News in the departments

Keep up to date with the latest news and events from around the school and the wide-ranging projects our staff and students get involved with.

Hezbollah and the West unite to fight IS? Don't hold your breath

Hezbollah and the West unite to fight IS? Don't hold your breath
Description
Written by Dr Asaf Siniver. The Shia militant group Hezbollah has suggested its fight against Islamic State has given it a common purpose with the West. In an interview with the BBC, Mohammed Fneish, a Lebanese Hezbollah minister, said the Sunni group is bad for Muslims and kills more of them than his party's original enemy – Israel.
Date:
Friday 14th November 2014

Blog: What legacy will the rush to build houses leave for the next generation?

Blog: What legacy will the rush to build houses leave for the next generation?
Description
Written by Ian Briggs. Many rural and semi-rural localities are struggling to cope with the increasing number of applications for potential new housing developments, a proportion of which seem to defy logic and sound planning sense when matched against local knowledge and established patterns of socialisation.
Date:
Thursday 13th November 2014

Fixing aid: we can't turn off the tap at the first sign of corruption

Fixing aid: we can't turn off the tap at the first sign of corruption
Description
Written by Dr Heather Marquette. Over the past 15 years, those working in aid have changed the way they talk about corruption. Detecting and measuring corruption when money is sent overseas has become a hot topic since the United Nations...
Date:
Tuesday 11th November 2014

Undergraduate module: Introduction to Problems of World History in the 20th Century - Professor Scott Lucas

Undergraduate module: Introduction to Problems of World History in the 20th Century - Professor Scott Lucas
Description
The aim of this course is to consider political, economic, social, cultural, and ideological issues --- both in the past and the present --- through an overview of developments in global history in the 20th Century.
Date:
Monday 10th November 2014

Undergraduate module: End of Empire: Problems of International History - Professor Scott Lucas

Undergraduate module: End of Empire: Problems of International History - Professor Scott Lucas
Description
The aim of this course is to consider the notion of the "End of Empires" and what it means about power from 1900 to the present. That power is not only the power of empires --- past and current --- but also of those who challenge those empires and pursued their own political, social, economic, and ideological objectives. The course will intersect with ideas such as nationalism, decolonization, internationalism, and globalization.
Date:
Monday 10th November 2014

Undergraduate module: International Security - Professor Stefan Wolff

Undergraduate module: International Security - Professor Stefan Wolff
Description
The aim of this course is to provide students with a comprehensive introduction to the concepts and theoretical approaches central to understanding and analysing international security issues in the contemporary world.
Date:
Monday 10th November 2014

The big winner of the congressional elections is... Hillary Clinton

The big winner of the congressional elections is... Hillary Clinton
Description
Written by Professor Scott Lucas. The new Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell, proclaimed his party would 'turn the country around' after Republicans gained seven seats in the Senate and extended its advantage in the House of Representatives. However, beyond the rhetoric, there may be a far different story and a different victor from Tuesday night's vote: Hillary Clinton, the likely Democratic nominee for the 2016 presidential election.
Date:
Monday 10th November 2014

Researchers contribute to Guardian debate on fragile states

Researchers contribute to Guardian debate on fragile states
Description
IDD's Siân Herbert and Suda Perera were among the expert panellists for a live Q&A on approaches to development in conflict-affected states on The Guardian Development Professionals Network website.
Date:
Monday 10th November 2014

In Ukraine, the start of a new Cold War that Russia can't win

In Ukraine, the start of a new Cold War that Russia can't win
Description
Written by Professor Stefan Wolff and Professor Tatyana Malyarenko (Professor of Public Administration at Donetsk State Management University). Twenty-five years after the fall of the Berlin Wall that ushered in the end of communism in eastern Europe and the break-up of the Soviet Union, all the signs point to a new Cold War between Russia and the West.
Date:
Monday 10th November 2014

Research project: Network governance and low carbon transitions in European cities (Nov 2014 - Oct 2017)

Research project: Network governance and low carbon transitions in European cities (Nov 2014 - Oct 2017)
Description
How can European cities transition to a low carbon future? What are the governance challenges in creating environmentally sustainable cities? Can ideas about 'network governance' enhance adaption to climate change by improving interaction between citizens, businesses, associations and governments?
Date:
Friday 7th November 2014

Research project: Do flexible institutions enhance democracy? A comparative analysis of public governance innovations in Brazil and the UK (Jul 2014 - Jul 2016)

Research project: Do flexible institutions enhance democracy? A comparative analysis of public governance innovations in Brazil and the UK (Jul 2014 - Jul 2016)
Description
The purpose of this exploratory research is to bring complementary expertise from the UK and Brazil to the analysis of democratic innovations - the global search for new ways in which societal, economic and cultural problems can be resolved through the direct involvement of citizens, civil society organisations, and other parties.
Date:
Friday 7th November 2014

Podcast: Corporate Social Responsibility in Developing Countries Lecture

Podcast: Corporate Social Responsibility in Developing Countries Lecture
Description
Speaker: Ms. Donna Guest, Senior Advisor on Southeast Asia at Institute for Human Rights and Business
Date:
Friday 7th November 2014

Robert Keohane delivers lecture at the University of Birmingham

Robert Keohane delivers lecture at the University of Birmingham
Description
Leading International Relations (IR) scholar, Robert Keohane (Princeton), visited Birmingham last week (29 October 2014) and delivered a lecture as part of the POLSIS Seminar Series.
Date:
Friday 7th November 2014

A View from Zaporizhzhia, SE Ukraine

A View from Zaporizhzhia, SE Ukraine
Description
Written by Duncan Leitch (CREES Doctoral Researcher).
Date:
Wednesday 5th November 2014

Was UK aid watchdog right to accuse DfID of failing to tackle corruption?

