University of Nottingham Ningbo China
School of
International Studies
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Dr Maria Julia Trombetta

Associate Professor of International Relations and International Security, School of International Studies

 Maria Julia Trombetta

Personal details


Room 218, Trent Building   
199 Taikang East Road

Ningbo, 315100 China

+86 (0)574 8818 9167

+86 (0)574 8818 0125


MSc in Economic and Social Science (Laurea in Discipline Economiche e Sociali) Bocconi University, Milan 
Master in Environmental Governance, University of Pavia, European School of Advanced Studies 
PhD, International Politics, Aberystwyth University


Julia has a PhD in international politics from Aberystwyth University, a master in Environmental Governance from the University of Pavia (European School for Advanced Studies) and a MSc in Economic and Social Science from Bocconi University.

Before moving to UNNC, Julia was a Post-Doctoral Researcher and a Senior Research Fellow at the Delft University of Technology, the Netherlands, where she worked on projects on geopolitics of energy, energy governance and energy transitions. She taught at Aberystwyth and at Oxford Brookes.  Before studying for her PhD she collaborated with ISPI and Bocconi University and published on environmental and security issues, focusing on East Asia and China. She was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to study US environmental policy.

Expertise summary

International Relations theory (Constructivism, critical approaches); Security Studies (critical security studies, securitization theory, sociological approaches to security, security and governmentality, the politics and genealogy of fear); Environmental Politics (global environmental governance: environmental and climate security, including the securitization of migration and environmental conflicts); Securitization of natural resources, including food security; Energy Politics (energy security and energy governance, geopolitical aspects of energy transitions, perception of security in energy policy and diplomacy, environmental and energy policy in China, EU common energy policy); Institutional Economics; Methodology of Social Science.


Teaching and learning


• Global Environmental Governance 
• International Political Economy 
• Contemporary Security 
• Natural Resource Governance  
• Approaches in History and Political Science 
• Diplomacy: Past, Present and Practices 
• Food Security  

• Global Environmental Governance 
• International Political Economy 
• Contemporary Security


Research Interests

My main fields of research are critical security studies and environmental governance. At theoretical level, I am interested in the theory of securitization and in sociological approaches to security. My empirical research has focused on environmental conflict and currently I am working on climate and energy security, with cases studies on the EU and China. I am interested in theoretical debates within IR and methodology of social sciences.

My research covers three interrelated topics:

  • a critique of securitization theory and its implication for understanding global governance;
  • energy security discourses; 
  • environmental and climate security (including environmental conflict and securitization of natural resources).

My work on securitization is providing me with the theoretical framework to undertake research on energy security, climate security environmental conflict and it will provide the basis for a research project on securitization, threats politics and global governmentality. I am interested in how attempts to consider issues like the environment, energy or migration as security issues are transforming security practices and determining new institutional arrangements. In doing so, my work draws on the insights of the Copenhagen School on the performative power of speaking security but integrates them with contributions from the work of Beck on Risk Society, the research on security as governmentality and the work of Foucault.



Dyer, H. and Trombetta, M.J. (eds.) International Handbook of Energy Security Cheltenham: Edward Elgar 2013.

Trombetta, M.J.(2000) Il Problema Ambientale nelle Relazioni Internazionali (The Environmental Question in International Relations) Quaderni Rassegne, ISPI, Milan, 131pp.

Refereed articles and chapters 

Trombetta MJ (2018) Fuelling Threats: Securitization and the Challenges of Chinese Energy Policy, Asian Perspective,  vol. 42, no.2, pp. 183-206.

Trombetta M.J. (2018) ‘Energy Politics and the Environment: bridging the divide’ in Gabriela Kuetting and Kyle Herman (eds.) Global Environmental Politics: Concepts, Theories and Case Studies, 2nd Edition, Routledge Abingdon, UK.

Trombetta MJ (2014) Linking climate-induced migration and security within the EU: insights from the securitization debate Critical Studies on Security 2:2 131-147 Special issue on Securitisation and Climate-induced Migration.

