Plymouth International Studies Centre Seminar Series

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.

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...

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.

  • Room 303, Roland Levinsky Building

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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: 

  • Why is the war in Syria continuing, and can anything be done to stop it? 
  • Who is responsible for the migration crisis, and what are the responsibilities of the European states? 
  • Is Russia a threat to regional stability, and how should the world respond? 
  • What are the challenges facing UK foreign policy in a post-Brexit world? 
  • Is the regulation of the global financial system fit-for-purpose? 
  • The global development path towards 2030 – a smooth run, or an uphill struggle? 

PISC 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. 

Please contact Dr Lorenzo Cladi ( for further information.

Wednesday 3 April: 40th Anniversary of the Iranian Revolution (speakers: Dr Shabnam Holliday and Dr Christian Emery)

This round table will explore 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.

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