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Department of Politics, Languages & International Studies seminars 2021/22

See the schedule of seminars taking place in the Department of Politics, Languages & International Studies.

February 2022 Seminars

All seminars will take place via Zoom from 13.15-14.05 GMT.


Tuesday 8 February 2022

  • Speaker: Polly Winfield, University of Bath
  • Time: 13.15-14.05
  • Title: Diaspora Memories and the Virtual Museum: Remembering Lost Homelands
  • Abstract: We will present outputs from our research, carried out with two diasporic memory organisations, Kresy-Siberia and Houshamadyan, which have both developed internet platforms to collect and share information about lost homelands: in the former case, the pre-World War II eastern borderlands of Poland; in the latter, the Armenian communities of the Ottoman Empire that were destroyed by genocide. Our subsequent paper, which draws from the interviews undertaken with participants, examines the activism of these two diasporic memory groups and analyses the relationship between memory practice and the online space. We will discuss what difference the creation of an online platform makes to such groups, both for individuals and for the wider diaspora, and seeks to understand how the possibilities offered by these platforms shape diasporic practice.

March 2022 Seminars

Seminars will take place via Zoom from 13.15-14.05 GMT (unless stipulated).


Tuesday 1 March 2022

  • Speaker: Xosé Manoel Núñez Seixas, University of Santiago de Compostela
  • Time: 13.15-14.05
  • Title: Exploring the ‘Sites of the Dictators’ in 20th-Century Europe
  • Abstract: The book I will present explores the changing evolution of memory debates on places intimately linked to the lives and deaths of different fascist, para-fascist and communist dictators in a transnational and comparative way. During the second decade of the twenty-first century, a number of parallel debates arose in Italy, Spain, Portugal, Albania, Austria, among other countries, regarding the public management of those sites of memory that were directly linked to the personal biographies of their former dictators. The ways in which each democracy deals with the dead bodies, mausoleums and birthplaces of the dictators vary considerably, although common questions occur, such as whether oblivion or re-signification is better, the risk of a posthumous cult of personality being established and the extent to which the shadow of the authoritarian past endures in these sites of memory. Using the concept of "sites of the dictators", it is explained why it is so difficult to deal with some sites of memory linked to dead autocrats.

Tuesday 8 March 2022

  • Speaker: Sparsha Saha, Harvard University
  • Time: 13.15-14.05
  • Title: Why Don't Politicians Talk about Meat? Voter Backlash, the Environment, and the Limits of Innovation Credit
  • Abstract: Despite the large environmental and human health costs of animal agriculture, governments have done little to address this issue. In the U.S. context, the very opposite has been the case with growing meat subsidies that enable factory farms to produce meat well below its true cost, as well as legal exemptions that have blocked the EPA from collecting and reporting factory farm emissions. And, even though, worldwide, animal agriculture is responsible for between 14.5-18% of all anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions, which exceeds that of the entire global transportation sector, nearly all of the focus has been on reducing carbon emissions from the energy and transportation sectors. What explains the lack of governmental attention on the costs of animal agriculture?

Tuesday 15 March 2022

  • Speaker: George Newth, University of Bath
  • Time: 13.15-14.05 (In-person 1WN 2.04)
  • Title: A ‘Common Sense Revolution’? Matteo Salvini’s Twitter and the Project of Far Right Hegemony (2017-2021)
  • Abstract: Towards the end of 2017 Matteo Salvini, leader of the Italian populist far right party, the Lega, promised Italian voters a ‘common sense revolution’ (rivoluzione del buonsenso). ‘Common sense’ has since become an important discursive feature of Salvini’s communication strategy enabling him to present reactionary ideas as rational, logical and beyond debate. Until now, the role of ‘common sense’ in mainstreaming far right ideology has received little attention in studies of populism and the far right. Using Antonio Gramsci’s concept of hegemony, alongside a mixed methods approach to discourse analysis, we will discuss how Salvini has discursively constructed a reactionary form of ‘common sense’ via Twitter between 2017 and 2021 as a way of mainstreaming far right ideology.

March 2022 Seminars (continued)

Seminars will take place via Zoom from 13.15-14.05 GMT (unless stipulated).


Tuesday 22 March 2022

  • Speaker: Anastasia Shesterinina, University of Sheffield
  • Time: 13.15-14.05 (In-person 1WN 2.04)
  • Title: Civil War Paths: Understanding Civil War from Pre- to Post-War Stages
  • Abstract: The literature on civil war has made significant advances, deepening our understanding of structural determinants and micro-foundations of civil war. However, we still know little about how conflicts turn violent, how civil wars unfold over time, and how distinct dynamics of civil war affect the post-war potential for peace. This is due to three interrelated trends in the literature. First, civil war has in general been studied in isolation from broader conflict. Second, few studies of civil war have looked at the dynamics that connect the pre- to post-war stages of conflict to one another. Finally, most studies have viewed civil war as a single phenomenon that follows a common logic. We will introduce you to the Civil War Paths project funded by a £1.2m UK Research and Innovation Future Leaders Fellowship. A project that marks a significant departure from historical literature.

April 2022 Seminars

Seminars will take place via Zoom from 13.15-14.05 GMT (unless stipulated).


