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.

Podcast: International Relations: All That Matters

Podcast: International Relations: All That Matters
Description
The talk introduced Professor Ken Booth's latest book, which seeks to provide an accessible but sophisticated understanding of international relations for those with no specialised knowledge of the field (which is almost everybody in the world).
Date:
Friday 30th January 2015

Lebanon is cracking under the pressure from Syria and Iraq

Lebanon is cracking under the pressure from Syria and Iraq
Description
Written by Dr Christalla Yakinthou. Lebanon has always been a complicated jigsaw, but despite years of war, regional conflict, and meddling in its affairs, it has displayed a tremendous ability to absorb tension. But the threads that hold this fragile country together are rapidly starting to fray.
Date:
Wednesday 28th January 2015

Putin's plan to fight recession in Russia also increases Kremlin's control of the economy

Putin's plan to fight recession in Russia also increases Kremlin's control of the economy
Description
Written by Dr Richard Connolly. The Russian rouble started 2015 in much the same way it finished 2014: badly. After losing nearly 50% of its dollar value between July and the end of the year, the rouble lost a further 7% in January. The primary cause of this continued decline is the falling price of oil: Brent crude has dropped from US$53 dollars per barrel at year end to just under US$48 per barrel, a decline of nearly 10% for the year so far.
Date:
Monday 26th January 2015

Ukraine sliding towards all-out war despite mediation efforts

Ukraine sliding towards all-out war despite mediation efforts
Description
Written by Professor Stefan Wolff. Over the past few days, Ukraine has taken a significant turn for the worse. Fighting between rebels and government forces has intensified, the civilian death toll has increased, and the war of words between Ukraine and Russia has further escalated.
Date:
Monday 26th January 2015

Why the fight against Islamic State is not the success we're told it is

Why the fight against Islamic State is not the success we're told it is
Description
Written by Professor Scott Lucas. Ministers from 21 countries gathered in London on January 22 to discuss the fight against Islamic State (IS). They had their photo opportunity and issued their statements. US secretary of state, John Kerry, told them that almost 6,000 jihadists had been killed, and almost 700 square kilometres of Iraqi territory retaken.
Date:
Monday 26th January 2015

Oil crisis: can short-term pain lead to economic gain for Russia?

Oil crisis: can short-term pain lead to economic gain for Russia?
Description
Written by Dr Richard Connolly. The recent crash in oil prices is causing much anxiety in oil-producing states. From Iran to Venezuela, many have come to rely on elevated oil prices to fuel economic growth and support government spending.
Date:
Friday 23rd January 2015

Blog: Shuffling the decks: quick fixes versus long-term stability

Blog: Shuffling the decks: quick fixes versus long-term stability
Description
Development Progress Blog. Ahead of the launch of our case studies on security progress in Liberia and Timor-Leste, Suda Perera writes on the risk that 'quick fixes' to violent conflict pose to development in the long-term. Taking the example of the Democratic Republic of Congo, she outlines the pitfalls of empowering warring parties and the challenging reality that good elections do not necessarily result in good democracy.
Date:
Friday 23rd January 2015

IDD Guest seminar podcast: Local governance in the Commonwealth: Existing practices and emerging trends

IDD Guest seminar podcast: Local governance in the Commonwealth: Existing practices and emerging trends
Description
Speaker: Munawwar Alam, Commonwealth Local Government Forum
Date:
Friday 23rd January 2015

Podcast: Ethnic minority political representation in Britain: the end of the Race Relations Paradigm?

Podcast: Ethnic minority political representation in Britain: the end of the Race Relations Paradigm?
Description
The Department of Political Science and International Studies (POLSIS) Departmental Seminar. Speaker: Maria Sobolewska (Manchester), Respondant: Dr Chris Allen (University of Birmingham.
Date:
Thursday 22nd January 2015

Blog: Do Local Authorities Really Want Sustainable Construction Powers?

Blog: Do Local Authorities Really Want Sustainable Construction Powers?
Description
Written by Max Lempriere, Third year PhD student in POLSIS. National planning policy and building regulations have undergone considerable reform in recent years. The latest incarnation is embodied in the Housing Standards Review, (HSR) published in 2014. The HSR sought to consolidate the plethora of standards into national building regulations whilst making it harder to local authorities (LAs) to introduce standards that supplement these national regulations in response to local needs or priorities. One area where local powers have been significantly curtailed by the HSR is in the sustainability and energy efficiency of homes.
Date:
Wednesday 21st January 2015

Blog: The fairness (or otherwise) of the 2015-16 local government finance settlement

Blog: The fairness (or otherwise) of the 2015-16 local government finance settlement
Description
Written by Chris Game. In choosing to announce the 2015-16 local government finance settlement just eight days before Christmas, ministers presumably hoped – as, indeed, I'd expected – that the argument about the presentation of funding and spending cut statistics for local authorities, both collectively and individually, would have died away by mid-January. However, it hasn't, which is why I too am returning to the topic, which had its importance re-emphasised several times over the past week.
Date:
Wednesday 21st January 2015

Podcast: Trust, technology and salvation: An investigation of President Reagan's nuclear speech

