Thursday 11 February: A conversation with Marina Litvinenko
An engineer by training, and a former professional ballroom dancer, Marina is the widow of Alexander Litvinenko, a former Russian FSB officer who was assassinated in London in 2006. Marina played an active role in seeking justice for her husband, culminating in a British public inquiry, which concluded in 2016 that the FSB probably directed the killing. Marina was interviewed by John Dobson (former UK naval attaché to the Soviet Union/Russia and Chairman of the Plymouth branch of the University of the Third Age) and Dr Patrick Holden (programme leader for the Masters in International Relations degree at the University).
The conversation was open to the audience for a question and answer session.Topics ranged from Marina’s personal story, including her struggle for justice for her husband, to broader political questions including Russian politics, Russian relations with the West and the challenge of ‘fake news’ and disinformation. This event was sponsored by the School of Criminology, Government and Law in partnership with the University of the Third Age.

Wednesday 6 March: Brexit: Where are we now?
Patrick Holden (Reader in International Relations) gave a briefing on the current state of Brexit negotiations and the UK’s departure from the EU with contributions from Jason Lowther (Reader in Law), both from the School of Law, Criminology and Government. This then opened out into an interactive Q&A and discussion format. After the end of the presentation a lively discussion continued outside the lecture theatre with University of Plymouth students and staff form the UK and EU.

Wednesday 13 March: The Chinese People’s Trust in Their Government (speaker: Shuqiao Li, Visiting researcher)
According to the investigation of Edelman Public Relations Worldwide, the Chinese people’s trust in their government ranks first. This may reflect the huge improvement of Chinese people’s life since 1978 and this is also related to the culture of China. Chinese people are inclined to trust their government. It is very different from Western. The Western may be inclined to doubt their government and this is the origin of the Democracy. Another interesting phenomenon, compared with the Western, Chinese people trust their central government more than their local government. This is related to the factor of system, culture, the control of mass media, and etc.

Wednesday 20 March: Power and Cyber-diplomacy in the Post-liberal Order (speaker: Dr Andre Barrinha, University of Bath)
It is becoming increasingly consensual that we have or are now transitioning from an international liberal order to a different reality. Whether that reality is different solely in terms of power dynamics, or also in terms of values and institutions is up for discussion. This presentation aims to explore how that transition applies to cyberspace by focusing on the concept of cyber-diplomacy. As it will be argued, if cyberspace is a creation of the liberal order, cyber-diplomacy is eminently post-liberal. What role it plays in shaping this new order and what it mean in terms of the future of cyberspace, will constitute key points of discussion.

Wednesday 3 April: 40th Anniversary of the Iranian Revolution (speakers: Dr Shabnam Holliday and Dr Christian Emery)
This round table explored the legacy of the 1979 Revolution. This will be done in two parts. Dr Emery provides an analysis of Iran’s foreign policy. Dr Holliday explores political identities and political transformation.
Wednesday 14 February: Understanding India’s Partition Using Game Theory (speaker: Atul Mishra, University of Plymouth)
One of the puzzles of modern Indian history is the partition of India in the form it took in 1947. Jinnah accepted a 'moth eaten Pakistan' in 1947 which he had twice rejected before. Using elementary notions from Game theory we see how this became highly likely, if not inevitable. 

Wednesday 7 March: The Multidimensional Kurdish Model and Unpredictable Season of Kurdish Geopolitics in the Middle East (speaker: Dr Omer Tekdemir, University of Leicester) 
The so-called Kurdish question is an outcome of the imperial and colonised history. The Kurds, as an emerging power, are at a historic crossroads and redrawing the borders of the Sykes-Picot map. However, having a possible 'independent Kurdistan' and radical democratic autonomy in the 'new' Middle East created a hegemonic articulation, power struggle, and antagonism with the region's nation(alist) states (Iraq, Turkey, Syria, and Iran) and beyond. 

