News and events
Find out more about the latest news and events from the Department. We also run a departmental blog and twitter account covering our news, events and thoughts in more detail.
Political Voices: a Date for the Diary - POSTPONED
New Universities Minister Sam Gyimah becomes our latest 'Political Voice'. As soon as we have a new date for this event it will be posted here, so keep checking back!
2018 UoR prosperity and resillience award
Congratulations to Dr Tim Vlandas, from the Politics and International Relations Research Division, on winning the 2018 University of Reading Prosperity and Resilience Output Prize for his article "Grey Power and the Economy: Ageing and Inflation Across Developed Economies", published in Comparative Political Studies.
This is a significant coup for Tim in a very competitive competition. Eight Research Divisions nominated outputs for the prize, which were reviewed by a group of Research Division Leaders. As in previous years, the quality of the publications submitted was very high across the board, and the submissions reflected the methodological and thematic breadth of research across the theme.
The Prosperity and Resilience Output Prize will be awarded at a ceremony during the annual meeting of the University Court, together with the output prizes for the other themes.
parliamentary studies trip to westminster
On Wednesday 14th March students on the Parliamentary Studies module visited the Houses of Parliament for our annual outing to Westminster. We are only one of 20 universities in the UK that offer this module, and this is one of the highlights of the year. It turned out to be an historic day!
Several students were present for debate following the Prime Minister's Statement on the response to the attempted murder of the Skirpals in Salisbury, with others witnessing first-hand the media's coverage. Students were also present for the parallel debate in the House of Lords on the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill, as well as Sajid Javid's House of Commons statement on integrated communities.
In addition, two extremely open talks were given by Lord Cashman (former MEP and co-founder of Stonewall), and Lucy Powell (MP for Manchester, and Ed Miliband's chief of staff for his leadership campaign). Here the opportunity was provided for a wide range of questions to be put forward. The day concluded in the Select Committee on Human Rights, chaired by Harriet Harman - the theme was 'attitudes to enforcement' with evidence provided from the legal profession, and questions from Lord Woolf and Baroness Lawrence, amongst others.
sarah von billerbeck elected
Dr Sarah von Billerbeck was elected a member of the Research Working Groups of the Folke Bernadotte Academy, the Swedish government agency for peace, security, and development. The five groups are composed of around 120 scholars from around the world, who are experts in peace operations; conflict prevention; women, peace, and security; rule of law; and security sector reform.
More details can be found here.
delphi economic forum
Dr Daphne Halikiopoulou will be travelling to Delphi in early March to give a talk at the Delphi Economic Forum on Populism and values.
challenging contemporary wisdom
On 13 December 2017 the Ways of War Centre hosted the first of a series of seminars designed to challenge contemporary conventional wisdom on key defence and security issues. Recognising the role of critical thinking to the generation of 'intellectual advantage', each seminar will match a leading practitioner with an academic partner to explore the 'ambiguity paradox' caused by an increasingly complex operating environment and the corresponding need for insightful thinking and decision making.
The December seminar focused on Command and Control, asking the question 'is it fit for purpose in the 21st Century'? Contrarian-in-Chief Lieutenant General Sir David Capewell and Capt Dr David Reindorp RN explored five related focus questions with an audience from the MOD, armed services, academia and industry. Consensus suggested that it (C2) was not fit for purpose and required rethinking in a variety of areas including the UK's national security decision making apparatus, and the relationship between politicians, commanders, those under command and the society they all serve.
The seminar concluded that while MOD has got better at closing the gap between tomorrow's wars and yesterday's equipment, it now needs to do likewise with concepts. Many of which remain rooted in the past and show little sign of attracting the rapid, agile development pathways now seen in Defence acquisition.
The next seminar takes place on April 25th and will challenge the UK's defence acquisition model and strategy. Air Chief Marshal Sir Brian Burridge (ex-Vice President Finmeccanica) will act as Contrarian-in-Chief. For further details or to register interest please contact Dr David Reindorp email@example.com
engaging with practitioners
What do Andrea Leadsom, Matt Rodda and now, John Redwood have in common? All three MPs have taken part in Parliamentary Studies seminars this term. Reading is one of only 20 UK universities working with Parliament to run a Parliamentary Studies module, and ours is built around direct engagement with Parliamentarians and Parliamentary staff. Next up for this group? A day in Westminster including a seminar on LGBT+ issues with Lord Michael Cashman.
political quarterly blog
Please click here to read Daphne Halikiopoulou's latest blog published in the Political Quarterly.
in the end, trump loves to be loved
While the Politics & IR department didn't get to go to Davos this year (or any year for that matter), Mark Shanahan did get to preview President Trump's speech for Sky News, questioning how closely he'd stick to the script, and whether this would be another example of the 'Janus Presidency': hard-edged rhetoric at home, and a much softer message abroad.
