Politics and International Studies

News and events

New appointments for Dr Phil Parvin

Phil Parvin 200x200

Dr Phil Parvin has been appointed as a Senior Research Associate at Balliol College, Oxford, and a Visiting Fellow of the Centre for the Study of Social Justice, University of Oxford. He will hold these positions for three months, from January to March 2018, and will use them to begin work on his new book on political engagement and democracy.

Dorina Baltag - Thesis Work Published

Postgraduate Research, Dorina Baltag this week submitted her PhD thesis and published some of the work contained in it into the Hague Journal of Diplomacy, Special issue, vol.13 (1), 75-96. Her section within this journal focused upon: 'EU External Representation Post-Lisbon: The Performance of EU Diplomacy in Belarus, Moldova and Ukraine'. 

Professor Susan Reid Keynote Lecture

Professor of Cultural History, Susan Reid presented a keynote lecture at the Moderna Museet, Stockholm, on 25 January 2018. < http://bit.ly/2CMHt2s >. This was delivered as part of the conference Narrating Home in Visual Arts Through an East West Divide, funded by the Centre for Baltic and Eastern European Studies, Södertörn University in collaboration with Moderna Museet, Stockholm.

In addition to this Susan has also recently released two new publications: 

Сьюзан Э. Рейд (Susan E. Reid). «Как обживались в позднесоветской модерности» (“Making Oneself at Home in Late Soviet Modernity”). In Anatoly Pinsky, ed., Posle Stalina (After Stalin: Subjectivity in the Late Soviet Union (1953-1985), 352-97. St Petersburg: St Petersburg University Press, 2018.

Сьюзан Э. Рейд (Susan E. Reid). «Кто кого? Реакция советского народа на Американскую национальную выставку в Москве в 1959 г» ("Who Will Beat Whom? Soviet Popular Reception of the American National Exhibition in Moscow, 1959”). In Beate Fieseler, Rosa Magnusdottir, Michael Wala, eds, SSSR i SSHA v XX veke: vospriiatie "drugogo” (Soviet-American Perceptions), 70-104. Moscow: ROSSPEN, 2017. (Publication funded by German Historical Institute.)

Dr Christos Kourtelis - FEMISE LU Liaison

Dr Christos Kourtelis, lecturer in European and International Politics, has recently taken on the role of LU liaison for FEMISE. This is the largest network of research centres focusing on Euro-Mediterranean relations. More information about FEMISE and its research can be found at the below web address: 

Austrian Press Agency Interview - Dr Robert Knight

Senior Lecturer in International History, Dr Robert Knight was recently interviewed by the Austrian Press Agency (APA) about British Policy towards the Anschluss of March 1938, which is currently being marked in Austria. 
An article reporting on this interview can be found (in German) through the below link


International Children's Day workshop: The well being of children and youth

Holywell Park Conference Centre - Kelvin Meeting Room












Picture this! Using drawings to explore pupils’ conceptions of ‘health’

Oliver Hooper, Jo Harris  &  Lorraine Cale






Children First justice: An agenda for change

Stephen Case



Protecting children’s rights in a global production network: insights and lessons from the professional football industry

Paul Darby, Eleanor Drywood, James Esson, Carolynne Mason & Serhat Yilmaz.



Telling the Whole Story? Using narratives to explore care experienced youths’ experiences of sport and physical activity

Rachel Sandford, Thomas Quarmby, Rebecca Duncombe, Oliver Hooper & Chloé Woodhouse



Networking Lunch



Neoliberalising education: geographies of private tuition, class privilege and BME advancement

Phil Kirby & Sarah Holloway



Disability, Special Educational Needs, Social Class and Segregation in Schooling

Louise Holt, Sophie Bowlby  & Jennifer Lea



Mud, wet & tears: Outdoor residentials as opportunities for embodied agency

Jo Hickman Dunne



Youth transitions, CSE and street sex work

Rachel Searcey






Discussion - moving forward with research collaboration 


Anarchist Studies Network 5th International Conference

Loughborough University

The fight against domination and destruction continues under heavy clouds. A global wave of resistance has once again been met with reaction, as elites turn to barefaced nationalism, racism and misogyny. For the world's majority, such oppression is neither surprising nor new, given the enduring legacy of colonialism and by-now-established forms of neo-colonial exploitation. Meanwhile, hegemonic discourses show a frustrating capacity to co-opt and neutralise: converting anti-capitalism into welfare-populism, ecological resistance into green consumption, and militant intersectionality into liberal identity politics. Anarchist literature and organising are not automatically immune to these problems; posing ideas and practices that are radically free from domination requires critical reflection on assumptions and truths, including one’s own. Despite challenges, anarchists have sustained and grown multiple sites of resistance as well as constructive projects, while boldly spearheading the confrontation with the far right. Confident that the tide will turn again, the flame remains kindled.