Podcast: Trust, technology and salvation: An investigation of President Reagan's nuclear speech
Description
Laura Considine is a Lecturer in International Relations at the University of Leeds. She received her PhD in International Politics from Aberystwyth University in 2014 and was a John W. Kluge Fellow at the Library of Congress in Washington DC in 2011.
Date:
Wednesday 21st January 2015

The arrival (and departure) of the parliamentary single-termers

The arrival (and departure) of the parliamentary single-termers
Description
Written by Chris Game. Chris reflects on those MPs leaving the Commons, adding to the standard categories of Seniority, Sin, or Stash.
Date:
Tuesday 20th January 2015

Obama's National Security Strategy: Predicting US Policy in the Context of Changing Worldviews

Obama's National Security Strategy: Predicting US Policy in the Context of Changing Worldviews
Description
While the National Security Strategy (NSS) is a good predictor of an administration's policy, its declared strategic priorities are necessarily tempered by external reality, writes Dr Adam Quinn in a recent paper published by Chatam House.
Date:
Tuesday 20th January 2015

Blog: Playwright, Prisoner and President: the Life of Vaclav Havel

Blog: Playwright, Prisoner and President: the Life of Vaclav Havel
Description
Written by Dr Tim Haughton, A review of Michael Zantovsky, Havel: a Life, London: Atlantic Books (2014). You only really appreciate someone when they have left. The death of Vaclav Havel in December 2011 provoked a week of mourning, warm and generous words from his political foes, and for many 'perhaps a rediscovery' of the man who had played so many different roles in his life: playwright, political prisoner and president (p. 14).
Date:
Tuesday 20th January 2015

Is Chechnya facing wave of jihadist violence?

Is Chechnya facing wave of jihadist violence?
Description
On 19 December 2014 BBC Europe News published an article by Dr Galina Yemelianova on recent Chechen bombing.
Date:
Tuesday 20th January 2015

At last, a show of force tips odds against Boko Haram

At last, a show of force tips odds against Boko Haram
Description
Written by Professor Paul Jackson. Suspected Boko Haram militants have attacked Northern Cameroon in another escalation of their now regional war against Nigeria, Cameron, Chad and Niger. In a cross-border attack, the militants kidnapped around 80 people.
Date:
Tuesday 20th January 2015

Research video: Dr Tim Haughton

Research video: Dr Tim Haughton
Description
Dr Tim Haughton is a political scientist with a particular interest in electoral and party politics, the relationship between politics and government, the interaction between domestic and European sources of change, the relationship between Britain and the EU, the role of the past in the politics of the present and the domestic politics of Slovakia, Slovenia and the Czech Republic.
Date:
Monday 19th January 2015

IDD Guest seminar podcast: The world of our unmaking: Rethinking peacebuilding intentions, events and consequences

IDD Guest seminar podcast: The world of our unmaking: Rethinking peacebuilding intentions, events and consequences
Description
Speaker: Dr. Gëzim Visoka, Dublin City University
Date:
Monday 19th January 2015

Former Student Becomes Albanian Deputy Foreign Minister

Former Student Becomes Albanian Deputy Foreign Minister
Description
Former PhD Student Odeta Barbullushi has been appointed Albania's new Deputy Foreign Minister.
Date:
Monday 19th January 2015
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Recent blog posts

Blog: The cyber threat to the United Kingdom

Blog: The cyber threat to the United Kingdom
Description
Written by Gavin Hall, Doctoral Researcher in POLSIS. When the new government takes office in May 2015 one of the first tasks will be to initiate a Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR).
Date:
30/03/2015

Blog: Queen Cersei and the evaporating Revenue Support Grant

Blog: Queen Cersei and the evaporating Revenue Support Grant
Description
Written by Chris Game, Visiting Lecturer at INLOGOV. Next week is the last week of Hilary Term, or revision week at the end of Spring Term, as it's known here at the UoB and most other universities who feel no great affinity to the probably inappropriately named 4th Century St Hilarius of Poitiers. Over the many years in which I lectured undergraduates, I used rather to like it: end of the course/module in sight, legitimate chance to share and spread gossip about approaching local elections, lecture attendances boosted by students desperate for exam hints. Plus, nowadays, plenty of discussion-prompting visual aids – one of which is the pretext for this blog.
Date:
20/03/2015

Blog: In Crimea, Time for Pressure

Blog: In Crimea, Time for Pressure
Description
By Liana Fix - Associate Fellow at the German Council on Foreign Relations and Visiting PhD Researcher at the University of Birmingham. Forgetting about Crimea and the fate of the Crimean Tatars means implicitly acknowledging Russia's claim to the region. Instead, the international community must demonstrate to Russia that its arbitrary interpretation of international law regarding Crimea has long-term consequences. We are not yet in a post-Crimea phase.
Date:
19/03/2015

Blog: Grubby-handed local politicians? It's called local democracy and devolution, Sarah!

Blog: Grubby-handed local politicians? It's called local democracy and devolution, Sarah!
Description
Written by Chris Game, Honorary Senior Lecturer, INLOGOV. The BBC's Radio 4 Today programme isn't what Americans would call a Hot Talk show, and nicely spoken presenter Sarah Montague, even in her own fantasies, is no shock jock. So listeners must have been slightly surprised to hear her, while questioning the proposed devolution of NHS funding to Greater Manchester's combined authority, talk of "local politicians sticking their grubby hands into the decision-making process".
Date:
13/03/2015