Wednesday 6 April 2022

  • Speaker: Anca Parvulescu, Washington University in St. Louis and Manuela Boatcă, Albert-Ludwigs-University Freiburg
  • Time: 13.15-14.05
  • Title: The European Longue Durée of Roma Enslavement: Race, Nationalism, Literary Canons
  • Abstract: Drawing on research for a co-authored book, Creolizing the Modern: Transylvania across Empires (forthcoming Cornell UP, 2022), Manuela Boatca and Anca Parvulescu trace the history of enslavement of Romani populations in parts of East Europe. On the margins of Liviu Rebreanu’s novel Ion (1920), largely considered the first modern novel in the Romanian language, they argue for the need to recognize the imbrication of race and ethnicity in the construction of both nationalism and Europeanization.

Tuesday 26 April 2022

  • Speaker: Manuel Vogt, UCL
  • Time: 13.15-14.05 (In-person - 1WN2.04)
  • Title: Elite Networks and Political Conflict in Post-Colonial States
  • Abstract: How does the structure of elite networks affect political conflict in ethnically divided post-colonial states? Recent civil war studies have emphasized the importance of ethnic inclusion for maintaining peace in multiethnic societies, but their conceptualization of power-sharing tends to remain limited to elite representation in formal institutions of executive state power, discounting mechanisms of inter-ethnic cooperation outside these institutions. By contrast, we argue that in weakly institutionalized post-colonial states, the structure of the broader elite networks and, in particular, the extent to which ethnic groups are well integrated within them, are crucial for the degree of inter-ethnic elite cooperation and, therefore, peace.

May 2022 Seminars

Seminars will take place via Zoom from 13.15-14.05 GMT (unless stipulated).


Tuesday 3 May 2022

  • Speaker: Stefano Guzzini, Danish Institute for International Studies, Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro & Uppsala University
  • Time: 13.15-14.05 (In-person - 1WN2.04)
  • Title: Ontological Security Theory and Its Discontents
  • Abstract: Ontological Security Theory in International Relations has moved to a new stage. Recent theoretical developments have confronted a series of puzzles, such as the problems of anthropomorphisation and the homeostatic logic of the theory. The talk will assess the new theoretical turns. It will also problematize the reflexive relationship between the theory and the praxis it analyses. Widening the concept of security also widens the possible justifications of policies in the name of the national interest. Whereas understanding this wider national interest of the other may encourage more circumspection in addressing the other, it also justifies an apology of self-centeredness and nationalism. Here, the need for ontological security is translated into the need to uphold a certain vision of itself – conveniently defined by the actors themselves – in the face of demands and expectations of international society.

Tuesday 10 May 2022

  • Speaker: Marijke Breuning, University of North Texas
  • Time: 13.15-14.05
  • Title: Women’s Representation and Foreign Aid Allocation
  • Abstract: Does women’s descriptive representation in donor states influence the allocation of foreign aid? This paper contends that donor states reward recipient states for signaling a commitment to expanding the role of women in political decision making and that this relationship is stronger for donor states in which women have attained stronger representation. Previous studies have shown that women’s descriptive representation in political decision making is associated with greater generosity in donor states. This study builds on that literature, as well as on the emerging literature on feminist foreign policy. The paper develops a theory to explain why donor states should be expected to reward recipient states that make a commitment to women’s empowerment in political decision making and test it using dyadic data on donors’ distribution of foreign aid to recipient states.

2021 Seminars

Previous seminars that have taken place


Tuesday 5 October 2021

  • Speaker: Kate Precious, Department of Politics, Languages & International Studies, University of Bath
  • Title: The Underdog Empowered? A Strategy for Lobbying Influence

Tuesday 12 October 2021

  • Speaker: Dr Amélie Godefroidt, Norwegian University of Science and Technology
  • Title: Jihadist Terrorism Continues to Affect Public Opinion

Tuesday 19 October 2021

  • Speaker: Dr Stephen Hall, Department of Politics, Languages & International Studies, University of Bath
  • Title: Developing Best Practices “Against Terrorists Who Protest”: Regional Organisations as Learning Clubs for Autocracies?

Tuesday 26 October 2021

Tuesday 2 November 2021

  • Speaker: Dr Columba Achilleos-Sarll, University of Birmingham
  • Title: Rethinking Advocacy as Practice through the Women, Peace, and Security Agenda

Tuesday 9 November 2021

  • Speaker: Prof Victor E. Ray, University of Iowa
  • Title: Racialized Burdens: Applying Racialized Organization Theory to the Administrative State

Tuesday 16 November 2021

  • Speaker: Lotte Hargrave, University College London
  • Title: A Double Standard? Gender Bias in Voters’ Perceptions of Political Arguments

Tuesday 23 November 2021

  • Speaker: Dr Jessica Smith, University of Southampton
  • Title: Can MPs ‘have it all’? Voter perceptions of parliamentary parents and proxy voting

Tuesday 30 November 2021

  • Speaker: Dr Manuel Vogt, University College London
  • Title: Elite Networks and Political Conflict in Post-Colonial States

Tuesday 7 December 2021

  • Speaker: Dr Andrei Guter-Sandu, Department of Politics, Languages & International Studies, University of Bath
  • Title: Custody, Care and Cost: Quantifying and Valuing Life in the Correctional Services

Tuesday 14 December 2021

  • Speaker: Dr Naomi Pendle, Department of Politics, Languages & International Studies, University of Bath
  • Title: Conflict After Peace: Learning From Recent South Sudan Since the 2018 Peace Agreement

Seminar enquires

For further information about our seminars, you can contact the organiser.