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Our involvement in a number of research centres enables us to work with academics across other disciplines at the University of Reading, pursuing ambitious, important research together.

Reading Ethics and Political Philosophy (REAPP)

Reading Ethics and Political Philosophy (REAPP) was founded in 2013 to create an institutional framework for collaboration and cooperation between moral and political philosophers across the University.

It currently has nine permanent faculty members across three departments, as well as a similar number of postgraduate research students. REAPP is co-directed by Dr Luke Elson in the Department of Philosophy and Dr Robert Jubb in the Department of Politics and International Relations.

REAPP organises regular conferences and workshops, bringing in internationally renowned speakers like T. M. Scanlon of Harvard University, who spoke at its launch conference in December 2013 on individual morality and the morality of institutions. Since then, speakers have come from universities across the UK and further afield, including Chicago, Leiden, Amsterdam, Milan and Northeastern, to discuss topics from the nature of legitimacy to how to understand political resistance.

Postgraduate research members of REAPP also organised two-day Graduate and Early Career Conferences in 2017, 2018 and 2019, with participants attending from the UK, Europe and the wider world.

As well as externally-focused events like workshops and conferences, REAPP also organises events focused on its members at Reading. It has organised a graduate reading group, which is also attended by some of its faculty members, and a work-in-progress seminar which currently meets twice a term.

The relationships that REAPP encourages and sustains have resulted in successful cross-departmental supervision of several PhD students, including some who have gone on to academic careers. These also feed, both directly and indirectly, into the research publications that its members write.

Papers presented at REAPP events have appeared in top academic journals such as Philosophy and Public Affairs and Political Studies and become part of academic monographs published by prestigious university presses like Oxford University Press.

Faculty members and co-directors


UN and Global Order Programme (UNGOP)

The UN and Global Order Programme (UNGOP) provides in-depth and innovative research and policy engagement to respond to the key challenges faced by the UN and global governance systems.

The UNGOP brings together researchers studying the United Nations, its funds, agencies and programmes – including their substantive work, how they function internally, and their role in the international system. The UNGOP has two main components: in-depth, innovative academic research; and policy-focused projects responding to key challenges relating to the UN and global governance.

Its aim is to build bridges between the academic and policy worlds by providing a forum for researchers and practitioners who are studying and working with the UN.

Key areas of research

  • sexual violence and peacekeeping
  • self-legitimation by International Organisations
  • gender and peacekeeping
  • the death penalty
  • training materials on the UN for the Diplomatic Academy.

 

Visit the UNGOP website


Ways of War Centre

The Ways of War Centre brings together scholars from every field of the arts, humanities, and social sciences with a shared serious interest in understanding war.

War is collective violence that is perceived as legitimate; in other words, it is violence shaped by culture. The centre is committed to the study of the theories, practices, beliefs, and motivations that together have together constituted the phenomenon of war.

Some members have a background in the study of strategy; others include historians, political scientists, international relations theorists, and international lawyers. They share a hope that better understanding of warfare’s past and present may, at the margin, modify its future.

Recent projects

  • War Games and Military Exercises: this joint project with NATO and the Norwegian Defence Command and Staff College addresses the political dimensions of high-level command post exercises (sometimes called war games) and military exercises. It explores the difficulties of alliance politics and the political signalling to allies, adversaries and neutrals that form part of such exercises. Exercises also rehearse intended operations: for example, how can we distinguish between routine training and preparations for an invasion?
  • The Liberal Way of Warfare: in June 2008, Reading’s "The Liberal Way of War: Strategy, Ideology, Representations" project won a large-scale Leverhulme Programme Award to study "Security and Liberty" as a theme. From 2008–13, 14 scholars from four departments and schools at Reading (Politics and International Relations, Law, History, and Modern Languages) studied the ways in which liberal states have reconciled themselves to fighting wars. 

 

Ways of War Centre and Henley Business School seminar series

Contemporary thinking on defence and security sits within a discourse rooted in ambiguity. Persistent change, perpetual adaptation, evolving complexity and constant innovation are all acknowledged factors of the twenty-first century strategic operating environment. To which can be added the ubiquity of communicated information, the ease with which it can be manipulated and thus the now relative nature of "truth".

Nevertheless, to be successful, defence policy and planning must lead to capabilities and strategies that are, or could be, decisive. This seminar series explored the ambiguity/decision paradox to determine if and where novel ideas, behaviours and practices can remove or bypass ambiguity, enable better decision-making and ultimately, enhance the decisiveness of strategy, campaigns and operations.

Research impact

In the most recent Research Excellence Framework (REF), 2014, 80% of our research impact was rated as world-leading or internationally excellent.

Meet our experts

Our staff have exceptional knowledge in an impressive range of political topics and issues. Many of our academics are directly involved in international politics, sharing their expertise with governments and policymakers.

News and events

Our academics make headlines with their research and their input on current affairs. Keep up with the latest news from our Department.

Athena Swan Bronze Award
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