Congratulations to Warwick Politics Society for being voted Academic Society of the Year 2019/20 in the Warwick Students’ Union Awards, under Student voice and Impact.
We are delighted to hear of their well-deserved success. Congratulations to the Exec and to all the members who make Pol Soc so great.
Bryony Jenner, President of the Politics Society, commented:
‘This award reflects the diverse and wide range of events we have held in 19/20, and our turnout figures (with often 100+ members at social and academic events). We have also raised around £2,500 in charity funds (for Mind and Movember), which is a large increase on last year. The Politics Society annual ball was one of the largest, most affordable formal events on offer to students this year, with 200 attendees. Finally, we hosted our first ever Perspectives Awards, albeit virtually, to celebrate our excellent writers, and have had at least 1500 print magazines in circulation’.
The PAIS Department look forward to continuing to work with Pol Soc in the 20/21 academic year!
Last Sunday, Channel 4 showed the latest documentary in a series on ‘Royals and Spies’, researched by Richard Aldrich and Rory Cormac (Nottingham).
Filmed in Warwick’s Modern Records Centre, the programme showed how The Queen was dragged, unwittingly, into a notorious CIA-MI6 coup that overthrew the government of Iran in 1953. The wider programme of research has involved two PAIS students working at the National Archives in Kew. The latest programme attracted extensive press coverage including stories by NBC and the Times.
We are distressed by the continued violence and racism experienced by Black people in the United States, United Kingdom, and beyond. We want an inclusive environment for our community, and we are committed to exploring and understanding how anti-racism can be embedded across our Department. We fully support the Black Lives Matter movement, as well as all our students and staff who are standing in solidarity. We welcome the questions that students and staff are asking about actions that the University of Warwick and the Department of Politics and International Studies (PAIS) are taking to address racial inequality.
The Students’ Union have issued a statement on Black Lives Matter, which provides a powerful message for our whole community, alongside wellbeing guidance and resources for the Black community.
A Joint Statement from Race Equality Taskforce and the University Executive Board was released on 9 June and can be accessed here: https://warwick.ac.uk/services/equalops/blacklivesmatter. This statement recognises that we are part of a sector and a country where racism has proliferated and is embedded within society. We see this across the sector and at Warwick in the small number of Black and BAME professors, in the Black attainment gap, and, as our students have shared in the Warwick Speak Out report (by Warwick anti-Racism Society and the SU), in the experience of Black students every day, both on our campus and in the classroom. The Joint Statement details some of the actions that the University is taking, whilst also acknowledging that these actions alone do not reflect the enormity of the challenge. The statement clearly lays out the University’s ongoing commitment to developing and working towards our goal of an anti-racist and inclusive University.
At University level, Warwick’s Social Inclusion strategy highlights the need for anti-racism work as an institutional priority. Senior University management have invited departmental leads to attend anti- racist training, so that we can embed anti-racism across the institution. Targets have been set to reduce the student attainment gap, but also to increase the numbers of BAME academics and professional services staff. The University is supporting the work of the Race Equality Taskforce, which brings together academics, professional staff, and SU representatives to identify key issues and effective responses. Academics across the University are engaged in developing resources through forums such as the Anti-Racist Pedagogy Learning Circle. They have recently funded their staff development anti-racist programme, which will be made available across the University.
At Department level, we have been working in partnership with students through our Liberated Curriculum Working Group, with a particular focus on decolonising the curriculum. This partnership has already resulted in significant revisions to our modules to better align them with anti-racist principles, but we will continue this work as part of an ongoing process. We also have active Widening Participation and Equality & Diversity Committees, with student representation, focusing on crucial issues such as diversity in our recruitment and the Attainment Gap in student performance, which we will discuss with our BAME students. We work closely with Schools and through our widening participation and outreach sessions we have been delivering sessions on what to do about colonial- era statues for a number of years. We realise that addressing the Attainment Gap requires long-term measures and that there are rarely quick fixes, but as a Politics and International Studies department we want to be at the forefront of changes that serve to tackle this issue. One of our key long-term initiatives is the Colonial Hangover project, which works with students to pose a series of questions about everyday life that currently remain underrepresented in both public political discourse and the school curriculum. But we also realise that there is much more that we can and need to do.
