Graduate Conference on Terrorism and Political Violence - Provisional Programme

Provisional Programme

In light of the storm and associated Red Warning, the schedule for the CSTPV Postgraduate Conference has been amended:

Thursday’s panels will now be moved to Friday, 2nd March and all scheduled panels will run on that day — registration opens at 9:30am in Parliament Hall.

The public lecture scheduled for
tomorrow evening (Thursday, 1st March), with Professor Scott Straus, will go ahead as scheduled, at 5:15pm in Parliament Hall.


New Book - New Perspectives on the End of the Cold War

Edited by Bernhard Blumenau, Jussi M. Hanhimäki, Barbara Zanchetta


This collection of essays makes a significant contribution to the historiography of the end of the Cold War.

Research on the causes and consequences of the end of the Cold War is constantly growing. Initially, it was dominated by fairly simplistic, and often politically motivated, debates revolving around the role played by major "winners" and "losers". This volume addresses a number of diverse issues and seeks to challenge several "common wisdoms" about the end of the Cold War. Together, the contributions provide insights on the role of personalities as well as the impact of transnational movements and forces on the unexpected political transformations of the late 1980s and early 1990s. Geographically, the chapters largely focus on the United States, Europe, with special emphasis on Germany, and the Soviet Union. The individual chapters are drawn together by the overarching theme relating to a particular "common wisdom": were the transformations that occurred truly "unexpected"? This collection of essays will make an important contribution to the growing literature on the developments that produced the collapse of the Iron Curtain, the demise of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War.

This volume will be of much interest to students of Cold War Studies, International History, European Politics and International Relations in general.


CSTPV Public Lecture - Rethinking the Origins of Genocide

5pm Thursday 1 March 2018
Parliament Hall


Professor Scott Straus, University Wisconsin-Madison

Scott Straus is Professor of Political Science and International Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison (USA), where he also serves as Associate Chair and Director of Graduate Studies of Political Science. Scott specializes in the study of genocide, political violence, human rights, and African politics. His most recent books are Making and Unmaking Nations: War, Leadership, and Genocide in Modern Africa (Cornell University Press, 2015), which recently won the 2018 Grawemeyer Award for Improving World Order, and Fundamentals of Genocide and Mass Atrocity Prevention (United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, 2016). He has also published several books on Rwanda.

UK government bring in MI5 spies to plug leaks ahead of Brexit trade and security talks

CSTPV’s Charles Bird and IR’s Phillips O’Brien interviewed in this Sunday Herald article.

MI5 spies are being brought into the Brexit process amid fears that UK government leaks and covert surveillance by EU states could damage UK interests as crucial trade and security talks begin this week.

Read more…

Tim Wilson - A Good Week For Bad News

Last week turns out to have been a good week to bury bad news for the security services; in between Brexit mayhem and Donald Trump’s bonfire of established policy on the status of Jerusalem, the report by David Anderson QC based on MI5’s own internal deliberations sparked rather less debate than might have been expected. Anderson’s most prominent finding was that the Manchester suicide bombing by Salman Abedi on 22 May last might, possibly, have been prevented. The failure to stop Abedi at the airport on his recent return from Libya does seem striking since he had already apparently been a ‘subject of interest’ to the security services since 2014.

But there are very many potential ‘subjects of interests’ to MI5; and its agents, in turn, have to prioritise monitoring them ruthlessly. That MI5 came even slightly close to discerning Abedi’s intentions is more reassuring than if he had remained entirely unknown to them — though that observation is of precious little comfort now to the bereaved or injured, of course. For his part, the Director of MI5, Andrew Parker, was very keen to point out last week that the security services had prevented nine out of fourteen planned terrorist attacks over the last year (64%). Across both the natural and social sciences, many experts would be very happy with rates of prediction like that.

Rather less impressive at reflection on likely future consequences has been the new Defence Secretary, Gavin Williamson. This week Williamson appeared to announce that government policy was now one of projected systematic extra-judicial executions against any British citizen who joined ISIS, however young or impressionable that individual might have been since ‘a dead terrorist cannot cause any harm to Britain’.

With its assumption of total accuracy in targeting and total indifference to any wider social or cultural legacies, this is policy pronouncement at its most resplendently vapid. ‘A dead terrorist cannot cause any harm to Britain?’ Really? Williamson could do worse here than simply google: ‘Bobby Sands’.

Dr Tim Wilson

Centre Director, CSTPV.