Wednesday 21 March: Kant's Political Theology of Perpetual Peace (speaker: Dr Sean Molloy, University of Kent) 
Sean Molloy argues that Kant should not be read as a forerunner of Cosmopolitanism or Democratic Peace theorists, but as a thinker absolutely determined to square the requirements of political necessity and the commands of the moral law. Molloy stresses that the key to this process lies in Kant's articulation of a specifically theological way of conceiving political existence, one in which the "foul Stain of our species" is redeemed by the sacrifice of knowledge to faith.

Wednesday 16 May: Responding to planetary environmental change: geoengineering, Pachamama and ecopedagogy (speaker: Professor David Humphreys, Open University)
Options for responding to global environmental change range from the highly hubristic and technocentric proposal to control the Earth’s temperature through controversial and unproven geoengineering techniques, to the suggestion that a new jurisprudence be developed in which nature’s rights are central. Planetary change also raises questions about the role that should be played by educators.

June 2018: Keynote address at the Faculty of Business Doctoral Conference
Brexit Opportunities and Challenges for Researchers (Patrick Holden and Mary Farrell).
Watch the keynote address

Wednesday 24 October: Using Turning Technologies/Responseware in large groups (lectures) (speaker: Dr Lorenzo Cladi, University of Plymouth)
With its promise to keep students engaged in an interactive way, the use of Turning Technologies/Responseware is becoming an increasingly common practice in higher education. Lorenzo will discuss his experience of using Turning Technologies/Responseware during lectures to large groups of students at stage 2 of their degree at the University of Plymouth. Moreover, Lorenzo will share some of the lessons that he has learnt so far by using Turning Technologies/Responseware in large groups.

Wednesday 31 October: Space warfare and the implications for extended deterrence, capabilities and the character of war in the 21 century (speaker: Dr Simon Smith, University of Staffordshire)
US space policy signifies the resolve to contribute to the defence of allied space systems. Yet, there is little in the literature examining theoretical or policy implications in terms of applying extended deterrence theory to the domain of space and in connection to collective security organisations. This research is a first step into examining the theoretical implications of what space deterrence means at the collective security level.

Wednesday 5 December: The Politics of Healthcare (speaker: Professor Stephen Green, Sheffield Hallam University)
Some, not infrequently politicians, consider health to be of lesser importance than many other matters in the political sphere. However, health is undoubtedly important at both the individual disease level and at population/epidemic levels. A vast number of issues come into the mix, including matters of profit and social responsibility, the private-public debate, cross-border movement of healthcare staff, medical research, maintenance of standards, healthcare tourism, and international co-operation over public health issues (such as Ebola and influenza), biological and chemical warfare, pollution and climate control, and much else. Furthermore different countries do things differently. Health is in fact of great importance to politics and international relations...
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PISC brings together scholars focusing on topical aspects of contemporary global politics. It hosts a seminar programme packed full of events throughout the academic year. 
PISC focuses on the issues in international affairs that concern us all and continues to promote and enhance the research base of staff working in several disciplines and geographical areas. These include International Relations, Human Geography, US politics and US foreign policy, European Union studies, Middle Eastern and Africa studies. Each year, PISC plays a critical role in encouraging the exchange of ideas among our scholarly community and provides students with the opportunity to hear about the research being conducted by University of Plymouth academics as well as scholars from different universities in the UK and internationally. PISC seminars also feature practitioners from the political and policy communities who provide insights and first-hand experience of the political and policy machinery at work (or not working).
Scroll down to view events organised by PISC for University staff and students. 