In these uncertain times, the elaboration of anarchist analysis bridging theory and practice, scholarly rigour and the insights of social movements, is as necessary as ever. The 5th International Conference of the Anarchist Studies Network will be held at Loughborough University between 12-14 of September 2018.

Online registration is open here.

ASN conferences aim to breach new frontiers in anarchist scholarship, and encourage cross-pollination between disciplines. The central theme for this conference is DECOLONISATION, which we hope will inspire many of the presentations and panels. The purpose is twofold: to stimulate discussion of colonialism and racism as forms of oppression that anarchists oppose, but which continue to be felt in anarchist organising; and to welcome individuals, groups and communities who have not previously participated in ASN events. By recognising the legacy of non-western and anti-colonial thought and action in the anarchist tradition, we want to strengthen the ties between contemporary anarchists and decolonial theory and practice in the struggle against oppression, and to use the recognition of racist and Eurocentric practices and mind-frames to open up the event to marginalised groups.

Loughborough University facilities are fully wheelchair accessible and induction loops are available. Please do get in touch with any specific questions, needs or comments and we will do our best to meet them: asn.conference.5@mail.com


Success in the Times & Sunday Times Good University Guide 2019

The most recent Times & Sunday Times Good University Guide 2019, released on Sunday 23rd September 2018, has been a cause for celebration for the Politics and International Studies subject area.

Politics at Loughborough is now ranked 12th overall but is an excellent 3rd place for ‘Graduate Prospects’.

History climbed an impressive 14 places to be ranked at 11th overall in the UK. Even more impressive was the fact that History as a subject group was ranked 2nd for ‘Student Experience’ and was in the top 5 for ‘Graduate Prospects’.

Head of Politics and International Studies, Professor Caroline Kennedy-Pipe, comments “These results demonstrate the hard work of our students and staff at Loughborough to provide not just a great student experience but preparation for the world of employment after graduation”.

Dr. Cristina Flesher Fominaya invited to Harvard University

Dr. Cristina Flesher Fominaya (POLIS, School of Social Sciences) has been invited to Harvard to deliver a workshop at their Learning Innovations Lab (LILA) in October. 

LILA is a 17-year old research project at the Harvard Graduate School of Education that convenes non-competing chief learning officers and chief innovation officers from 25 global organizations (e.g. NASA, Cigna) to push one another's thinking and practices as they consider the future of human development and creativity in the workplace.

Each academic year the LILA community explores a topic related to challenges of human and organizational development and invites academic researchers to contribute to their workshops. This year they invited Dr. Flesher Fominaya to share insights on harnessing collective mindfulness in organizations, drawn from her world-leading research on collective identity and social action in autonomous/horizontal social movements. She will be visiting Harvard to share her expertise in October (14-17).  

Cristina Flesher Fominaya joined POLIS from the University of Aberdeen as an E100 Reader in 2018. She holds an MA and PhD in Sociology from the University of California, Berkeley. Her research focuses on European and global social movement and politics. Her published work includes  Social Movements and Globalization: How Protests, Occupations and Uprisings are changing the world (2014), Resisting Austerity (2018 with Graeme Hayes) and Understanding European Social Movements (2013 with Laurence Cox). She is currently completing a manuscript on the 15-M Indignados Movement.

Equality Action's Public Lecture

18:30 - 19:30 J.1.04 (EHB)

Gender Equality: 100 Years on from the Representation of the People Act, where are we today? Speech and Q and A with Baroness Shami Chakrabarti, Shadow Attorney General, with introductory comments from Stuart Brady, Labour Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Loughborough.

Shami Chakrabarti is the Shadow Attorney General and a member of the House of Lords.

A lawyer, she is Honorary Professor of Law at the University of Manchester, Honorary Fellow of Mansfield College, Oxford and a Master of the Bench of Middle Temple. She was previously Chancellor of both Oxford Brookes University and then the University of Essex.  Shami also received an honorary doctorate from Loughborough University in 2005.

