Ph.D. – Political Science Assistant Professor of International Security University of Oklahoma
John R. Emery is an Assistant Professor of International Security at the University of Oklahoma in the Department of International and Area Studies. He was previously a Stanton Nuclear Security Fellow at Stanford University's Center for International Security and Cooperation (CISAC). He received his Ph.D. in political science from the University of California, Irvine and his research broadly examines issues of international security, ethics of war and peace, and technological innovation in International Relations.
His research during the 2020-2021 academic year at CISAC on ethics and 1950s nuclear wargaming at the RAND Corporation was the runner up winner of the Janne Nolan Prize for the best article on national security and international affairs, presented by Johns Hopkins SAIS Henry A. Kissinger Center for Global Affairs, in collaboration with CSIS. The article titled: "Moral Choices Without Moral Language: 1950s Political-Military Wargaming at the RAND Corporation" is forthcoming in Texas National Security Review and explores the concept of wargaming evoking an emotional response in players that leads to nuclear restraint that cannot be explained by logics of deterrence or rationality alone. This paper examines how ethics was excluded from the Cold War nuclear discourse of defense intellectuals, yet crept in through simulated wargames with high levels of realism in the process of play.
Previously, he was the recipient of the 2019-2020 Tobis Fellowship at the Interdisciplinary Center for the Scientific Study of Ethics and Morality at the University of California, Irvine. There he completed an article entitled "Probabilities Toward Death" that analyzed on the rise of collateral damage estimation algorithms and the impact of human-machine interactions on ethics of due care in war. During the 2017-2018 academic year, he was awarded the Technology, Law, and Society fellowship funded by the Early Concepts Grant from the National Science Foundation. This interdisciplinary working group that culminated in the 2018 Technology, Law, and Society Summer Institute sought to drive discussions of the impact of technological innovations in AI, Big Data, and algorithms on law and the social sciences. Dr. Emery along with four colleagues from anthropology, sociology, computer science, and law currently have a forthcoming paper in Law & Policythat sets forth a research agenda for integrating technology into law & society scholarship.
Previous publications have centered on U.S. drone warfare in Yemen and Pakistan, creating a hybrid ethical framework between the law enforcement and just war paradigms for evaluating targeted killings outside of declared war zones. Additionally, he has focused on the adoption of drone technology by humanitarian organizations like MSF and UN Peacekeeping missions, analyzing and problematizing the emerging category of humanitarian drones. This article was featured in the 30th Anniversary Volume of Ethics & International Affairs for its excellence in bridging the gap between theory and practice. His work on war, drones, ethics, and counter-terrorism has been published in Peace Review and Ethics & International Affairs as well as book chapters in Georgetown University Press and New York University Press. Building upon previous research current projects are concerned with the way in which technology is seen as the solution for making war an inherently more ethical space. Both contemporary with the ethics of soldier enhancements (cognitive and biological), and historical tackling issues of waterboarding and colonialism in the U.S.-Philippine War. Drawing upon a rich tradition in intellectual history his work proffers casuistic ethical theorizing to answer the difficult questions of the ethics of war and peace in the era of Big Data, AI, and machine learning. Other areas of interest include: nuclear security, constructivist International Relations, U.S. foreign policy, time and temporality in International Relations, international law, intelligence studies, terrorism/counter-terrorism, and the preventive use of force short of war.