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Department of Politics, Languages & International Studies seminars

Hear from academics and practitioners with expertise in Politics, Languages and International Studies. View our upcoming seminars on this page.

February 2024 seminars

Details about our scheduled seminars in February 2024. All seminars will take place at the University of Bath, unless stated.

13 February

  • Speaker: Dr Mike Bolt, University of Bath
  • Title: Meadows and Uplands: Leave’s Vision of the Post-Referendum Good Life
  • Location: 1 West North 2.04
  • Time: 1.15pm - 2.05pm

The result of the Brexit referendum is regularly framed as a vote against actors and processes including elites, global governance, globalization, austerity, and neoliberalism. Less is typically made of the things that voters were voting for. This aspirational aspect of the Brexit vote represents Dr Bolt's focus. He examines the detail of the promised future set out by Vote Leave and Leave.EU/Grassroots Out during the referendum campaign. Using the framework of Rhetorical Political Analysis (RPA), he also analyses the campaign speeches of leading figures from both Leave camps to unpick their respective visions of the post-referendum good life and examine how this was pitched to the electorate in 2016. Dr Bolt also reflects on the shape of the Brexit settlement, before examining Leave’s promised economic and political future as delineated during the campaign period.

February 2024 seminars (continued)

Details about our scheduled seminars in February 2024. All seminars will take place at the University of Bath, unless stated.

20 February

  • Speaker: Dr Mauro Lubrano, University of Bath
  • Title: From Ontological Security to Existential Threat: Retracing the Emergence of Contemporary Anti-Technology Extremism
  • Location: 1 West North 2.04
  • Time: 1.15pm - 2.05pm

Technological progress is as old as technology itself. Yet, though apparently inevitable, such progress is not always unchallenged. Dr Lubrano traces the historical trajectory of anti-technology extremism from the 19th-century Luddites to Theodore Kaczynski – the Unabomber – in the 20th century and beyond. Examining intellectual and cultural contributions that questioned the relentless march of progress, this study investigates the evolution of anti-technology extremism to paint a more accurate picture of this phenomenon. Specifically, he distinguishes between the cognate phenomena of neo-Luddism and anti-technology extremism to then investigate how the latter is emerging as a cross-cutting ideological trend that is gaining prominence in different ideological milieus, such as insurrectionary anarchism, eco-radicalism, and eco-fascism. Despite their different approaches, strategies, and beliefs, these milieus share a common goal: the eradication of technology, which they view as an existential threat, and the desire to bring about the collapse of the techno-industrial civilisation.

27 February

  • Speaker: Dr Rosalind Shorrocks, University of Manchester
  • Title: The Role of Conflict-Seeking and Conflict-Avoidance in Explaining Gender Gaps in Political Engagement
  • Location: 1 West North 2.04
  • Time: 1.15pm - 2.05pm

Dr Shorrocks examines the relationship between conflict-seeking and conflict-avoidant orientations and 1) enjoyment of political discussion with others; 2) enjoyment of elite-level political debate and 3) general political engagement. By doing so, it seeks to understand if and how gender differences in these factors can help to explain the persistent and concerning gender gaps in political engagement, and what the relationship of general conflict-aversion and conflict-avoidant orientations is to political conflict at the personal and elite level. We fielded new measures of conflict-seeking and conflict-avoidance at the interpersonal and political levels to a representative sample of the British population through YouGov in July 2023. Previous research has tended to focus only on women’s greater conflict-avoidance, but we find that men’s greater conflict-seeking orientations are associated with their greater enjoyment of political discussion and debate, as well as greater levels of political attention, compared to women. However, even when accounting for differences between men and women in conflict-seeking and conflict-avoidant orientations, there still remains significant gender gaps in enjoyment of political debate and political attention. We interpret this as suggesting that although women may be less conflict-seeking than men, there is also something specifically about political conflict which reduces their engagement with the political realm.

March 2024 seminars

Details about our scheduled seminars in March 2024. All seminars will take place at the University of Bath, unless stated.