PISC seminar series 2021-22 

16 March 2022
Dr Eric Woods, University of Plymouth
The New Nationalism in America and Beyond: Ethnic Nationalism in a Digital Age
23 February 2022
Dr Paola Rivetti, Dublin City University (online)
Revolution and Counter-Revolution in the Middle East and North Africa
16 February 2022
Dr Gregorio Bettiza, University of Exeter: 
Civilizationism and the Ideological Contestation of the Liberal International Order
9 February 2022
Nelson Agbor UoP PhD candidate: 
‘Researching the Political and Human Rights Crisis in Cameroon?’
2 February 2022
Dr Piers Revell, University of Plymouth
COP26 - A Post-Mortem
13 October 2021
Dr Shabnam Holliday, University of Plymouth
‘Liberal world order’, ‘rogue state’ status, and legitimacy: Iran-US relations and world order’
Please contact Dr Lorenzo Cladi ( for further information.
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PISC members

Selected publications

Holliday, S. (2019). Populism, the International and Methodological Nationalism: Global Order and the Iran–Israel Nexus. Political Studies. DOI

Cladi, L. and Andrea Locatel (2018). Why did Italy contribute to UNIFIL II? An analytical eclectic analysis. Italian Political Science Review / Rivista Italiana di Scienza Politica, Vol. 49 (1), pp. 85-97. DOI

Holden, P. (forthcoming). Finding common ground? The European Union and European Civil Society framing of the role of trade in the Sustainable Development Goals. Journal of Common Market Studies

Emery, C. (forthcoming). ‘Social revolutions and state-formation: the case of Revolutionary Iran’ In: Giessmann, H.-J. & Ginty, R. M. (Eds.), How Regimes Change. Post-Conflict Transitions Revisited. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar

Cladi, L. (2017). ‘Free Rider Problem’. In: F.M. Moghaddam (ed.), SAGE Encyclopedia of Political Behaviour, Thousand Oaks California: SAGE Publications.

Cladi, L. (2017). ‘Bandwagoning State’. In: F.M. Moghaddam (ed.), SAGE Encyclopedia of Political Behaviour, Thousand Oaks California: SAGE Publications.

Cladi, L. (2016). ‘The EU’s foreign policy towards the Israeli-Palestinian conflict: a story of underachievement?’. In: L. Cladi and A. Locatelli (eds.), International Relations Theory and European Security: We Thought We Knew. Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge

Cladi, L. and Locatelli, A. (2016). ‘Structural Realism: balancing, bandwagoning or what?’ In: L. Cladi and A. Locatelli (eds.), International Relations Theory and European Security: We Thought We Knew. Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge

Cladi, L. and Webber, M. (2016). Between Autonomy and Effectiveness: Reassessing the European Union’s Foreign Policy Towards the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict. European Foreign Affairs Review, Vol. 21(4), pp. 559-577. Abstract

Holliday, S. (2016). The legacy of subalternity and Gramsci’s national–popular: populist discourse in the case of the Islamic Republic of Iran. Third World Quarterly, Vol. 37(5), pp. 917-933, DOI

Holliday, S., & Leech, P. (2016). Political Identities and Popular Uprisings in the Middle East. London: Rowman and Littlefield International.

Holden, P. (2017). ‘Globalization and the Mediterranean’. In R. Gillespie (Ed.), London: Routledge Handbook of Mediterranean Politics. Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge. pp. 244-255

Holden, P. (2017). Neoliberalism by default? A critical discourse analysis of the European Union’s trade and development policy in an era of crisis. Journal of International Relations and Development, Vol. 20 (2), pp 381–407. DOI

Warren, T., Holden, P., & Howell, K. E. (2017). The European Commission and fiscal governance reform: a strategic actor?. West European Politics, Vol. 40 (6), pp. 1310-1330 DOI

Hynes, W. & Holden, P. (2016). What future for the Global Aid for Trade Initiative? Towards an assessment of its achievements and limitations. Development Policy Review, Vol. 34(4), pp. 593-619. DOI

Cordell, K., O'Leary, B. & Wolff, S. (eds) (2017). Israel & Palestine: the Politics of Stalemate. Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge

Cordell, K. & Abulof, U. (2016). Self-Determination, a Double-Edged Sword. Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge

Agarin, T. & Cordell, K. (2016). Minority Rights & Minority Protection in Europe. London: Rowman & Littlefield

Cordell, K. & Wolff, S. (eds) (2016). The Handbook on Ethnicity and Conflict Resolution (2nd edition). Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge

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