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International Relations, Politics and Sociology annual postgraduate day proves to be a great success

003The International Relations, Politics and Sociology Programme held its Annual Postgraduate Day on 22 June 2016. This mini-conference was a showcase for work being done both by research students and the current MA International Studies cohort. Prospective MA students and online viewers were able to take part via livestream.

Dr Stephen Hurt, course lead for MA International Relations (formerly International Studies), reports that he was delighted to welcome Dr Juanita Elias (pictured, being introduced by Dr Molly Cohran) from the University of Warwick, where she is an Associate Professor in International Political Economy, for a lecture on ‘Gender, IPE and Labour Migration: Perspectives from South-East Asia’. Her lecture covered some of the key findings of her recent academic publications. Starting from the key feminist claim that a focus on social reproduction is vital, Juanita convincingly demonstrated how the role played by domestic workers is central to an understanding of the political economy of South-East Asia. In doing so she argued that social reproduction is becoming increasingly marketised, with states like Malaysia and Singapore encouraging inflows of migration to this effect.

“We are very grateful to Dr Elias for joining us and for prompting a very lively and interesting Q&A session after her lecture”

After the session broke for lunch, guests heard from three current doctoral research students from the department. Kian Pourkemani outlined some of the themes of his project, which is looking at the right of self-determination within international law. Huw Houssemayne Du Boulay set out the design of his research, which seeks to explore the ‘idea’ of Crimea and how this has varied over time in relation to notions of Russian national identity. Emily Cousens then spoke to some of the work she is doing on an interdisciplinary project with Philosophy on the concept of vulnerability within the history of feminist thought.

The International Relations, Politics and Sociology annual postgraduate day concluded with two sets of parallel panels where current MA students gave short presentations on their summer dissertation projects.

These presentations demonstrated the fascinating range of topics that our MA students are conducting research on. The following projects are just a sample to demonstrate the breadth of their interests:

  • ‘To what extent will the continued automation of labour impact social stratification in the global political economy?’.
  • ‘The relationship between scientific knowledge and political ecology in correcting environmental justice’.
  • ‘How a civil society organisation – Pelitit – is promoting food sovereignty and agro-ecological farming practices in Greece’.
  • ‘Producing in/security and its objects: discourse analysis of the reproduction of French citizen after the Charlie Hebdo attacks’.

Find out more about MA International Relations, or research at Oxford Brookes. Keep an eye on the Department of Social Sciences events page to take part in the next postgraduate day in June 2017.

International Relations, Politics and Sociology Programme hosts Tenth Annual Postgraduate Day

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The International Relations, Politics and Sociology Programme held its Tenth Annual Postgraduate Day on 16 June 2015.

As in previous years this was another engaging and lively set of discussions. Staff, research students, the current MA International Studies cohort, and prospective MA students, were joined for the very first time by online viewers during a livestream of the morning session.

Guest lecture: ‘The normal and/or perverse homosexual in international relations: Conchita Wurst and the question of European integration’ by Professor Cynthia Weber.

We were extremely privileged to welcome Professor Cynthia Weber (pictured above) from the University of Sussex.

Her lecture explored representations of Conchita Wurst, the winner of the 2014 Eurovision Song Contest. Prof. Weber reminded the audience how Eurovision had been initially conceived in the 1950s as a way of promoting European unity. Whilst Wurst’s victory was celebrated by some as an example of respect for diversity, others condemned her performance. This led-in to a fascinating discussion of what Wurst means for both understandings of gender and European integration.

The Programme is very grateful to Professor Cynthia Weber for her stimulating contribution to the day.

Postgraduate panels

After lunch our current MA students gave five-minute presentations on their dissertation projects. Two parallel panels allowed students to outline their topics and audience members to ask questions and offer constructive comments.

The presentations included such varied topics as:

  • ‘The driving forces of a resurgent aggressive Russian Foreign policy and the implications for global security’
  • ‘Socio-ecological security: transcending dualities within the environmental security literature’
  • ‘Armenia’s security dilemma: how growing partnership with NATO affects Armenian foreign policy’
  • ‘To what extent is the UN contributing to a gender-equitable International Development Policy?’

We concluded with presentations by three of our postgraduate research students. Kavi Thakore’s project seeks to explore the possibilities for a cosmopolitan response to the governance of global finance. Kavi plans to explore the current plans between eleven EU member states for a Financial Transaction Tax (FTT).

Francesca Morra outlined her project which considers the impact of European asylum policy on the lives of migrant women. Francesca will be exploring this theme by focusing on Italy within the context of the links between asylum policy and the practice of citizenship.

