Catherine Baker is a specialist in post-Cold War history, international relations and cultural studies. Her initial research explored the politics of national identity and popular music during and after the Yugoslav Wars, and she has researched the cultural politics of the Eurovision Song Contest and other international competitive events for more than fifteen years, including what they reveal about changing relationships between LGBTQ+ and national identities in Europe since the 1990s. Her next book project will investigate the 'performance' of national identity through Eurovision since the end of the Cold War.
Her research is also committed to situating the post-Yugoslav region in a transnational and global context, including its complex position in the global politics of race and the legacies of multiple forms of imperialism and colonialism for the region. She combines her work on the post-Yugoslav region with attention to struggles over how to narrate national identity and its relationship with other collective identities within the UK, as the multinational country where she lives and works, and she also researches the politics of militarism in popular culture and everyday life in both settings. Her interests in narratives of identity extend to how individuals narrate their own relationships to nationhood, war and conflict through oral history, and she has interviewed former interpreters/translators and foreign peacekeepers in studying UN and NATO peace operations in former Yugoslavia.
She is a former co-convenor of the British International Studies Association's South-East Europe working group (2015-19), and served as awards and nominations officer for the International Studies Association's LGBTQA+ Caucus in 2018-20. Since 2015 she has been a member of the UK Arts and Humanities Research Council's Peer Review College.
She has worked in partnership with organisations including the Imperial War Museum and Team GB, and she is currently editing the forthcoming Routledge Handbook on Popular Music and Politics of the Balkans.