BISA/PSA/UACES response to TEF Technical Consultation

The Association has contributed to the BISA-PSA-UACES joint working group response to the Teaching Excellence Framework technical consultation for year 2. This consultation, was seeking views on the detailed proposals for the operation of the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) in year 2.

BISA @ ISA Conference, Atlanta

BISA is pleased to be sponsoring, the following 4 sessions at the International Studies Association conference, Atlanta.

Wednesday, March 16 8:15 AM - 10:00 AM  WA67: Does Britain Still Have a Role in the World?

About this Roundtable 
Chair: David M. McCourt (University of California-Davis)
Participant: Jason Ralph (POLIS-University of Leeds)
Participant: Hendrik W. Ohnesorge (University of Bonn, Center for Global Studies)
Participant: Tim L. Oliver (London School of Economics and Political Science)
Participant: James Strong (London School of Economics)
Participant: David Strachan-Morris (University of Leicester)
A consensus appears to be emerging among commentators on UK foreign policy that Britain is relinquishing its role as a residual great power. This follows the parliamentary "no" vote on intervention in Syria, and Britain's seeming lack of interest in dealing with the issues of ISIS and the Ukraine. As one of the foremost military powers in the world, and historically one of the most militaristic, this roundtable brings together a diverse selection of scholars to debate this important issue. What do recent events actually signify? Is a real change afoot in UK foreign policy? If so, what is the nature of that change? Or has the UK foreign policy context remained stable, while the foreign policies of related states—like France and the United States, for example—shifted in important ways?

Thursday, March 17 4:00 PM - 5:45 PM  TD34: On the Government of Peaceful and Violent Life: The Unsettling (of) Liberal Settlements of Peace

About this Panel
Chairs and Discussants
Chair: Elisa Wynne-Hughes (Cardiff University)
Discussant: Alexander D. Barder (Florida International University)
  • Warding-off Governmentality: Indigenous Agency in Civil Society and Settler Peace
Author: Tahseen Kazi (Georgia Institute of Technology)
  • Roads, Barriers and Entrepreneurs: Neoliberal Governmentality and Materiality in Israeli Settlements in the West Bank
Author: Jakub Zahora (Charles University in Prague)
  • Narratives of “Good Order” in Post-interventionary Policing

Author: Colleen Bell (University of Saskatchewan)

  • Post-liberal agency: indeterminacy, decolonization and the late liberal settler state
Author: Darcy Leigh (The University of Edinburgh)
No longer credible as an ideal for the world, much less as a tragically unattainable dream, liberal peace can now be understood as governmental – as complicit in the production of our contemporary matrix of peaceful and violent life. In practice, liberal processes of peace are simultaneously failing and relentlessly resurrected in developmental and insurential techniques, and in resilient mentalities. Given such circumstances, how can we reimagine peace and create agencies to diverge out from the reproduction of liberal peace and violence? This panel has two aims: 1. We are concerned with documenting contemporary practices of ‘liberal settlements of peace’ in two senses of the phrase: as attempts to reconfigure people and things for the achievement of liberal ideals of peace in this world; and in the sense of colonial-style settler wealth production out of the dispossession and pacification of indigenous livelihoods. That is, liberal settlements inscribe life by racialization, stratification, sexualization, and production of resilient life. 2. We are equally concerned with how peace and agency are being differently imagined even amidst the settlements of peace. To this end we uncover practices of post-liberal agency and of alternative authority production that ward-off liberal settlements of peace.

Friday, March 18 4:00 PM - 5:45 PM FD39: International Political Economy of Energy

About this Panel
Chairs and Discussants
Chair: Adam N. Stulberg (Georgia Institute of Technology)
Discussant: Adam N. Stulberg (Georgia Institute of Technology)
  • Pipelines and Hegemonies: A Gramscian Approach to the Study of Energy
Author: Paolo Sorbello (University of Glasgow and KIMEP – Kazakhstan)
  • Natural Gas and Conflicts – How Different is Gas from Oil?
Author: Adnan Vatansever (King's College London)
  • The Impact of Low Oil Prices on Energy Security in Asia

Author: Younkyoo Kim (Divison of International Studies, Hanyang University)

