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'International Security: Scholarship and Practice' - Annual Alumni Event

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    Image: Eric Haney

Alumni were invited to join the Department of Politics and International Relations for a one-day conference, ‘International Security: Scholarship and Practice’, on Saturday, 28 November.

International security is a central element of the Department of Politics and International Relations’ (DPIR) work. At a time when many new security challenges arise all over the world, good research and teaching of security and politics is more necessary than ever. It is increasingly important to make sure relevant research does not stay within the confines of the ivory tower, but reaches a broader public, as well as political decision makers.

On Saturday 28 November, Dr Elizabeth Frazer, Head of Department at DPIR welcomed around 70 alumni to the conference ‘International Security: Scholarship and Practice’. The main point of discussion of the one-day symposium was the real world impact of university research. DPIR scholars Annette Idler, Lucas Kello, and Neil MacFarlane presented their research on international security and discussed in a panel debate how to ensure that it reaches policy-makers.In the inaugural DPIR ‘In conversation’ series, Financial Times chief foreign affairs commentator Gideon Rachman discussed with St Peter’s College’s Mark Damazer the role researchers can play in public debates and how a journalistic approach differs from a scholarly one.

Many of the conference attendees were graduates of politics and international relations or the PPE (Politics, Philosophy and Economics) undergraduate programme from a time when the DPIR did not yet exist. But Dr Frazer made it clear that it is her wish and aim that the department should serve as link to Oxford for all politics graduates, including those who graduated before the foundation of the DPIR. (The PPE programme will celebrate its centenary in 2020). The day ended with a keynote lecture from Emeritus Professor Sir Adam Roberts on the Haldane principle on the protection of research from government interference and a dinner at Balliol College with an after-dinner speech by Lord Hannay of Chiswick.

The conference’s conclusion were clear:  there is a dire need for more scholarship in the public debate. Researchers and students should not reject the ‘popularisation’ of their research as a matter of principle but rather try to inform the public debate. As Professor Richard Caplan underlined, academics may not necessarily have the answers, but they can certainly help suggest the right approach to the question.

Report by Ulrike Franke - DPhil Candidate, DPIR


Click here to watch Professor Sir Adam Roberts' keynote lecture


Click here to watch Gideon Rachman and Mark Damazer 'in conversation'

Download: (35.7MB)

Professor Sir Adam Roberts on “Scholarship and Government”

Speakers: Adam Roberts

Download: (30.2MB)

The inaugural DPIR ‘In conversation’: Gideon Rachman and Mark Damazar

Speakers: Gideon Rachman, Mark Damazer

Download: (59.8MB)

Panel discussion: ‘The relationship between scholarship and practice’

Speakers: Annette Idler, Richard Caplan, Neil MacFarlane, Lucas Kello, Elizabeth Frazer

Professor Sir Adam Roberts is Senior Research Fellow, Department of Politics & International RelationsDr Elizabeth Frazer is Emeritus Fellow, New CollegeLucas Kello is Associate Professor of International Relations, Senior Lecturer, Co-Director of the Centre for Doctoral Training in Cyber Security (Dept of Computer Science)Professor Neil MacFarlane is Lester B Pearson Professor of International Relations and Fellow, St Annes CollegeProf. Richard Caplan is Professor of International Relations and Official Fellow, Linacre College