5 March

  • Speaker: Dr Sara Polo, University of Essex
  • Title: Female Empowerment and Extreme Violence against Women
  • Location: 1 West North 2.04
  • Time: 1.15pm - 2.05pm

Why does extreme violence such as bombings sometimes kill high proportions of women? Academic literature seeks to understand indiscriminate attacks, but the gendered dynamics of such violence have largely been ignored. Other studies focus on gender-based violence such as sexual assault, but far less is known about a widespread phenomenon that we call extreme violence against women - explosive attacks disproportionately affecting women. We theorize that female empowerment raises the costs of extreme violence against women, making it less likely. Empirically, we introduce new global data on explosive violence targeting women. Countries with higher female empowerment experience less explosive violence targeting women, taking alternate explanations and potential endogeneity into consideration. Female empowerment is not related to other types of violence, including battles, terrorism generally, or explosive violence primarily against men. The findings suggest a serious implication of female empowerment and lay the groundwork for continued research on these important topics.

12 March

Individual parliamentarians play an important role in parliamentary diplomacy (Stavridis 2017, p.383-386; Redei 2019). Involved parliamentarians may know more about the negotiating space; highlight institutional and political blindspots for scrutiny; and ‘can raise public awareness about alternative policies and coalitions’ (Lipps, 2021, 505) for legislation. Parliamentarians benefit from increased information, socialisation and cooperation. Yet, parliamentary diplomacy is a rich concept and therefore how parliamentarians interpret it and their agency within it, is important for how it is actualised. Dr Miller looks specifically at EU-UK parliamentary diplomacy. It is based on interviews and analysis of parliamentary debates and sittings of the EU-UK Parliamentary Partnership Assembly. Dr Miller's paper asks: how do EU-UK actors interpret parliamentary diplomacy; their agency within it; and the institutional structure and its powers to support this relationship? Finally, she compares differences between the UK and EU delegations in their priorities, expectations, and practices for and within this mechanism.

March 2024 seminars (continued)

Details about our scheduled seminars in March 2024. All seminars will take place at the University of Bath, unless stated.

19 March

  • Speaker: Dr Bianka Speidl, University of Exeter
  • Title: Shi'ite Environmental Ethics in a Globalising World: Man and Nature in M.H. Tabatabai's 'Ethics of Moderation'
  • Location: 1 West North 2.04
  • Time: 1.15pm - 2.05pm

The relationship between ecology and religion has become an increasingly significant topic in religious studies, in addition, environmental studies and climate change study have recently started to look at religions as a resource for addressing environmental challenges. The reflective assessment of environmental deterioration as a moral issue primarily resulting from human action, as well as specific concern with human attitude toward nature are new developments in the Islamic intellectual landscape as reflected in the Islamic Declaration on Climate Change. Similarly to other monotheistic religions, Islam considers creation as the act of God and human responsibility in its preservation as pivotal.

The presentation examines how humanity interacts with the natural world and environment in the ethical thought of Muhammad Hussayn Tabatabai (1905-1981), one of the most influential Shiite scholars of the 20th century. In his ethical theory – as elaborated in his monumental Qur’an commentary (Tafsir al-Mizan published in 20 volumes) humankind and nature share a common divine telos and manifest consciousness. In Tabatabai’s thought revelation calls for moderation in human’s use of nature in the same way as it is a demand in their social affairs. Contemporary Iranian writers on the environment and animal rights frequently cite Tabatabai. Furthermore, since justice is a theologically charged concept in Shiite Islam, environmental justice is a catchword of growing importance in the emerging environmental thought in modern Shiism.

26 March

  • Speaker: Sean Garrett, University of Bath
  • Title: The Emergence of Roles in British Foreign Policy: How the UK Interprets Russian Disinformation
  • Location: 1 West North 2.04
  • Time: 1.15pm - 2.05pm

Disinformation is closely associated with threats from Russia in British foreign policy (FP). However, the importance of disinformation has changed in the British narration of Russian threats, from a problem exclusive to Russia’s neighbours to a direct challenge for British democracy. Sean Garrett's research uses role theory and an interpretive narrative methodology to show how Russian disinformation has emerged within elements of British FP towards Russia. By focusing on two salient moments, the 2018 Salisbury Poisonings and the 2020 Russia Report, three important findings develop. First, disinformation shapes FP by altering how actors conceptualise their own and others’ FP roles. Second, disinformation is important for the UK as it centres and adapts existing British FP roles, such as that of faithful ally and defender of liberal values. Finally, the concept of role emergence captures how FP roles are shaped by narrow social contexts such as Russian disinformation.