Trombetta M.J. (2014) “The securitization of energy in the EU” (translated in Spanish) in Confrontando los Modelos de Securidad Energetica Alejandro Chanona (ed.) National University of Mexico Press 

Dyer, H. Trombetta M.J. (2013) “The Concept of Energy Security: Broadening, Deepening, Transforming” in Dyer, H. & Trombetta, M. J. (eds.) International Handbook of Energy Security Edward Elgar. 

Dyer, H. Trombetta M.J. (2013) “The political economy of energy security” in Dyer, H. & Trombetta, M. J. (eds.) International Handbook of Energy Security Edward Elgar.

Trombetta, M.J. (2012) “Climate Change in the Environmental Conflict Debate” in Jürgen Scheffran et al. (eds.) Climate Change, Human Security and Violent Conflict - Challenges to Societal Stability? Springer, Berlin.

Trombetta, M.J. (2010) “Rethinking the Securitization of Environment: Old Beliefs, New Insights’” in Thierry Balzacq (ed.) Securitization Theory: How Security Problems Emerge and Dissolve Routledge Abingdon, UK. 

Trombetta, M.J. (2008) “Environmental Security and Climate Change: Analyzing the Discourse” Cambridge Review of International Affairs 21:4. Reprinted in Harris, Paul G. (2009) The Politics of Climate Change: Environmental Dynamics in International Affairs, Routledge, Abingdon, UK.  

Trombetta, M.J. (2007) “Prevention or Securitization? Contending Perspectives on Security” Network Industries Quarterly 9:4. 

Trombetta, M.J. and Weber, M. (2001) “Shifts in East Asia Regional Security: Old Issues and New Events” in Maria Weber (ed.) Reforming Economic Systems in Asia, Edward Elgar, Cheltenham, UK, 2001, pp.179-204.

Trombetta, M.J. (2000) "Facing the Environment: Problems and Politics in Changing Asia" in Maria Weber (ed.) After the Asian Crises Palgrave/Macmillan, Basingstoke, UK pp. 119-139.

Trombetta, M.J. (1999) "Energia e Sicurezza in Asia Orientale: Dimensioni Strategiche ed Ambientali" Relazioni Internazionali 37: Marzo/Aprile (Energy and Security in North East Asia: Strategic and Environmental Issues).

Trombetta, M.J., (1993) “Considerazioni su ‘Discorso sopra la Scoperta e gli Usi della Torba’ di Fabio Asquino, Udine 1770” (Comments on the “Speech on the Discovery and Uses of Peat” by Fabio Asquino, Udine 1770) Quaderni di Storia Ecologica :3.

Other (a selection)

Trombetta, M.J. (2012) European Energy Security Discourses and the Development of a Common Energy Policy: relevance and limits of securitization theory Working Paper of the Energy Delta Gas Research n.2, 2012, 31 pp. ISSN (2213-6169) 

Trombetta, M.J. (2009) “The meaning and function of European discourses on climate security” 2009 IOP Conf. Ser.: Earth Environ. Sci. 6 562009 doi:10.1088/1755-1307/6/56/562009

Trombetta, M.J. and Bouma, J.J. (2009) “Coherent adaptation and conflict prevention: Lessons from the water sector” IOP Conf. Ser.: Earth Environ. Sci. 6 292060 doi:10.1088/1755-1307/6/29/292060

Trombetta, M.J. (2008), "Governing energy transitions: From governance to governmentality" Infrastructure Systems and Services: Building Networks for a Brighter Future (INFRA), 2008 First International Conference on , 10-12 Nov. 2008 doi: 10.1109/INFRA.2008.5439685

Trombetta, M.J., and Weber, M., Shifts in East Asia Regional Security: Old Issues and New Events amidst Multilateral-Bilateral Tensions, Quaderni Global Watch ISPI, Milan, n.10, April 2001, 46 pp.