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PoLIS PGR Showcase 2021

In this online seminar series, PoLIS PhD students will share their ongoing research with staff and students from the Department.

Panel Discussions

PhD students from the Department of Politics, Languages and International Studies (PoLIS) will present their research in an online series in March.

Each student on a panel of 3-4 will have 15 minutes to present their work, followed by Q&A and discussion. The aim is to share doctoral research with staff and other students in the department, opening up discussions around their work.

The Showcase will be split into 2 separate events:

Panel 1: Discourse and Memory

  • Date: Wednesday 3rd March 2021
  • Time: 15.30-17.00

Panel 2: Politics & International Relations

  • Date: Wednesday 10th March 2021
  • Time: 15.30-17.00

Panel 1: Discourse and Memory

This session will take place on Wednesday 3rd March 2021, from 15.30-17.00 via Zoom.

The following papers will be presented during this session:

Paper 1: ‘I love this country and the things it stands for’. Britain, Britishness and exceptionalism within the rhetoric of David Cameron.

Abstract: David Cameron largely delivered on his call to ‘stop banging on about Europe’. Instead of the European other, Cameron’s rhetoric focused on the British self. This presentation reports on my analysis of Cameron’s rhetoric on Britain, Britishness and its place in the world. The analysis finds that generosity, openness and integrity are indicative of British values. It argues that Cameron sought to build a patriotic ethos to bolster the legitimacy of his domestic policy choices and to play the European diplomatic warrior. It finds that Cameron’s Britishness is built on the myth of exceptionalism – ultimately incompatible with EU membership itself.

Paper 2: Two sides of the same (£) coin? The role of the official EU Referendum campaigns in mainstreaming the far right

Abstract: This presentation explores the mainstreaming of the far right through the case study of the British referendum on EU membership (Brexit). In it, I will compare the discourses of the official campaigns (Vote Leave and Britain Stronger in Europe) with that of the UK Independence Party (UKIP) and associated campaigns. A number of parallels in both content and style emerge, underscoring the critical role of mainstream actors in the normalisation of far-right discourse and ideas.

Paper 3: #neverforget: Remembering 9/11 through Facebook

Abstract: My PhD project examines the digital memorialisation of 9/11, analysing content created both by the 9/11 Memorial & Museum and members of the public.  In this talk I will focus on the 9/11 Memorial & Museum’s Facebook page, discussing how this form of memorialisation differs from the role played by a traditional physical memorial, and what this online space is able to add to memorial narratives of the 9/11 attacks.

Please contact Katy Brown or Mike Bolt if you would like to attend and have not received the Zoom link.

Panel 2: International Relations

This session will take place on Wednesday 10th March 2021, from 15.30-17.00 via Zoom.

The following papers will be presented at this session:

Paper 1: How have British Foreign Policy Decision Makers Perceived Russian Digital Disinformation Campaigns and Cast Russia’s International Role?

  • Speaker: Sean Garrett

Abstract: Russia has been a consistent source of Digital Disinformation campaigns targeting its adversaries and the West, including the UK. This tool of Russian Foreign Security Policy is part of its Active Measures, with its own established objectives. British Foreign Policy Decision Makers have their Perceptions of Russia altered as a result of Digital Disinformation as a Foreign Policy tool. This causes Britain’s Foreign Policy to cast Russia into an International Role that differs from Russian objectives.

Paper 2: Personality and the 'Special Relationship'

  • Speaker: Jenna James

Abstract: How do individual’s personalities impact state decision-making with regard to bi-lateral state relations? A look at how US President’s and UK Prime Minister’s personalities and perspectives have impacted the ‘special relationship’ between the United States and the United Kingdom between 1945 and 2007 using a mixed methods approach. Where personal relations can cross party lines and friendships can lead to lasting economic bonds and military alliances. An historic approach allows for the observation of change over time, between leadership changes and context changes.

Paper 3: Beyond the Responsibility Gaps in the Use of Autonomous Weapons: A New Ethical Framework within a Democratic Political Context

Abstract: From counterterrorism in the Horn of Africa and the mountains of Afghanistan, to the recent state-conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh in Caucasus, autonomous weapons embody the breakthrough innovation that informs advanced warfare in the 21st century. Artificial intelligence imparts mutations onto violent conflict and progressively renders it from traditionally anthropocentric to machine-centric. Leveraging the method of constructivist grounded theory, which falls squarely within the interpretive approach to qualitative research, I focus on the nagging question of responsibility gaps that attach to the use of autonomous weapons. The aim is to advance beyond the two competing schools of thought – Ethicists vs Technologists – and to produce a coherent theoretical framework underpinning the use of autonomous weapons without shrinking ethics into a software programming task.

Please contact Katy Brown or Mike Bolt if you would like to attend and have not received the Zoom link.

Contact us

If you would like to attend the events and receive Zoom links, or have any questions regarding the PoLIS PGR Showcase 2021, do not hesitate to contact us.