Prembahadur Ale then discussed his research, which aims to explore the impacts of China-India relations on the strategic environment of Nepal.

The International Relations, Politics and Sociology programme held its Ninth Annual Postgraduate Day on 13 June 2014

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This was another stimulating and enjoyable event, which for the first time was held in the University’s new John Henry Brookes Building. Members of academic staff were joined by the cohort from the MA programme in International Studies and the MA in International Law and International Relations. Prospective MA students were also present and they had the chance to meet and discuss our courses with staff and current students.

Guest lecture: ‘Is the past “dangerous”? Reclaiming destroyed space between 9/11, Utøya and the Bali bombing by Dr Charlotte Heath-Kelly.

Dr Charlotte Heath-Kelly from the University of Warwick. Her lecture provided a fascinating account of an ongoing research project that considers what happens to destroyed spaces after major incidents such as 9/11 and the massacre by Anders Breivik on Utøya Island, Norway.

She highlighted the political contestation over these spaces and how the over-riding compulsion is to rebuild them. This led to a broader discussion of the consequences these spaces have for how we understand security in relation to this desire to build memorials. Particularly interesting was the postscript to her presentation where she reminded the audience that in conducting this kind of research we are a long way from being objective and dispassionate researchers.

The programme is very grateful to Dr Heath-Kelly for her excellent contribution to the day.

Postgraduate panels

Current MA students gave short presentations on their summer dissertation projects. Four separate panels were organised allowing the students to outline their research topics and audience members to provide invaluable feedback.

The presentations covered a fascinating range of issues including:

  • ‘Global basic income dividend through emissions taxation – bridging sustainability and development’.
  • ‘Turning to, and from, the ICC: The case of Uganda’.
  • ‘To what extent are regional organisations ‘locking-in’ neoliberalism?’.
  • ‘South Sudan, Security politics and the LAPSSET project: A critical realist analysis of the Rentier state concept’.

The International Relations, Politics and Sociology Programme hold eighth annual postgraduate day

pgday2013_01On on 11 June 2013 staff on the International Studies Programme were joined by some of their research students and the cohort from the MA programme in International Studies and the MA in International Law and International Relations. Prospective MA students were also present and they had the chance to meet and discuss our courses with staff and current students.

Guest lecture

Globalization and the Environment: Capitalism, Ecology and Power by Professor Peter Newell.

We were delighted to welcome Professor Peter Newell from the University of Sussex. His lecture covered the themes of his most recent book published by Polity Press in 2012. Focusing on the four decades that have passed since the first UN conference was held on the global environment in Stockholm in 1972, his lecture considered the three key pillars of the global economy (trade, production and finance) and whether progress has been made on sustainability. Whilst highlighting the barriers to progress in each area he also sought to put agency back into the story to show how the direction of globalization can be changed.

The Programme is very grateful to Professor Newell for his contribution to the day.

Postgraduate panels

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After lunch various postgraduate panels took place, beginning with presentations by three of our doctoral students: Can Cinar presented a paper summarising the first year of his doctoral project entitled The Exercise of Political Authority of Credit Rating Agencies. Samentha Goethals provided some thoughts on her initial experiences of conducting fieldwork in Asking the ‘Rights’ Question: Early Reflections on Interviewing Hotel Managers and Migrant Workers. Finally, Matthew Hurley (pictured) gave a paper considering his experiences of conducting qualitative interviews within NATO, in a paper entitled Men Like You: Reflecting on ‘talking gender’ at NATO.

This was followed by a number of panels at which MA students gave short presentations on their summer dissertation projects. These covered a range of issues including:

  • Changing Hearts and Minds: The role of the media in shaping US foreign policy and public opinion during Vietnam and Iraq
  • Failed States in International Law and IR
  • The discursive practices of environmental movements’ opposition to tar sands

Seventh annual International Studies postgraduate day

Members of staff were joined by some of our research students and the cohort from the MA programme in International Studies and the MA in International Law and International Relations. Prospective MA students were also present and they had the chance to meet and discuss the courses with staff and current students.

Guest lecture

China and the South: Implications for the Global Order by Professor Shaun Breslin

We were delighted to welcome Professor Shaun Breslin from the University of Warwick. His lecture covered the rise in China’s external relations with the Global South. He sought to highlight the increasingly pluralistic relations that China has with developing countries. In particular he focused on explaining the disjuncture between notions of a Grand Strategy and the role played by independent Chinese actors on the ground. His lecture prompted a thoroughly engaging question and answer session. This included a number of questions on the role of the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) and how this relates to Chinese foreign relations.

The Programme is very grateful to Professor Breslin for his contribution to the day.