  • Between a rock and a hard place: energy policy in a comparative political economy perspective
Author: Slawomir Raszewski (King's College London)
Energy is too important to be neglected by Political Scientists. Yet, within the mainstream of the discipline energy research still remains a peripheral area of academic enquiry seeking to plug into the discipline’s theory debates. The purpose of the panel to assess how existing International Political Economy (IPE) perspectives fit with our understanding of peace in energy research. Security and conflict constitute the origins of energy research linked to oil and political instability of the Middle East. The ‘gloomy’ picture of ‘energy security’ made way for a ‘peaceful’ research linking energy with trade and markets. Global economic development has altered the peaceful focus. Resource scarcity and conflict attributed to the rise of new economic powers epitomised by the BRICS concept has made energy research come full circle to its conflict-ridden roots with the climate change science only reinforcing and weakening the importance of energy security as both a policy issue and theoretical paradigm. Yet, the concept of new geopolitical rivalry over resources, in regions such as the Arctic, is challenged by technological advancement exemplified by the US shale phenomenon. Reflecting on existing research the IPE energy research panel seeks to plug into the discipline’s theory debates.

Saturday, March 19 10:30 AM - 12:15 PM  SB61: Gendered Agency in War and Peace: Politics of Security

About this Panel
Chairs and Discussants
Chair: Vivienne Jabri (King's College London)
Discussant: Laura McLeod (University of Manchester)
  • Faslane and Feminism: Gendered Power, Identity and Agency in the ‘Longest Running Peace Camp in the World'
Author: Catherine Eschle (University of Strathclyde)
  • ‘Silences’ as Sites of Agency and Transformation: Feminist Studies and the Politics of Right-Wing Women
Author: Akanksha Mehta (SOAS, University of London)
  • Gendered Agency in War and Peace: The Reintegration of War-Affected Women and Female Ex-Combatants in Post-Conflict Bosnia-Herzegovina
Author: Maria O'Reilly (Goldsmiths, University of London)
  • Mobilising on the Fringe of Civil Society: Gendered Agency and Peacebuilding in Nepal
Author: Hanna Ketola (King's College London)
October 2015 marks the fifteenth anniversary of UNSCR 1325 on ‘Women, Peace and Security’. Hailed as a landmark in the advancement of women’s rights, the resolution stresses the importance of integrating women and gender issues into matters of international security. Despite growing rhetoric on the importance of ‘gender security’, many argue that security interventions still fail to address the gender-specific security concerns of women in conflict and post-conflict settings, and continue to overlook the agency of women in war and peace. This panel examines the gender politics of international security. The papers identify and critically examine the local expressions of gendered agency and resistance that emerge within the context of contemporary security interventions. How are the gendered subjects of security (differently) engaged in adopting, adapting, and/or contesting security discourse and practices that are targeted at them? Dominant discourses and practices of international security tend to (re)produce and legitimise restrictive understandings of ‘women’s agency’. In contrast, these papers develop more nuanced conceptualisations of the modes of agency and resistance that are fostered and deployed in various sites of (in)security. The panel explores how a deeper understanding of gendered agency allows us rethink dominant distinctions between ‘women’/’men’ ‘local’/’international’, ‘civil’/’political’ and ‘war’/’peace’.

BISA Public Statement regarding the situation for Academics in Turkey

Dear BISA members

Happy new year. The Board of Trustees has lent BISA’s full support to a joint public statement released yesterday by a number of professional associations in international studies, seeking to raise their voices against the situation faced by academic colleagues in Turkey and threats to their academic freedom. This statement is provided below. Collectively the Associations would like to seek as wide a dissemination of the public statement as possible, and to this end would invite you to consider disseminating among your networks as you feel appropriate. We would also like to invite our Working Group convenors to consider distributing to their members by e-mail or through social media. If you feel inclined to do so, we appreciate your help in the effort to raise the profile of this issue.

