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Department of Politics, Languages & International Studies seminars 2022/23

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

September 2022 Seminars

Seminars will take place in 1 West North 2.4 from 13.15-14.05 GMT (unless stipulated).


Tuesday 27th September 2022

  • Speaker: Luke Shuttleworth, Humbolt University Berlin
  • Time: 13.15-14.05
  • Venue: 1 West North 2.4
  • Title: Strategic Gatekeepers: When Do Mainstream Parties Use Anti-Migration Discourses in Parliamentary Debates?
  • Abstract: In this seminar, I will present my ongoing doctoral research on the normalisation of far right politics. Specifically, I will present the analytical approach, methodology, and preliminary findings of my working paper on the circumstances under which mainstream parties strategically accommodate anti-migration discourses in parliamentary debates. I plan to combine word embeddings, a text-as-data approach, with discourse-historical analysis to examine a corpus of speeches held in the House of Commons from 1990 to 2018. The aim is to track discursive shifts over time and to investigate how mainstream parties react to developments such as the emergence of a far right challenger, crises, and electoral pressures. My research draws on the party competition literature on strategic choice, as well as discourse-analytical contributions on far right normalisation. In doing so, I intend to critically examine how mainstream parties’ vote-maximising behaviour can result in the legitimation of the politics of the far right.

October 2022 Seminars

Seminars will take place in 1 West North 2.4 from 13.15-14.05 GMT (unless stipulated).


Tuesday 4th October 2022

  • Speaker: Professor Steven Lobell, University of Utah
  • Time: 13.15-14.05
  • Venue: 1 West North 2.4
  • Title: A Granular Theory of Balancing
  • Abstract: TBC

Tuesday 11th October 2022

  • Speaker: Professor Roger Mac Ginty, Durham University
  • Time: 13.15-14.05
  • Venue: 1 West North 2.4
  • Title: Afghanistan and the Data Myth: How More, Faster and Better Data Failed to Secure "Victory" in Afghanistan
  • Abstract: This paper will argue that western military, humanitarian and peacebuilding interventions increasingly rely on the collection and analysis of high-quality data. Much of the messaging to legitimise such interventions stresses the promise of more, better and faster data. Yet, as the case of Afghanistan shows, more, better and faster data did not guarantee stated mission goals. Indeed, data collection became an end in itself, and contributed to dysfunctional political economies of data and the dissemination of data. The paper can be placed in the context of wider debates on the nature of intervention in rapidly changing international environment in which there is an emphasis on value-for-money, remote programming, demonstrable results, and "quick wins".

Tuesday 18th October 2022

  • Speaker: Professor Marijke Breuning, University of North Texas
  • Time: 13.15-14.05
  • Venue: Via Zoom
  • 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.

Tuesday 18th October 2022

  • Speaker: Dr Nicole Martin, University of Manchester
  • Time: 13.15-14.05
  • Venue: 1 West North 2.4
  • Title: The End of the Ethnic Bloc Vote? Ethnic Minority Leavers after the Brexit Referendum
  • Abstract: Brexit has reshaped British electoral politics, but little attention has been paid to the post-referendum politics of the roughly 1 million ethnic minorities who voted for Leave. This is an important omission; ethnic minority support for Brexit was higher than expected despite the Leave side mobilising white ethnocentric voters, and the cross-ethnic appeal of the Leave campaign allowed it to distinguish itself from other purely anti-immigrant political projects. We show that realignment of minority voters in the 2019 general election was limited among minorities, despite the high salience of Brexit. Using semi-structured interview data, we find that both Conservative and Labour Leavers agreed that racism is a problem, but those who voted Conservative in 2019 saw it as less relevant to politics, prioritising Brexit instead. Labour Leavers on the other hand described themselves as habitual Labour supporters, explaining their vote with reference to Labour’s perceived position of the party of ordinary people, understood as working class and ethnic minority voters. These results demonstrate that while the 2016 vote managed to defy accusations of being an ethnocentric project unacceptable to ethnic minorities, 2019 Conservatives fell victim of the ethnocentric focus of their campaign and failed to benefit from a substantial amount of support for Brexit among minorities.