"In the end," Shanahan commented, "Trump loves to be loved."
Reading Centre for Climate and Justice to help protect vulnerable communities
A new research centre that will support communities threatened by climate change was launched at the University of Reading on Thursday 18th January 2018 by former Irish President and UN human rights high commissioner Mary Robinson.
The Reading Centre for Climate Justice will be dedicated to putting justice at the heart of understanding the problems caused by climate change, and finding solutions to protect those most vulnerable to them. It seeks to deploy expertise at the University to identify gaps in knowledge, and emerging areas, that would benefit from a justice-focused approach.
More information available from https://research.reading.ac.uk/centre-for-climate-and-justice/
Students staged their own 'Second Referendum on Brexit' as the Rt Hon Andrea Leadsom MP, Leader of the House of Commons and leading light of the Leave Campaign joined Politics and IR students for a Parliamentary Studies class at the University of Reading this morning. Spending 50 minutes with the students, she was the consummate government representative: well-briefed, on message and with enough insight to tantalise on such issues as Brexit and Cabinet reshuffles, if not to provide much new to the evidence pot. Questions from the floor ranged from the relationship with the Commonwealth to farming policy post-Brexit, to the role of the media to an insider's view on reshuffles. The only area where she wouldn't be drawn was what a Leadsom premiership might have looked like had she won the Conservative Party Leadership in 2016. With her minders eager to move on, she was whisked away on cue at 12.30. Time waits for no woman with Cabinet Collective Responsibility! And as for that Second Referendum...? No clear winner.
dr sarah von billerbeck - esrc and fba grant awards
Sarah and Oisín Tansey (King's College London) were recently awarded an ESRC Standard Grant to support a three-year project entitled 'Enabling Authoritarianism? United Nations Peacebuilding and Authoritarian Rule.' The project, due to start in June 2018, will examine the ways in which UN peace operations might contribute to the rise or consolidation of authoritarian forms of governance in post-conflict countries.
Also, Sarah, who is co-Director of the newly established UN and Global Order Programme (UNGOP) at the University of Reading with Professor Rosa Freedman in the School of Law, was awarded a small grant to undertake a 7-month project on performance management in international organizations by the Folke Bernadotte Academy in Sweden.
the end of a dream...
The End of a Dream and the Risk of Global Chaos
Please join us for the following event, hosted by the UN and Global Order Programme (UNGOP) at the University of Reading:
A book presentation and discussion by Michael von der Schulenburg:
The End of a Dream and the Risk of Global Chaos. Will strong nation-states and a stronger United Nations guarantee a new global order?
1 February 2018, 4pm, Palmer Building 107
Michael von der Schulenburg worked for 34 years for the United Nations, and shortly for the OSCE, including as Assistant Secretary-General, in many of the world's trouble spots such as Haiti, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran, Iraq, Syria, the Balkans, Somalia, Sierra Leone, and in the Sahel. He participated in a number of strategic reviews of UN missions and review processes on UN reforms. He has written extensively on sensitive political issues and the role of UN peace missions. His most recent publication is On Building Peace - Rescuing the Nation State and Saving the United Nations, published in 2017 by Amsterdam University Press. Please click here for further information.
Dr Daphne halikiopoulou and dr tim vlandas - new article
Daphne and Tim's article 'Does unemployment matter? Economic insecurity, labour market policies and the far right vote in Europe' has been accepted for publication and is forthcoming in European Political Science (EPS) as a part of a symposium on the Populist Radical Right edited by Jens Rydgren and Pontus Odmalm.
graduation december 2017
Many congratulations to all of our BSc and MA students who graduated this December! Good luck with whatever the future holds for you - we wish you every success! Special congratulations go to our Department Prizewinners: Niklas Masuhr - Best Dissertation and Best Overall PGT student, Jacob Thomas-Llewellyn - Best Dissertation.
On Wednesday December 6, 14 Politics & IR students, mostly from our Parliamentary Studies modules traveled to Cardiff to see devolved government in action. This was the department's third visit to the Welsh Assembly and again, the welcome was warm, the visit was informative and the debate was occasionally feisty.
