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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.

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

department visit

ALeadsom1Students 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 CommonAL1wealth 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.


cardiff senedd

Cardiff5On 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.



Cardiff1Cardiff2Cardiff3Starting 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.

Cardiff4Moving 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

Alastair5The 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 PhillipJessP1s 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 (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 (Reading) and (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, GeoffSloanBook2017Geography 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

Sputnik2017Congratulations 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.

Special 30% OFF discount offer!*

To get discount, use code LEX30AUTH17 when ordering

*May not be combined with other offers and discounts, valid until 3/1/2018

HEA Award

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

2017, 'The Commonwealth, Gender and Peacekeeping', The Round Table: The Commonwealth Journal of International Affairs, Vol 106 Issue 3, pp. 1-17

Please go to to read abuot Dr Holmes' new article.

2017 NSS Results

The Departm92% satisfaction with teaching in politics and international relations - National Student Survey 2017ent 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 PolAndIRPrizewinners2017Award, 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: CAH book 40ontemporary 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

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