November 2022 Seminars

Seminars will take place in 1 West North 2.4 from 13.15-14.05 GMT (unless stipulated).


Tuesday 8th November 2022

  • Speaker: Dan Brown, The London School of Economics (LSE)
  • Time: 13.15-14.05
  • Venue: 1 West North 2.4
  • Title: Epistemic Openness in Social Movement Research
  • Abstract: Social movements often voice demands of underprivileged and marginalized communities. While decolonial, indigenous or action research of activists from marginalized backgrounds is booming in other research fields, social movement studies rarely include marginalized actors into the specification of the research process itself. The paper argues that this process needs to primarily take place in the realm of epistemology. Actors’ epistemes should be approached as “impossible gift” (Kuokkanen) that is welcomed without conditions and with enthusiastic openness. The paper develops a research process guided by the principles of epistemic openness and shows its application on the case of research into the Kurdistan Freedom Movement.

Tuesday 15th November 2022

  • Speaker: Katharina Lawall, Royal Holloway University
  • Time: 13.15-14.05
  • Venue: 1 West North 2.4
  • Title: Gender-Immigration Messages: How Women's Rights Are Used to Normalise Anti-Immigration Views
  • Abstract: How do extreme political parties normalise unacceptable views? I argue that when previously unacceptable positions are "normatively repackaged'' as a defence of liberal democratic values, voters will find the position more acceptable. I examine this at the example of gender-immigration messages: statements using women's rights to justify anti-immigration claims. I argue that gender-immigration messages make anti-immigration views and parties more acceptable. To test this, I conduct survey experiments, varying whether respondents are exposed to a gender-immigration message, an immigration message, a gender message or no message. I find that normative repackaging increases the acceptability of previously unacceptable views among all voters (in Norway), and among women, compared to men (in Germany). However, I find no effects of gender-immigration messages on radical right support or the direct expression of anti-immigrant views. These findings have important implications for our understanding of normative repackaging as a powerful legitimising device.

November 2022 Seminars (Continued)

Seminars will take place in 1 West North 2.4 from 13.15-14.05 GMT (unless stipulated).


Tuesday 22nd November 2022

  • Speaker: Dr Marnie Howlett, University of Oxford
  • Time: 13.15-14.05
  • Venue: 1 West North 2.4
  • Title: Vertical Nation-Building: An Analysis of Ukrainian Nationhood in the Russia-Ukraine War
  • Abstract: Whereas much attention has been devoted to the actions by Ukrainians to militarily defend their state and nation, fewer investigations have considered the experiences of ordinary citizens who have not taken up arms and instead sheltered in place. In this paper, we thus examine ordinary citizens’ expressions of nationalism amidst the Ukraine-Russia war. This project is particularly interested in the people whom have sheltered in underground bunkers across Ukraine, as their ‘fight’ against Russia and for the Ukrainian nation has been ‘verticalized’ in a way not typically considered in nationalism literature. In examining the everyday realities in bunkers across Ukraine during the first five months following Russia’s invasion, the paper accordingly reveals how nationalism has been expressed in the ‘everyday’ lives of ordinary Ukrainians. Specifically, the paper shows how art and music have been used as a means to actively reproduce, ‘fight’ for, and even re-build the Ukrainian nation.

Tuesday 22nd November 2022

  • Speaker: Dr Marnie Howlett, University of Oxford
  • Time: 14.15-15.30
  • Venue: 1 West North 2.4
  • Title: Online and Digital Methods for Qualitative Research
  • Abstract: In light of new challenges for conducting research as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, this seminar explores the use of online and digital methods for qualitative data collection. The session will examine the ways qualitative research can be conducted remotely, such as through the use of the Internet, telephones, and videoconferencing software like Zoom and Facetime. The ethical and methodological considerations of conducting remote research will also be discussed, especially around the people who are both included and excluded when digital methods are used, as well as the implications of digital technologies for research-participant relations.