Starting the morning in the Old Debating Chamber in Ty Hywel, the Assembly's office building beside the Senedd, the group met leader of the Welsh Conservatives (the opposition in Wales) Andrew RT Davies, and senior Labour AM Mick Antoniw. Responding to some probing questions from the group, the pair covered everything from the impact of Brexit on Wales through Enhanced and Reserved powers to how the Assembly has evolved since it first sat 20 years ago.
Moving next door to the main Senedd, the group received a short but sweet tour of the award-winning building before taking in a business session of Ministers' Questions.
Next term, the group will have the chance to compare devolved government with the Mother of Parliaments as they head for a Parliamentary Day in Westminster.
Dr daphne halikiopoulou - new articles
Daphne's article with Sofia Vasilopoulou 'Breaching the Social Contract: Crises of Democratic Representation and Patterns of Extreme Right Party Support' will be published in print in Government and Opposition's next print issue this coming January. Government and Opposition, vol. 53, no. 1, pp. 26-50.
'The Paradox of Nationalism: The common denominator of radical right and radical left Euroscepticism', originally published in the European Journal of Political Research (EJPR) in 2012, has just been included in an EJPR virtual special issue on Populism. For info click here
dr georgina holmes - research paper
Dr Georgina Holmes presented a research paper on the pre-deployment training experience of Ghanaian tactical-level military peacekeepers at a two-day workshop on Preventing Sexual Exploitation & Abuse in Humanitarian Settings, hosted by the LSE Centre for Women, Peace & Security, on 30th November - 1st December 2017. The workshop brought together academics, policymakers and practitioners to discuss new responses and share good practice.
european trade union institute monthly forum
On Thursday, December 14th, Dr Daphne Halikiopoulou and Dr Tim Vlandas will be in Brussels, discussing the electoral success of far right parties in Europe at the European Trade Union Institute (ETUI) Monthly Forum.
Click here for info
dr daphne halikipoulou - new article
Daphne's article 'Breaching the Social Contract: Crises of Democratic Representation and Patterns of Extreme Right Party Support' has been included in Government and Opposition's special collection of free articles across the subject of populism. It can be accessed for free here
campbell talks campbell
The writer and broadcaster Alastair Campbell spent more than four hours in the department talking to students, staff and our local community on Monday, as he delivered the Peter Campbell Memorial Lecture, named in honour of the first Head of Politics and International Relations at the University of Reading.
Click here for Mark Shanahan's report.
Inspirations: Jess Phillips MP at the University of Reading (16th November 2017)
By Dr Madeleine Davies (Department of English Literature)
Jess Phillips MP gave a talk at the University of Reading on 16th November and reminded everyone present of the need to fight for social justice, fairness, and equality. The event was very well attended and students, colleagues and members of the local community listened carefully as the MP explained her beliefs and her work. Click here for Madeline's full report.
consent and deception
Dr Rob Jubb has published a discussion note entitled 'Consent and Deception' in the Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy. It is now available here.
senss pathway leads
The main 2018 ESRC SeNSS PhD studentship competition is now open. The attached 'Information for UoR staff' sheet sets out broad competition details for supervisors and I'd be grateful if you could now disseminate this information by forwarding to all relevant staff in your pathway area.
Key deadlines to note are:
15 January 2018 - Deadline for candidates to submit their SeNSS applications by email to firstname.lastname@example.org (UoR Graduate School) for Reading's institutional shortlisting process.
21 January 2018 - Deadline for candidates to apply for admission - however earlier applications are strongly encouraged.
1 February 2018 - shortlisted candidates + reserves will be invited to upload final applications to FluidReview.
April 2018 - decisions
Student-facing advertising is live at www.reading.ac.uk/graduateschool/funding-and-fees/gs-senss-info.aspx (Reading) and http://senss-dtp.ac.uk/apply-1 (overall consortium).
prof dominik Zaum - new article
Dominik Zaum's most recent article, "International Transitional Administrations and the Politics of Authority Building" has been published in the Journal of Intervention and Statebuilding.
dr Geoff Sloan - new book
Geoff's new book 'Geopolitics, Geography and Strategic History' has now been published by Routledge. It also has been awarded the Stratfor Prize for the best book devoted to geopolitical issues in 2017.
transatlantic social dialogue
Dr Tim Vlandas was invited to give a talk on the Political Economy of far right party support at the 2017 Transatlantic Social Dialogue in New York. The event, which took place on the 15th of September, was hosted by the Worker institute (Cornell University). The audience included American and European academics as well as trade union leaders.
folke bernadotte academy workshop
Dr Sarah von Billerbeck attended a specialized workshop on UN peacekeeping operations in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, hosted by the Folke Bernadotte Academy (Sweden), on 7-8 October. The workshop saw a small group of scholars from around the world studying a variety of aspects of peacekeeping and post-conflict reconstruction come together for two days of academic presentations; Prof Rosa Freedman from the School of Law was also present. Some stayed on an extra day for policy-oriented presentations at the headquarters of the African Union.