Postgraduate panels

After lunch various postgraduate panels took place beginning with presentations by two of our doctoral students: Shane Szarkowski presented a paper based on his doctoral project on state failure entitled Historical Legacies, Identity Constructions, and Security Policy Regarding State Failure: the Afghanistan Case. Samentha Goethals (pictured) gave a paper reflecting on her experiences as a researcher for local NGO (Rights and Accountability in Development) and how the research for her doctoral project poses both similar and specific challenges.

This was followed by a number of panels at which MA students gave short presentations on their summer dissertation projects. These covered a range of issues including:

  • From Kyoto to the UN decade on biodiversity: the challenges of environmental law and politics
  • Countering Piracy off Somalia: solutions for a failed state
  • Collective security, selective responsibility: Right to Protect as a legal norm?
  • Ethical consumerism and sustainable development to aid conservation: A case of palm production and devastation

Sixth annual postgraduate day for the International Studies programme

Members of staff in the department were joined by some of our research students and the current cohort from the MA programme in International Studies and the MA in International Law and International Relations. Prospective MA students were also present and they had the chance to meet and discuss the course with staff and current students.

Guest lecture

Globalisation or Imperialism, or Globalisation and Imperialism? by Professor Ray Kiely

We were delighted to welcome Professor Ray Kiely from Queen Mary, University of London. His lecture engaged with two of the key trends in theorising the international since the end of the Cold War. He argued that whilst the term globalisation has for many been superseded by imperialism since the 9/11 attacks in 2001, we should retain aspects of both ideas if we are to understand contemporary world politics. Changes that can be understood as global economic restructuring are significant for Professor Kiely and he argued that these require us to rethink our traditional ways of understanding geo-politics through the term ‘imperialism’. His lecture prompted a thoroughly engaging question and answer session.

The Department of International Relations, Politics and Sociology is very grateful to Prof Ray Kiely for his contribution to the day.

Postgraduate panels

After lunch various postgraduate panels took place beginning with presentations by two of our doctoral students:

  • Shane Szarkowski presented an overview of part of his doctoral project entitled ‘Sovereignty’s Reconceptualisation and (Failed) Statehood’
  • Miguel Otero-Iglesias who is near the end of his doctoral research spoke about his post-doctoral research plans. This project currently has the working title of ‘The Internationalisation of the Renminbi: A Strategy of Crossing the River by Feeling the Stones’.

This was followed by a number of panels at which MA students gave short presentations on their summer dissertation projects. These covered a range of issues including:

  • Investigating the Potential for a Future Treaty on Adaptation to Climate Change through an Examination of the 2009 Copenhagen Negotiations
  • The effects of domestic anti-terrorism legislation upon young Muslims within the UK
  • The rise and demise of the Sudan (s): a new paradigm in peacemaking

International Relations, Politics and Sociology programmes hold fifth annual postgraduate day

This was another highly successful day with lively academic exchange throughout. Members of staff in the department were joined by some of our research students and the current cohort from the taught postgraduate programme in International Studies. Prospective MA students were also present and they had the chance to meet and discuss the course with staff and current students.

Guest lecture

International Justice and Global Environmental Governance by Dr Chukwumerije Okereke

We were delighted to welcome Dr Chukwumerije Okereke from the Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment based at the University of Oxford whose lecture prompted a thoroughly engaging question and answer session. Dr Okereke argued for the need to re-think justice in relation to global environmental politics. Suggesting that questions of justice are unavoidable in matters such as climate change, he demonstrated how the hegemony of neoliberalism is a key obstacle to achieving justice. He concluded by reminding the audience how awareness of environmental issues is broad in the Western world, but shallow in that this comes without a willingness to change our lifestyles.

The Department of International Relations, Politics and Sociology is very grateful to Dr Okereke for giving up his time to attend.

Postgraduate panels

After lunch various postgraduate panels took place beginning with presentations by four students on their doctoral research:

  • Agnieszka Balicka spoke on Israel’s Interventions in Lebanon (1968–2066)
  • Matt Donoghue provided some theoretical reflections on his work on Cohesion in the Context of Welfare and Citizenship
  • Shane Szarkowski presented an overview of his project on Failed States
  • Duncan Green (who is writing a PhD by publication) spoke on Active Citizens and Effective States

This was followed by a number of panels at which MA students gave short presentations on their summer dissertation projects. These covered a range of issues including:

  • What is the impact of China’s involvement in the development process of Africa?
  • Securing the Iraqi People: A Critical Discourse Analysis of US Security Policy in Iraq
  • The Global Securitisation of Gender