Book Review

Review of Beyond Duty: Life on the Frontline in Iraq by Shannon Meehan. Cambridge Review of International Affairs.23 no. 3 (2010): 526.


“The Evolution of U.S. Counterterrorism Policies from President Reagan to President Obama.”  Working Paper

“ISIS: A New Type of Terrorist Group?” Working Paper

“External Restraints on Presidential Decision-Making: The Iran Hostage Crisis.” Working Paper

“American Decline and The Role of Power Fluctuations: The Middle East as a Case Study.” Working Paper

“Deterioration in the Sinai and Stability in Cairo.” Working Paper

Other Publications

Catch Up: Why Islamic State Targeted Paris, and Why It’s Changing Tack.” The Conversation. November 2015.

Flight 9268: Wilayat Sinai and the Evolution of a Global Terror Threat.” The Conversation. November 2015.

American Decline and the Middle East: The Role of Isolationism.” Defence in Depth. September 2015. 

Egypt: The Middle East’s Newest Security Threat?” Politics in Spires. July 5, 2013.

After Gaddafi: Drivers for Western Intervention in Libya.”  Defence Viewpoints, UK Defence Forum. February 26, 2011.

Playing Both Sides: The Security Risks Posed by Pakistan.” Defence Viewpoints, UK Defence Forum. September 1, 2010

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