Select Page

Author: admin

Politics 23/10/2017 – Lest We Forget: Religion and the Remembrance of War in a Secular State

88 News Image by New Zealand Defence Force in|trin¦sic: adj. ‘belonging naturally’ Religion exists at the foundations of the modern international system, albeit as a negative, as that force of violence which in 1648 led Europe to launch its fleet of new Westphalian states headlong into the raging waters of the Thirty Years War. Much like the ancient maritime success of Athens in deploying small but effective trireme vessels against the traditional warships of Persia, these swift moving proto-secular states quelled the sectarian political waters, wrested power away from medieval religious structures, and navigated safe passage to a modern world. Such an account, at least, echoes much of the conventional IR telling about the beginnings of modern international affairs. In 2000, Notre Dame scholar Daniel Philpott offered what has become a seminal counter-narrative arguing that the ideas of religion played a central role in the Westphalian settlement itself. “Had the Reformation not occurred”, writes Philpott, “a system of states would not have arrived, at least not in the same form or in the same era … the intrinsic content of Protestantism itself points to sovereignty.” (World Politics, Vol.52 No.2, italics added). With Philpott’s logic in mind, and beyond a specific focus on the impact of Protestant ideas in 17th century Europe, might we suggest that the intrinsic content of religious tradition informs aspects of sovereign state identity in the...

Read More

Politics 23/10/2017 – The Congress of EuroVision: Building European Community One Bricolage at a Time

88 News Image by John Thurm Recently in this space we saw a clear argument for considering the narratives of national broadcast television in the study of world politics. Color me convinced, but as the American spouse of a Swede I am also pressed to consider the significance of a trans-national television event that is wildly popular across borders; even if it is so in a ‘so-bad-it’s-good’ kind of way. It is the season of the Eurovision Song Contest (ESC), the annual competition sponsored by the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) showcasing the often spectacularly sequined representatives of EBU member...

Read More

Politics 23/10/2017 – Who is a Refugee?

88 News Image by Takver As the European Union thrashes out its proposal for member states to accept 20,000 refugees over two years as a response to the growing numbers crossing from North Africa, the response of the new Conservative government in the United Kingdom has been less than enthusiastic. In an interview with the Daily Telegraph the British Home Secretary, Teresa May, argues that most of those fleeing are in fact economic migrants, not genuine refugees. She makes a distinction between those escaping from Syria, and others from places like Nigeria, Somalia and Eritrea where, she says, lives...

Read More

Politics 23/10/2017 – Making Feminist Sense of ‘The Americans’

88 News Image by maxresdefault It is becoming increasingly difficult to dispute, much less ignore, the intersection(s) between popular culture and global politics. As Federica Caso and Caitlin Hamilton, persuasively argue, the release of the movie The Interview and the attacks in Paris on the offices of Charlie Hebdo brought into ‘stark relief the immense impact that popular culture artefacts can have on the international political landscape’. William Clapton and Laura Shepherd recently discussed the potential of using popular culture in teaching and research to open International Relations (IR) ‘to much more holistic, much more nuanced and ultimately much...

Read More

Politics 23/10/2017 – Scourging Paganism Past and Present: The Tragic Irony of Palmyra

88 News image by Alper Çuğun Over the past several days I have been somewhat perplexed, if not perturbed by the news media coverage of the impending destruction of pagan sites, particularly the iconic Temple of Baal and later Roman ruins, at Palmyra in ISIL-occupied Syrian territory. If the destruction of these sites does take place, it will continue ISIL’s carefully calculated strategy of publicly and performatively erasing pagan history from the Islamic Middle East. On Euronews, BBC World, and other international media (including Catholic media outlets), a familiar refrain has emerged among (mostly European) commentators, including representatives of...

Read More