Baroness Chakrabarti was Director of Liberty, the National Council for Civil Liberties from 2003 to 2016, and a member of the panel of the Leveson Inquiry, the judicial inquiry into UK phone hacking in 2011.

Called to the Bar in 1994 she worked as a lawyer in the Home Office from 1996 until 2001 for Governments of both persuasions.

Shami’s first book, On Liberty, is published by Penguin. Her second, Of Women, was published on 26 October 2017.

Cristina Flesher Fominaya appointed Editor-in-Chief of Social Movement Studies Journal

Dr. Cristina Flesher Fominaya, world leading scholar in Social Movement Studies and European politics and media, has been appointed as Editor-in-Chief of a leading international journal, Social Movement Studies.

Social Movement Studies is an international and inter-disciplinary journal providing a forum for academic debate and analysis of extra-parliamentary political, cultural and social movements throughout the world. The journal has a broad, inter-disciplinary approach that engages with any theoretical school and which explores the origins, development, organisation, values, context and impact of historical and contemporary movements active in all parts of the world. It publishes six issues a year and its 2017 Impact Factor was 1.581 (2018 release of the Journal Citation Reports®) making it the top ranked journal in the field of social movement studies.

Dr Flesher Fominaya brings a wealth of experience to the role. She has been an editor on the journal since 2013, but will now step into the Editor-in-Chief role, joining fellow co-Editor-in-Chief Kevin Gillan of the University of Manchester, and working with a team of coordinating editors, all of whom are internationally renowned scholars in the field. Dr. Flesher Fominaya is also a founding editor of the global open access social movements journal Interface Journaland has served as an editor of the Berkeley Journal of Sociology in addition to serving as associate editor for several book series and journals.

Dr Flesher Fominaya is a Reader in Social Politics and Media in POLIS and a member of the Centre for Research in Communication and Culture. Dr Flesher Fominaya joined the University in April 2018 as an Excellence100 appointment, a campaign launched in 2017 to recruit up to 100 outstanding academics across a wide range of disciplines.

She is an internationally recognized expert in social movements and politics who has been researching and participating in European social movements since the early 1990s, exploring the dynamics of resistance, participation and collective identity formation in autonomous movements. She publishes widely on European and global social movements, hybrid parties, digital politics and media, collective identity, democracy, autonomy, and political participation, including three books: Social Movements and Globalization: How Protests, Occupations and Uprisings are changing the world (2014), Resisting Austerity (2018 with Graeme Hayes) and Understanding European Social Movements (2013 with Laurence Cox).  She has another book forthcoming Technology, Media and Movements (2018 with Kevin Gillan) and is currently finalizing a revised and updated edition of Social Movements and Globalization (Palgrave 2019) and Routledge Handbook on Contemporary European Social Movements (with Ramón Feenstra). Dr Flesher Fominaya also publishes in outlets such as Open Democracy and the Conversation, and her articles are often among the most read in various publication outlets.

Dr. Flesher Fominaya has delivered over 40 keynotes and expert speaker engagements around the world including engagements with world leaders, politicians, journalists, film makers, activists and other stakeholders. She is currently working with a team of editors on the journal to convene the first ever Social Movement Studies Journal Conference, which will be held on the Loughborough University London Campus in June 2019. Her research has been funded by such fellowships and institutions as the Marie Sklodowska-Curie IEF, The National Science Foundation, The German Marshall Fund, and the British Academy. She has served as an external expert evaluator for 10 international funding agencies, including the ERC and the ESRC.

New book edited by Alex Christoyannopoulos and Matt Adams: Essays in Anarchism and Religion: Volume II

The uneasy relationship between anarchism and religion – a powerful critique of contemporary global society

Anarchism and religion have historically had an uneasy relationship. Indeed, representatives of both sides have regularly insisted on the fundamental incompatibility of anarchist and religious ideas and practices. Yet, ever since the emergence of anarchism as an intellectual and political movement, a considerable number of religious anarchists have insisted that their religious tradition necessarily implies an anarchist political stance.

Reflecting both a rise of interest in anarchist ideas and activism on the one hand, and the revival of religious ideas and movements in the political sphere on the other, this multi-volume collection examines congruities and contestations between the two from a diverse range of academic perspectives.

The second volume of Essays in Anarchism & Religion includes essays covering themes such as Yiddish radicalism, Byzantine theology, First Peter, William Blake, the role of violence in anarchism and in Christian anarchism, Spanish anarchist-themed film, and the Occult features of anarchism.

