As part of the 6th PublicUni event, 6th of August, at the Chapter Arts Centre Cardiff, I will discuss my research on pirates. The idea of PublicUni is to present ongoing research short and crisp in an accessible manner (more info here). In my talk I as ‘Whatever happened to the Somalia pirates?’ Since Captain Phillips hit the movie theatres two years ago, it has become remarkably quiet about the pirates of Somalia. I hence will explains the rise and fall of piracy. For the other speakers at the event see the program here.
On the 24th of July I had the pleasure to meet Ali Omar, Chief off Staff to the President of Somalia, during his visit to the University of Bristol. Over lunch with some colleagues we discussed the importance of maritime security for Somalia. Naturally the governance of its territorial waters is not the number one priority of the government given the vast security and governmental challenges that exist. However, the maritime is a significant opportunity for the government not only to generate revenue, but also to strengthen its profile in multi-lateral settings.
The concept of “science diplomacy” has become an increasingly fashionable way of discussing both the role of science and technology within global governance as well as how science itself constitutes a field of diplomacy. At a one and a half day workshop at Exeter College, from 12.-13.7., we are meeting to discuss the concept and how it can be used as a starting point for an innovative agenda. The goal is to identify mechanisms as well as cases representative of the science/diplomacy interaction. The event is part of the new science diplomacy project of the Department of Science, Technology, Engineering and Public Policy (STEaPP) of the University College London.
Last week I attended the plenary of the CGPCS at the UN headquarters. I published summaries of the main discussions of the working group meetings and the plenary on the website of the CGPCS. Find them published here. For the first time the plenary has also been recorded and is available on UN web tv (part 1, part 2). During the plenary I gave an update on the Lessons Learned Project and also presented our forthcoming article on the future of the maritime security architecture in the Western Indian Ocean.
Over the next week I am attending the plenary meeting of the Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia (CGPCS). The group is the main global governance mechanism to steer and coordinate the global fight against Somali piracy (FAQ). The group is the major case study of my ESRC project “Counter-Piracy Governance” and I am working for the group in a lessons learned project. Since I attended my first plenary meeting in 2013, the group has been quite radically transformed in the face of the decline of piracy in the region. Not only is there growing uncertainty about the purpose of the group, but it is unclear what efforts of capacity building and ongoing patrols will be needed to sustain the current containment. The program of the plenary reflects this, in that only two of the working groups are meeting. Both the working group on capacity building and operations will focus on discussing the results of technical subgroups. They will meet a day prior to the plenary on Wednesday. On Thursday there will be an offside event focused on the African Maritime Security Architecture.
Good news from my Department. We are growing and extending research and teaching in International Relations considerably. In addition to two new staff members that will join us in September, a number of posts in International Relations on all levels (Junior Lecturer, Lecturer, Senior Lecturer, Reader, Professor) is currently advertised. The call is broad, since the goal is to build a multifaceted department which covers the entire spectrum of the discipline. In a year the Department will look differently. This is the advertisement of the posts:
Major Expansion of International Relations at Cardiff University
Following the 2014 merger of the Department of Politics and International Relations with Cardiff Law School, the Cardiff School of Law and Politics is now making a significant investment in International Relations, already an area of growing strength in such fields as international political sociology and normative international theory. A range of appointments at different levels, reflecting the growing importance of this vibrant field, will make International Relations a major focus for the School. Politics and International Relations at Cardiff has long-standing and distinctive strengths in European politics, Welsh politics and comparative devolution and normative political theory.
The following positions are available:
Chairs / Readers in International Relations (3520BR)
Senior Lectureships / Lectureships / in International Relations (3523BR)
Early Career Lectureships (3531BR)
We welcome applications from scholars across all subfields of International Relations, which include IR theory and empirical and/or historical work. We are particularly interested in applicants who combine theory with methodologically sophisticated empirical or historical analysis and/or those with a regional focus such as the Middle East, Africa, and Asia.
For further details and to apply please visit: www.cf.ac.uk/jobs and http://www.cardiff.ac.uk/politics-international-relations/
Interested applicants are invited to contact Jan Donovan, PA to Professor Dan Wincott (Head of School), on DonovanJM@cardiff.ac.uk, to arrange an informal discussion
From the 17th to the 19th I attended the 40th conference of the British International Studies Association. With 700 participants it was the largest BISA conference so far. And with a location right next to Tower Bridge perhaps the one with the nicest view from the conference facilities. At the conference I presented at two roundtables which focused on the state of Security Studies and the rationale of the new European Journal of International Security (find a summary of the roundtables at the EJIS website here). In addition I also participated in a roundtable on Methods and Critique. Overall it was good to see a thriving British IR community in action. The discussion on methods and methodology continues to be one of the major themes the discipline is currently discussing, which is a move into the direction. What kind of social science IR and its many subcommunities wants to be is after all crucial a question of how it wants to combine theory and empirics and what types of empirical experiences enrich the formulation of theory and concepts.
That Anthropology and International Relations (IR) share a range of common interests is increasingly becoming more obvious. In consequence there is a thriving debate about concepts, methods and empirical observations between both disciplines. A growing number of researchers adopts the ethnographic spectrum of methods to study internationalized politics, ranging from bureucracies such as the police, to development work or international organizations and global governance. On June 10-12th I attended a workshop hosted by the University of Bremen and held at the Hanse Wissenschaftskolleg in Delmenhorst in which a range of forthcoming studies at the intersection of anthropology and IR were discussed. The organizers phrased the rationale for the workshop well, when they argued that “The promise of an anthropology of internationalized politics then is that the enlarged empirical basis and an enlarged theoretical language would allow for new theoretical growth. It would be based on an enlarged empirical experience (Erfahrung) and not just derived from conceptual discussion alone or from theoretical deduction that are then checked against a mass of numerical data. Such a research approach would start out with an enlarged understanding of what empirical data is, and it would try to interpret it with an enlarged theoretical vocabulary.”
The politics of maritime space is only rarely in the focus of international fora. Conferences devoted to the Indian Ocean region are a rare event, especially in Europe. On June the 9th the German ministry of Foreign Affairs in collaboration with the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung and the Robert Bosch Stiftung, organized a one day conference on the region. The conference was titled “The Indian Ocean: A Maritime Region on the Rise.” The background of the conference was that Germany’s foreign policy currently is in a phase of renewal. After decades of searching for Germany’s place in the world, the foreign office now wants to think foreign policy differently and aims to set new impulses, identify new themes and new spaces to strengthen international cooperation. Part of this innovation agenda, is Germany’s new focus on maritime security, as evidenced in the G7 declaration from earlier this year. Continue reading
Concepts are one of the main material of international politics, yet, often is the task to study them left to historians and political theorists. In order to correct that, the Workshop “Concepts at Work” (Jerusalem, 31.5-1.6.) intends to broaden the picture. Organized by Piki Ish Shalom from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem a rich set of studies on concepts such as self-determination, international community risk, sovereignty, or homeland will be discussed. At the workshop I will present a first sketch on the life of the concept of blue economy and how it has shifted meaning over the past 5 years. The workshop program is available here.