The PhD & the Powerful: A BISA Post-Graduate Network Workshop

Disparities of power often exist between postgraduate students and the actors they focus on. This holds especially true for international studies, where access to information and subjects is often constrained by state actors able to envelop themselves in numerous, potentially legitimate, restrictions. At the same time, international studies is literally soaked with discussions and definitions of power. Furthermore, from realist debates about great power politics, Weberian ponderings of legitimate force, Foucauldian deliberations inspired by governmentality and biopolitics via the consideration of soft power, such discussions and definitions are as varied as they are predominant.

The PhD & the Powerful workshop is being held to help PhD students and ECRs in the realm of international studies develop strategies for dealing with power disparities via the identification and deliberation of different conceptions of power. Drawing from expert academics with experience of understanding, engaging and critiquing power, as well as postgraduate students themselves, the objective of the workshop is to develop an increased awareness of both the problems and opportunities that arise from unequal power relations. In doing, it aims to help postgraduate students appreciate how best to locate, understand, navigate and interpret power.

The workshop will be held on Thursday November 1st 2018, Kingston University, 9am-5pm.

The workshop features a Keynote by Ruth Blakeley (Sheffield University & The Rendition Project) and a session led by Antonio Cerella (Kingston University & Chair of the BISA Working Group on Contemporary Research on International Political Theory). There are ten travel bursaries available for BISA members.

The program of the workshop is as follows:


Arrival, coffee & introductory remarks

Session 1:

Locating Power: This session will encourage workshop participants to identify, and locate within a broader societal and institutional context, the powerful actors they are studying.

Session 2:

Understanding Power: Led by Antonio Cerella, Chair of the BISA Working Group on Contemporary Research on International Political Theory,this session will help participants to understand how power, and the powerful, operate.

Lunch (provided)

Session 3:

Navigating Power: An interactive session to help participants understand how best to engage and navigate power during their studies and as they build their careers.

Session 4:

Interpreting Power: Keynote by Ruth Blakeley

Co-Director of The Rendition Project and Director of the White Rose Doctoral Training Partnership, Professor Blakeley is ideally placed to help students interpret the powerful.


Register for the event here

Registration closes: October 1st 2018

All post-graduate students and ECRs are welcome. Attendance is free.


Ten travel bursaries of up to £50 are available to BISA members:

To apply for a bursary, please register for the workshop and send an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. indicating your institutional affiliation, confirming that you are a BISA member (bursaries will not be paid unless this is the case) and containing a statement of no more than 150-words explaining why you will benefit from the workshop. Emails must be received by August 31st, 2018. You will be notified if you have been successful in applying for a bursary by September 21st, 2018. Decisions on who to award bursaries to will be made by the organiser in conjunction with the BISA PGN committee. Priority will be given to those living outside London.

Those who receive a bursary must provide a copy of receipts. Claims or parts of claims not evidenced with suitable receipts will not be paid and expenses should not also be claimed elsewhere. Bursaries will be paid after the workshop and will only be paid following attendance. Bursary recipients will need to claim their bursary within one month of the workshop.

Nearest train stations: Kingston & Surbiton are both about 15-20-minute walk, or 5-10 minutes in a cab. Both are in Zone 6 & are about 15-30 minutes direct from Waterloo.


For information and queries email Pete Finn: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.



Peter Finn is a multi-award-winning Lecturer in the Politics Department of Kingston University, London. He focuses on executive power, the intersection between national security and human rights, as well as the logic(s) that underpin policies at this intersection. 


BISA@ 40 and beyond

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