Best wishes

Nicola Phillips

Chair of BISA, on behalf of the Board of Trustees

Public Statement of the Presidents and Chairs of Professional Associations on  “International Studies”  regarding the Persecution of Academics in Turkey
18 January 2016 (as amended as of 22 January 2016)
As leaders of associations that represent academics and analysts of international studies, we are deeply concerned about the reaction of the Turkish government and police to the public statement signed by Turkish and international academics on the situation in Southeastern Turkey last week. While we condemn any form of political violence, we insist that academics must have the right to express their political views freely and without having to fear for their jobs or personal freedom.
We call upon the Turkish authorities to stop the persecution of our colleagues and ask university administrations to respect the right to free speech and academic freedom. Turkey is an important partner in our joint efforts to better understand how “a more peaceful, more socially inclusive world” can be realized – a key aim of the “Alliance of Civilizations” which President Erdogan has co-sponsored. Free academic debate is an essential prerequisite to foster such understanding. We hope that it can continue to flourish in Turkish universities as well. 
Professor Gunther Hellmann 
Executive Secretary, World International Studies Committee (WISC) 
Professor Thomas Diez 
President, European International Studies Association (EISA) 
Professor Paul Diehl 
President, International Studies Association (ISA) 
Professor Stefano Guzzini 
President, Central and East European Studies Association (CEEISA)
Professor Nicola Phillips 
Chair, British International Studies Association (BISA) 
Professor Tuomas Forsberg 
Chair, Nordic International Studies Association (NISA) 
Professor Stephan Stetter 
Chair, IR Section, German Political Science Association
Professor Rafael Velázquez  
President, Mexican International Studies Association (MISA) 
Dr Alberto Sepúlveda Almarza 
President, Asociación Chilene de Especialistas Interacionales (ACHEI) 
Professor Arlene B. Tickner 
President, Corporación Red Colombiana de Relaciones Internacionales (REDINTERCOL) 
Professor Ben J Muller 
President, International Studies Association-Canada 
Professor Fulvio Attiná and Professor Vittorio Emanuele Parsi 
Co-Chairs, Standing Group of International Relations, Italian Political Science 
Association (SGRI/SISP) 

Future of Research Councils - Nurse Review Published

The review for the UK's research councils, led by Sir Paul Nurse published on 19th November, comes ahead of the government’s spending review on 25th November.
The report recognises the current UK research funding system as key to delivering one of the most effective research communities in the world. The evidence given as part of the review highlights the Research Councils’ reputation for effectively supporting and promoting research excellence for the benefit of society and the economy.
The report recommends bringing the research councils closer together under a new and stronger body, Research UK, whose head would be in charge of all seven councils.
The review does however leave unanswered important questions about the possible future arrangements of the research councils within the new body Research UK. A primary concern is, it is still not clear how funds will be allocated within Research UK and via the dual support system going forwards.
Responding to the review, Universities and Science Minister Jo Johnson said: "Our research base is world-class and this government is committed to ensuring its continued success. I welcome this independent report and would like to thank Sir Paul for providing his expertise and insight." Source: BIS website 19th November 2015

Joint Committee on Human Rights: Legislative Scrutiny

The Joint Committee on Human Rights has decided to continue the previous Committee’s practice of scrutinising every Government Bill for its compatibility with human rights.
Joint Committee on Human Rights
This is including common law fundamental rights and liberties, the Convention rights protected by the Human Rights Act 1998 and the human rights contained in other international obligations assumed by the UK such as the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. 

UK must increase science funding to keep up with competitors

The UK is falling behind its competitors in research and development (R&D) investment and the Government will be putting competitiveness, productivity and jobs at risk if it does not set out a clear roadmap to increase science funding in the Spending Review, the cross-party Science & Technology Committee is warning in their report published 9th November 2015. 

Green Paper on the Future of Higher Education Published

Published on 6th November 2015, the green paper "Fulfilling Our Potential: Teaching Excellence, Social Mobility and Student Choice" outlines government proposals addressing the future of higher education. 

Consultation on the proposals will run for 10 weeks, closing on 15 January 2016.

Consultation on GCSE and A level reform

Published on 3rd November 2015,  the Department for Education and Ofqual issue two consultations on the reform of subject content  and the assessment for new GCSEs and A levels which will be taught from 2017, including AS and A Level Politics. The continued inclusion of Global Politics is key to students continuing on to further their International Studies knowledge at degree level. The reform of subject content is part of the wider reform currently being undertaken for GCSEs and A level subjects.

Joint Committee on Human Rights: Inquiry into the use of Drones

UK Government's policy on the use of drones for targeted killing inquiry.
The Government has not published any formulated policy on the use of drones for targeted killing.  As a result there is a lack of clarity about the policy; about whether and how the legal frameworks of international humanitarian law, international human rights law and ordinary criminal law apply; and about the relevant legal tests and principles that apply to the use of lethal force in such circumstances. 
It is not clear how the relevant decision-makers test the sufficiency of evidence, who checks that the tests are satisfied, and what the framework of accountability is.  The uncertainty not only makes accountability difficult, it potentially exposes front line personnel to criminal liability for the unlawful use of lethal force.

Update - Dept of Politics University of Surrey

BISA congratulates the University of Surrey's Department of Politics on the very welcome news that its future has been secured. The Department will continue to exist as a discrete unit, with a staff of ten, and there will be no compulsory redundancies. All of its undergraduate and postgraduate provision will remain intact. BISA extends its good wishes and full support to the Department in the next phase of its development.

Professor Nicola Phillips, University of Sheffield, BISA Chair

British International Studies Association


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