APG Richard E Neustadt Book prize
Congratulations to Dr. Mark Shanahan who is the 2017 winner of the APG Richard E Neustadt Book prize for his monograph 'Eisenhower at the Dawn of the Space Age' published by Lexington Books. The prize is awarded annually by the American Politics Group of the PSA to the best book in the field of US government and politics (including political history and foreign policy) published in the calendar year 2016, and authored by an academic permanently employed at a UK university. Mark will receive his award at the British Library in November.
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Congratulations to Dr.Mark Shanahan and Dr. Simonetta Longhi who have both been awarded the Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy of the UK.
Dr Patrick Tomlin - paper accepted
Patrick Tomlin recently had a paper accepted at the leading journal Philosophy & Public Affairs. The paper, titled 'On Limited Aggregation', concerns how we should trade off harms of different sizes to different people. For example, how should we trade off claims against death against claims against paralysis, or claims against mild headaches? Dr Tomlin shows a series of problems with a popular view, 'Limited Aggregation'. This is of philosophical interest, but also has relevance to many areas of public policy, including healthcare spending.
Dr Corinne Heaven publication
Dr Heaven has had a chapter published in an edited volume: The chapter is entitled "A Visible College: The Community of Fact-Finding Practice", and is part of the volume "Commissions of Inquiry: Problems and Prospects", edited by Christian Henderson.
Dr Sarah von Billerbeck has co-edited a special issue of the Journal of Intervention and Statebuilding (vol. 11, issue 3, 2017).
It has been published by Taylor & Francis Online and is entitled 'Legitimacy in Conflict' with Birte Julia Gippert. It examines a variety of aspects of legitimacy in situations of conflict and post-conflict peacebuilding, and Sarah also contributed an article entitled 'UN Peace Operations and Conflicting Legitimacies.
Dr Georgina Holmes' new article has been published by Taylor & Francis Online
Please go to http://blogs.reading.ac.uk/readingpolitics/ to read abuot Dr Holmes' new article.
2017 NSS Results
The Department are delighted to announce 92% satisfaction with teaching in the 2017 NSS results.
Politics & IR improved its scores in all our key performance areas this year - a testament to the work all our staff have put in to improve student engagement and enhance their learning experience here.
Class of 2017
Congratulations to all of our students who graduated on 6th July 2017 - we are so proud of your achievements and are sure you will go on to achieve many more great things!
Further congratulations to our 2017 Prizewinning students (l-r) Dr Mark Shanahan, Izzy Coleman-Wood - Matthew Cox Award, Felix Johnston-Brunn - Matthew Cox Award, Holly Gibbs - Department Prize for Outstanding Contribution to the Department, Freddy Farias-Arias - Department Prize for Outstanding Contribution to the Department, Lena-Katharina Gerdes - Peter Campbell Prize for Overall Excellence - with highest overall average, Dr Jonathan Golub, Camille Gosset - Department Prize for Outstanding Contribution to the Department and Will Cole - Daniel James Award for all round performance.
Dr Adam Humphreys' latest book has been published by Oxford University Press
Dr Adam Humphreys' new book, The Anarchical Society at 40: Contemporary Challenges and Prospects, has just been published by Oxford University Press.
The book re-examines Hedley Bull's classic text The Anarchical Society, forty years after it was first published in 1977.
Mr Speaker and the 'Reading Revelation'
On 3 February 2017, the Department welcomed the Speaker of the House of Commons, John Bercow MP for what proved to be a very revealing 'Political Voices' visit. Meeting first with students and then in an open event attended by more than 200 people, the Speaker was candid and open in his views - so much so that his 'revelation' that he voted for the UK to remain became national news as he was accused of breaking the parliamentary convention on political neutrality. The media furore flared for several days - although two months on, Mr Bercow remains happily ensconced in Speaker's House.
News and commentary from our blog
- Delphi Economic Forum
- Dr Sarah von Billerbeck elected
- Parliamentary Studies trip to Westminster
- Delphi Economic Forum
- Challenging Contemporary Wisdom
- Engaging with practitioners
- Political Quarterly
- Reading Centre for Climate and Justice to help protect vulnerable communities
- Rt Hon Andrea Leadsom MP, Leader of the House of Commons visit to PolIR Department
- Dr Sarah von Billerbeck – ESRC and FBA Grant Awards