In PAIS we take all equality, diversity, and inclusion issues extremely seriously and we are committed to exploring and understanding how anti-racist practices can be embedded throughout our curriculum and in extra-curricular activities. We wish to express our solidarity with BAME members of our community who may be experiencing acute distress at this time. We are very aware that we still have much to learn, both individually and collectively, and that there is so much more that we urgently need to do to support you, and all members of the Department to embed and operationalise increasingly robust anti-racist principles. Please work with us in order to achieve this change by contacting us if you have any specific concerns or suggestions for how we might do more.
PAIS Senior Management Team
The next Q-Step research seminar will take place on Zoom next Monday, 15th June, 2pm–3pm.
Robin Harding, Department of Politics and International Relations, University of Oxford, https://www.robinharding.org/
"Terrorism, Trust, and Ethnic Identification: Evidence from a Natural Experiment in Nigeria"
Abstract: Terrorism is increasingly a problem across Africa, but as yet little work has sought to investigate its political effects. Studies in Europe and the US suggest that terrorist attacks can increase political trust, but it is unclear whether we should expect these findings to hold in a context where political institutions are often fragile, and where political violence is frequent. We investigate this question in Nigeria, where terrorism has been widespread and increasing over the past decade. Making use of unexpected attacks by the extremist group Boko Haram, which occurred during the fieldwork of a public opinion survey, we show that even in a context of weak state institutions and frequent terrorist activities terrorist attacks significantly increase political trust. Previous studies in other contexts have attributed such effects to a "rally round the flag" mechanism, whereby people look to national state institutions as the legitimate source of security in the face of terrorist threat. A further implication of this argument is that terrorism should result in a stronger sense of collective national identity. Counter to this, we find that terror attacks in this context actually reduce the salience of respondents' national identity, instead significantly increasing ethnic identification. This fits with arguments from social psychology which suggest that fear and insecurity can lead people to identify more strongly with their in-group. These findings have important implications for understanding the political effects of terrorism in contexts where society is divided along ethnic lines and where ethnic divisions are politically salient.
Meeting ID: 274 739 0271
We are delighted to announce that the Department of Politics and International Studies (PAIS) is ranked 4th out of 85 UK Politics departments in The Complete University Guide 2021. This influential national league table reflects key data, including student satisfaction (NSS), research excellence, and graduate prospects.
This is a move up from 5th place last year and is alongside our number 1 position in the Times/Sunday Times Good University Guide league table 2020 – a position that we have held for two years in a row.
Professor Nick Vaughan-Williams, Head of PAIS, commented:
‘Students and staff in PAIS have a common purpose: to support each other to find their own critical voice, to look at seemingly intractable global challenges afresh, and to push the limits of existing debate and accepted orthodoxies in the study of politics and international studies. This latest ranking is further evidence of our winning formula for success, which reflects the hard work and dedication of all members of the PAIS community. The Department entered the current global pandemic in a position of strength, and our plans to deliver a blended approach to learning, the student experience, and academic support in 2020/21 mean that we will emerge stronger than ever.’
Dr Justin Greaves, PAIS’ Director of Student Experience and Progression, commented:
‘This outstanding result is testament to all the brilliant students and staff in PAIS. This league table shows how we are a leader, both within the Russell Group and the sector as a whole, in terms of the student experience and employability. I am particularly pleased that we are placed No 1 in the Russell Group for student satisfaction and as one of the leading departments in the country for graduate prospects. I look forward to working with all our new and returning students to ensure that the PAIS department goes from strength to strength, combining an outstanding student experience with the highest possible levels of academic support’
We thank all staff and students who have contributed to this incredible achievement. With a number of exciting and ambitious plans for the 2020/21 academic year and beyond, we look forward to sustaining and building on these successes in the months and years ahead.