Archive for May, 2016


Neil Davidson’s (University of Glasgow, Department of Sociology) new collection of essays Nation States, Competition and Consciousness will have a book launch at 6pm on Friday the 3rd of June, in Lower Ground Room, David Hume Tower. Jamie Allinson (Politics and IR, University of Edinburgh) is the discussant. More information at: http://www.haymarketbooks.org/pb/Nation-States

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Recent years have seen renewed interest in historically informed IR scholarship, and a turn to historical materials in the development of IR theory. The rise of constructivism, the reconvening of the English School, and the re-emergence of classical realism exemplify this trend in mainstream IR. Historical sociology, post-colonial approaches, ‘British School’ IPE, and Marxian inspired work speak to the influence of history within critical approaches to the subject. The increasing salience of conceptual history, intellectual history, critical historiography, the history of ideas, and the philosophy of history further fuel these dynamics. To some extent, we are all historians now.

Despite this (re)turn to history, there is little reflection within IR about what type of history is used – and sometimes abused – by theorists. Indeed, relatively little work in IR is explicitly historical. This means that IR scholarship often fails to take seriously issues of context and temporality. At the same time, a reliance on secondary sources means that IR scholarship often regurgitates historical canards, while few researchers attend to issues of source interpretation and historical method. If we are all historians now, it does not follow that we are very good historians.

The section explores the concepts, theories, and images of change that underlie historical accounts of change in IR. It seeks to critically engage questions of how to theorize change: Is there a way to fuse IR accounts of change with those found in global and transnational history? Are accounts of change better read as evolutionary, nonlinear or teleological? Do different historical periods require distinct accounts of change? Can new accounts of change in IR help the discipline to become more ‘global’? How useful is it to see change as bound up with ‘future’-related IR theory?

The deadline for submissions is 1 July 2016. To submit a proposal, please visit the conference website at http://www.wisc2017.org



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On 19 May, the Constitution Unit hosted its third Brexit seminar. Our panellists Professor Sionaidh Douglas-Scott, Queen Mary University of London, Professor Jim Gallagher of Nuffield College, Oxford, Professor Cathy Gormley-Heenan, University of Ulster, and Dr Rachel Minto, Cardiff University discussed the impact that Brexit would have on Devolution and the Union. This briefing paper, written by Robert Hazell and Alan Renwick, explores this topic in further depth. It opens by explaining that public opinion is much more pro-EU in Scotland and Northern Ireland than in England and Wales; this creates the possibility of a divided, and divisive, referendum result if the different nations in the UK vote in different ways. The paper then discusses the process of withdrawal, how the devolved nations would be represented during the Brexit negotiations, and whether a vote for Brexit would trigger a second independence referendum in Scotland. It concludes by considering the long term policy consequences of Brexit, in terms of the scope for greater policy differentiation between the different nations of the UK, and the scope for the devolved nations to develop different relationships with the EU.

Read the briefing paper here.


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SOURCE: What Scotland Thinks

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Migration and citizenship: evidence from two referendums.

2 September. University of the West of Scotland, Paisley Campus.

The event will bring together research examining the observable and expected consequences of the Scottish independence and EU referendums on diverse forms of citizenship (national, sub-national and transnational) and mobility.

A call for papers is live, the deadline for which is 1 July.



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BBC Radio 4: Should Borders Matter?

BBC Radio 4 – The Global Philosopher

Michael Sandel

‘Michael Sandel explores the philosophical justifications made for national borders. Using a pioneering state-of-the-art studio at the Harvard Business School, Professor Sandel is joined by 60 participants from over 30 countries in a truly global digital space.

Is there any moral distinction between a political refugee and an economic migrant? If people have the right to exit a country, why not a right to enter? Do nations have the right to protect the affluence of their citizens? And is there such a thing as a ‘national identity’?

These are just some of the questions addressed by Professor Sandel in this first edition of The Global Philosopher.’

[ By http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b075f7qp#play ]

Available here: http://bbc.in/1Zn6bvt

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Students are invited to join Professor Michael Ignatieff for an informal roundtable discussion following his Edinburgh Fulbright Lecture, ‘The Crisis of Universal Values and the Return of the Sovereign’. Moderation will be led by SSPS Doctoral students Daniel Cetrà and Marie-Eve Hamel. The event is hosted by Dr. Liliana Riga.

June 7th, 10:00-12:00, IASH Seminar Room

If you are interested in participating in this event, please register at http://www.eventbrite.com/e/fulbright-roundtable-with-professor-michael-ignatieff-tickets-25373451677


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naignatieff27The fifth Fulbright Annual Lecture at the University of Edinburgh will be delivered by Prof Michael Ignatieff, Edward R. Murrow Professor, Harvard Kennedy School. Professor Ignatieff will take up the role of President and Rector of the Central European University, Budapest, later in 2016.

The lecture title is “The Crisis of Universal Values and the Return of the Sovereign”.

Event Details: Monday 6th June 2016, 17:00 – 18:30, Lecture Theatre G03, 50 George Square, Edinburgh EH8 9JY.

The European refugee crisis challenges the hopeful narrative Europeans have tried to believe since the end of the Cold War: that the nations of Europe are drawing ever closer together; that the developed world can partner with the developing world to build shared prosperity; that human rights and international law will steadily improve the protection of the stateless and the desperate. As razor wire goes up along Europe’s southern frontier, a darker narrative is emerging: that the sovereign must protect citizens against strangers; that the nation, not the continent is the true home of citizens; and that citizens in the developed world must protect its economies from migrants, refugees and strangers. These three lectures analyze the emergence of this new narrative for our times and searches for an alternative and more hopeful path.

FREE registration here.

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A_Life_Beyond_Boundaries_cover_1050-2b13e17141f26373888b3c46493677d6A Life Beyond Boundaries: A Memoir

An intellectual memoir by the author of the acclaimed Imagined Communities
Born in China, Benedict Anderson spent his childhood in California and Ireland, was educated in England and finally found a home at Cornell University, where he immersed himself in the growing field of Southeast Asian studies. He was expelled from Suharto’s Indonesia after revealing the military to be behind the attempted coup of 1965, an event which prompted reprisals that killed up to a million communists and their supporters. Banned from the country for thirty-five years, he continued his research in Thailand and the Philippines, producing a very fine study of the Filipino novelist and patriot José Rizal in The Age of Globalization.

In A Life Beyond Boundaries, Anderson recounts a life spent open to the world. Here he reveals the joys of learning languages, the importance of fieldwork, the pleasures of translation, the influence of the New Left on global thinking, the satisfactions of teaching, and a love of world literature. He discusses the ideas and inspirations behind his best-known work, Imagined Communities (1983), whose complexities changed the study of nationalism.

Benedict Anderson died in Java in December 2015, soon after he had finished correcting the proofs of this book. The tributes that poured in from Asia alone suggest that his work will continue to inspire and stimulate minds young and old.

More details here.

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