Was UK aid watchdog right to accuse DfID of failing to tackle corruption?
Description
Three academics give their thoughts on the Icai report, which said Britain is failing to address corruption in the countries it gives aid to. But what do you think? Written by Heather Marquette, Richard Mallett and Mick Moore.
Date:
Wednesday 5th November 2014

Recent PhD Success Highlights Strength of POLSIS Doctoral Research

Recent PhD Success Highlights Strength of POLSIS Doctoral Research
Description
Sixteen doctoral students gained a PhD in the past year in POLSIS.
Date:
Monday 3rd November 2014

Blog: Preaching to the choir: reflections on key leadership skills for local authority chief executives – part 3: courage

Blog: Preaching to the choir: reflections on key leadership skills for local authority chief executives – part 3: courage
Description
Written by Catherine Staite. Leadership is not a sprint – it's a marathon. You are in it for the long haul and that is why courage is so important. Maya Angelou argued that courage is the most important of all the virtues because without courage you can't practice any other virtue consistently and that is certainly evident in the role of chief executive. Not only do you need to keep yourself going through challenging times, you also need to be able to demonstrate courage to your staff and members. If you falter, so will they.
Date:
Friday 31st October 2014

Jerusalem, Israeli settlements and why a third intifada could be about to kick off

Jerusalem, Israeli settlements and why a third intifada could be about to kick off
Description
Written by Dr Asaf Siniver. Does this month's escalation in violence in Jerusalem and the West Bank mean that a third intifada – a Palestinian uprising against the Israel's occupation, following those of 1987 and 2000 – is imminent? The latest events in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict prove that the next round could kick off at any moment.
Date:
Friday 31st October 2014

Jerusalem, Israeli settlements and why a third intifada could be about to kick off

Jerusalem, Israeli settlements and why a third intifada could be about to kick off
Description
Written by Dr Asaf Siniver. Does this month's escalation in violence in Jerusalem and the West Bank mean that a third intifada – a Palestinian uprising against the Israel's occupation, following those of 1987 and 2000 – is imminent? The latest events in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict prove that the next round could kick off at any moment.
Date:
Friday 31st October 2014

Blog: Achieving better outcomes for the troubled family of local government

Blog: Achieving better outcomes for the troubled family of local government
Description
Written by Simon Parker. In this debate, Simon Parker (NLGN), Catherine Staite (INLOGOV) and Tony Bovaird (INLOGOV) agree that the current state of UK local government is unsustainable – but see different routes to rescuing a sustainable future.
Date:
Thursday 30th October 2014
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Recent blog posts

Blog: The journey to the common: what is the role of the voluntary sector?

Blog: The journey to the common: what is the role of the voluntary sector?
Description
Written by Anna Coleman and Julia Segar. A recent publication by the New Local Government Network (NLGN) looked at how local councils are preparing for the future and suggests depressingly that "there is simply no way that local government can reach 2018 let alone 2020 while still delivering the full range and quality of services currently on offer"(p6). Simply put, we have an ageing population, with associated increasing demand for care services and draconian cuts in council budgets.
Date:
12/12/2014

Blog: The LGC100: what it does and doesn't measure

Blog: The LGC100: what it does and doesn't measure
Description
Written by Chris Game. I used, years ago, to have a whole Pol Sci 1 lecture about power and influence, their similarities and differences. By one of life's synchronicities, I've been reminded of it twice in the past week. Don't go – I'm not about to disinter it, although I will share the six-word summary that I could, if really pushed, get it down to: Power's a tool, Influence a skill.
Date:
05/12/2014

Blog: The future is Intercommunality – yes, but with whom?

Blog: The future is Intercommunality – yes, but with whom?
Description
Written by Chris Game. Rom com/date movies aren't really my thing, so my excuse for watching the recent Words and Pictures was that I was a captive plane passenger – and that the ever-watchable Juliette Binoche was playing a rheumatoid arthritic abstract painter and prep school art teacher. The title refers to the silly challenge she charily accepts from alcoholic poet turned plagiarising English teacher, Clive Owen, to 'prove' whether Words or Pictures are more meaningful.
Date:
01/12/2014

Blog: Ebola - where are the governments?

Blog: Ebola - where are the governments?
Description
Written by Dr Andrew Nickson. The terrible Ebola tragedy has spawned massive coverage in the world's media of Sierra Leone and Liberia – with harrowing images of victims, relatives, health workers, doctors, and aid agency staff. Yet one key 'stakeholder' in the fight against Ebola has been notably missing from this coverage – the government of both countries. Most of us would be hard pressed to name the presidents of either country* as they have been almost invisible, and the same goes for their respective health ministers.
Date:
21/11/2014