April 2024 seminars

Details about our scheduled seminars in April 2024. All seminars will take place at the University of Bath, unless stated.

16 April

In Brexit, Facebook, and Transnational Right-Wing Populism, Dr Hall takes Brexit as a case study for examining the critical consequences of the diffusion of transnational right-wing populist politics on social media. Through multi-method, qualitative research with avidly engaged pro-Brexit Facebook users in the tumultuous post-referendum period, Hall explores the effects of this participation on the on- and offline experiences of these individuals and on their interpretation of events surrounding Brexit. The book examines the socio-political and technological opportunities for engagement with right-wing populist politics and the consequences of this engagement for transnational White victimhood and what Hall coins “Right victimhood.” In this presentation, Hall demonstrates how the “mainstream” political issue of Brexit acted as a catalyst for engagement with more extreme forms of right-wing politics via Facebook, including the dangerous far-right conspiracy theories of the "Great Replacement" and "Cultural Marxism". This has had reverberating consequences for recent right-wing populist mobilisations, including the Conservative Party's "war on woke" and a predicted comeback of infamously xenophobic Brexit campaigner Nigel Farage. Brexit, Facebook, and Transnational Right-Wing Populism will be available from Lexington Books in November 2023.

23 April

  • Speaker: Ndidi Olibamoyo, University of Bath
  • Title: Normative Agency of African States in UN Cybernorms Processes
  • Location: 1 West North 2.04
  • Time: 1.15pm - 2.05pm

Ndidi Olibamoyo investigates the normative agency exerted by African states in the development of international cybernorms through an analysis of South Africa, Kenya, and Mauritius’ engagement in UN forums. Adopting a Global IR perspective, it applies Finnemore and Sikkink’s norm life cycle model and Acharya’s norm circulation concept to assess how African actors navigate across norm emergence, diffusion, and internalization stages. The study utilizes a qualitative methodology involving videos of UN cybernorms processes, document analysis and expert interviews to elucidate evolutions in the selected countries’ positioning and insider perspectives. Although varied interests exist on the continent, collective African dynamics in grappling with shared cyber vulnerabilities are examined. The Ndidi Olibamoyo unpacks whether peripheral African states act as norm takers, promoters, or shapers at different junctures. Findings will address a significant gap in constructivist literature’s predominant focus on Western normative agency. Ndidi Olibamoyo's research ultimately aims to enrich theoretical and empirical understanding of the Global South’s evolving role in shaping international cybernorms.

Previous seminars

Find details of past events from the Department of Politics, Languages & International Studies seminar series.

6 February 2024

  • Speaker: Professor Peter John, King's College London
  • Title: Nudge+: How to Encourage Citizen Empowerment in Behavioural Public Policy

5 December 2023

  • Speaker: Professor Petra Schleiter, University of Oxford
  • Title: The UK Voter ID Reform: Effects on Voter Attitudes and Behaviour

12 December 2023

  • Speaker: Dr Fernanda Gallo, University of Cambridge
  • Title: Hegel in Italy: How Ideas Became Political Practice

14 November 2023

  • Speaker: Dr Leah Owen, Swansea University
  • Title: "Enemies Within/Enemies Without": How Do Emotional and Security-Based Fears of "Infiltration" Direct and Shape Campaigns of Mass Violence?

21 November 2023

  • Speaker: Dr Sara Polo, University of Essex
  • Title: Female Empowerment and Extreme Violence against Women

28 November 2023

  • Speaker: Dr Robert Geist-Pinfold, Durham University
  • Title: Understanding Territorial Withdrawal: Israeli Occupations and Exits

3 October 2023

  • Speaker: Ms Mimi Mihailescu, University of Bath
  • Title: Meme-ing Waves: Unpacking Political Narratives in the Romanian Context

10 October 2023

  • Speaker: Dr Gabriel Huland, University of Bath
  • Title: The Syrian Conflict in the News: Coverage of the War and the Crisis of US Journalism

17 October 2023

  • Speaker: Professor John Boswell, University of Southampton
  • Title: En/Countering the State: Understanding Citizen Agency at the Front Lines of Democratic Government

24 October 2023

  • Speaker: Dr Nye Davis, Cardiff University
  • Title: Class, Power, Democratic Socialism: The Politics and Legacy of Aneurin Bevan

Seminar enquires

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