Tuesday 29th November 2022

  • Speaker: Dr Andreas Karoutas, University of Exeter
  • Time: 13.15-14.05
  • Venue: 1 West North 2.4
  • Title: "What Calamities! What Horrors!" Dystopia(s), Post-Apocalyptic Politics and the Post-Foundational Promise
  • Abstract: Dystopia and post-apocalypse are becoming a regular aspect of contemporary social movements' imaginary. Extinction Rebellion is one characteristic exemplar of a social movement that focuses its politics on the prospect of imminent post-apocalypse. This paper engages with Tarde's Underground Man (1905) - a sci-fi novel written by sociologist Gabriel Tarde and released after his death in 1904. While mostly forgotten, the book can help us reflect on some of the general tropes of sci-fi dystopia(s). H.G. Wells famously wrote the Preface to the book and is himself perhaps one of the biggest sources of some of these 'tropes'.

Dystopia in such accounts is offered understood as the outcome of civilisational collapse, as the aftermath of a catastrophic conflict - or an environmental catastrophe. 'Politics' in the post-apocalyptic era is mostly non-existent. 'Art' and 'philosophy' are corrupted and simplified by masses that are presented as docile, or unpolitical. These accounts share in common certain a priori assumptions about the 'end of politics', and commonly assume that post-apocalypse will be characterized by an unproductive absence of politics. Turning our attention to post-foundational thinkers, however, such as Cornelius Castoriadis, we can re-interpret these sci-fi tropes as the outcome of a common misunderstanding regarding the nature of politics and of 'foundations' in society. We confuse the 'horizon' of the end of politics as a potentially reachable destination. On the contrary, politics must be understood as an ever-receding horizon: antagonism and disagreement are ineradicable. These common tropes in sci-fi overwhelmingly minimize the creative and re-creative potential of politics, and in doing so incorrectly imagine that the end of the world will come with a whimper. Extinction Rebellion shows us the coming apocalypse will not be uncontested. It will arrive with politics.


December 2022 Seminars

Seminars will take place in 1 West North 2.4 from 13.15-14.05 GMT (unless stipulated).


Tuesday 6th December 2022

  • Speaker: Juhong Park, University of Bath
  • Time: 13.15-14.05
  • Title: President, Generals and Foreign Policy Failure: Principal-Agent Analysis of U.S. Troop Withdrawal from South Korea, 1977-1979
  • Abstract: This research analyses the failure of President Carter's U.S. troop withdrawal policy from Korea. Former U.S. President Trump has sparked a security free-rider controversy and threatened to withdraw all U.S. troops from Korea. As such, the worst 'abandonment' in asymmetric alliances would be the unilateral withdrawal of a superpower from a weak ally. The study seeks to obtain implications for the Korean government to respond to the withdrawal of U.S. troops through an analysis of Carter's case. Efforts to study past events and draw implications will provide insight and methods for predicting the future. Theoretically, it explores how civil-military friction influences foreign policy implementation and outcomes within the hierarchical relationship between the political leadership and the military through the principal-agent framework. Methodologically, it traces the events occurring within the withdrawal policy using a process-tracing method based on documentary analysis and causally connects them.

Tuesday 13th December 2022

  • Speaker: Dr Anton Popov, Aston University
  • Time: 13.15-14.05
  • Title: Socialising the "Difficult Past" through Intergenerational Production of Memories
  • Abstract: The paper draws on ethnographic research in multigenerational families in the UK. The research in familial mnemonic narratives demonstrates that the traumatic events experienced by the older generation of family members (such as racism and domestic violence) undergo the process of socialisation in the present reflecting the cultural changes in Britain since WWII as the emergence of new moral order. In this context the intergenerational transmission of memories and social/cultural values appears to be a multidirectional process where experiences of the younger generations and public discourses equips and enables the older generations to re-assessed and re-articulate their own life histories to match the national metanarrative.

Seminar enquires

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