In a world where political ideas increasingly matter once more, and religion is an increasingly visible aspect of global political life, these essays offer scholarly analysis of overlooked activists, ideas and movements, and as such reveal the possibility of a powerful critique of contemporary global society.

Inaugural Lecture: Professor Caroline Kennedy-Pipe

16:30-18:00 J.0.01, Edward Herbert Building

In this lecture the shape of contemporary war is examined. 

The use of strategic bombing in World War 2 to crush enemy cities was argued to be a turning point in the history of war. Civilians not soldiers became the target of state violence. The destruction of a Dresden, a Hiroshima, a Coventry signalled a new form of barbarism. 

These acts of violence cast long shadows on the period of the Cold War and into our own troubled times. 

The lecture explains how and why liberal states practise and justify their part in contemporary wars – wars which are ones of choice and not a necessity.
To book your place, please click here.

Dr Catherine Armstrong's advice on how to reduce loneliness within older people at Christmas

This December, more than one million elderly people will experience loneliness and isolation according to figures by Age UK. As part of our Christmas campaign aimed at raising awareness of seasonal loneliness, Loughborough academic Dr Catherine Armstrong has suggested one solution from the tiny island of Hawaii that could make a big difference to someone.

The population of the UK is ageing, writes Dr ArmstrongWith a more mobile workforce, the number of elderly with little contact with close family is increasing. We can refer to this as the 'modern giant' of chronic loneliness – as malign in its effects as the five giants confronted by William Beveridge in his report published in 1942. Loneliness among people of all ages is strongly connected to depression, and this is even more marked among the older population. According to a 2004 study, depressive symptoms were present in 20% of older adults studied. Charities working with lonely older people and friends and neighbours concerned about individuals they know need ideas to try to alleviate this problem.

One solution

It's good to talk. The voices and memories of older people should be valued and shared with the rest of society. Talking across the generations allow older people to share experiences and wisdom, and to discover similarities and differences across the generations are especially rewarding. Talking about their memories enhances the wellbeing of the older and younger people and the older population are seen in asset-based not problem-based terms: their wisdom and shared experience offer genuine insight to the young people and the wider community. Making an older person feel valued and part of the community is central to this approach.


It is based on the concept of 'kupuna' (cue-poona) taken from the indigenous Hawaiian culture. On the surface level, the English translation of kupuna is grandparent, but the real meaning is so much broader than that. A kupuna is everyone's grandparent, an honoured ancestor who carries with them a great deal of cultural knowledge. Without them, much of the Hawaiian indigenous identity would be lost. In the UK, we have much to learn from this approach. Perhaps we have moved to fast towards a world that values the new and the young. Listening to the voices of the older generation allows us to understand where we have come from and gives a new perspective on the contemporary world. A key role of the kupuna within the family kinship group is to share their knowledge with younger people by 'talking story'. It has been shown that this oral transmission was a significant way of preserving an understanding of the lost ancient past of native Hawaii. And, also of securing kinship sympathy within a traumatised culture which had faced disease, falling birth rate and colonisation within a few generations. But the kupuna model is not perfect - some younger native Hawaiians in the 21st century criticise the reticence of their kupuna who learned to suppress their 'talk stories' as white American culture dominated. The younger generation wants these 'talk stories' to reflect political resistance.

What can I do?

Getting older people to 'talk story', to open up about their life experiences can be challenging. They can feel that their stories are not significant or worth sharing because they were taught that history is about the lives and activities of 'great men'… the rich and famous or the politically powerful. It is important to reassure them that their stories and memories are also a fundamental part of the life of the community. Topics including 'important episodes in my life', 'what has changed most in my lifetime' and 'lessons I would most like to share' can really get older people to think creatively about their past. Others that arise might be 'family' and 'who I am' and important moments including leaving school, getting married or meeting a life partner, having children, the death of parents or siblings, ill health and moving house.

Support and advice

If there is an older person that you are concerned about, but you do not have time to sit down with them and talk, there are other means of support. Age UK runs a befriender service, where it matches volunteers with isolated older people, often the housebound. Age UK also offers friendship clubs, encouraging more physically active older people to get out into community spaces to talk together. Where face to face contact is not available or desired, a telephone chat can sometimes brighten up a lonely older person’s day. The charity Silverline offer this service, especially targeting those who may not talk to anyone else at all during the course of a day.