On January 17th 2020 I delivered the keynote lecture at the Political Studies Association Schools Day at the University of Warwick. The theme of the event was the politics of imperial legacies. My talk was entitled 'How should we deal today with the legacy of the British Empire', and it focused specifically on how young people position themselves in relation to the British Empire, when their history curriculum at school tells them one thing and their consciences often tell them something else entirely. In particular, we discussed how a number of British universities are attempting to confront their own history of benefiting from donations from slave traders, plantation owners, tobacco merchants and the like. Technology was used for the lecture which enabled the students to engage through anonymous voting, sometimes in relation to questions of fact (where they had to guess the most likely answer, as they could not have been expected to know it) and sometimes in relation to questions of opinion (where they could also guess how everyone else had voted before the answers were revealed on the screen).
On June 6th 2019 I delivered the keynote lecture at the Political Studies Association Schools Day at the University of Warwick. The theme of the event was the politics of the future. My talk was entitled 'Democracy and Intergenerational Justice', and it focused specifically on how young people understand the mandate that was delivered for the UK to withdraw from membership of the European Union in a decision over which they had no say. In particular, we debated the possibility of moving towards a voting system in one-off events such as referendums whereby votes would be weighted proportionately according to how long you could be expected to live with the consequences of the result.
On April 11th 2017 I delivered a paper at the Political Studies Association Annual Conference in Glasgow. The paper was entitled, 'Machonomics and the Politics of Inequality'. The panel, The Politics of Inequality, was convened by David Adler of the University of Oxford, and it was sponsored by the British and Comparative Political Economy PSA Specialist Group.
Abstract: Feminist scholars have described the behavioural traits that have flourished within the global economy in terms of their underlying hyper-masculinity. Whilst this literature has typically focused on a small number of business leaders around whom popular myths of wealth creation have developed, the same way of thinking might also be applied to policy-makers. At the very least, my study of George Osborne's time as UK Chancellor of the Exchequer reveals how consistently he adoped the mantle of hyper-masculinity in his approach to deficit reduction. It was an attitude to the task at hand I label 'machonomics'. This concept is designed to mean more than that the outcomes of his austerity programme disproportionately disadvantaged women. It also captures the type of policy-maker that Osborne tried so hard to convince others he was. This self-projection finds a parallel, I argue, in what the macroeconomic theory literature describes as the specifically 'conservative policy-maker', someone reputed for trusting his own judgement even in the face of widespread dissent against his anti-social policies. The conservative policy-maker exudes the hyper-masculinity that Osborne embodied in his refusal to voice opinions in public suggesting that there were viable alternatives to painful public expenditure cuts.
Whilst I was at the Conference, I also participated as one of the mentors in a 'speed mentoring' event run by the PSA's Early Career Network that covered all possible elements of academic career advice.