Posts Tagged ‘Politics’

It may seem odd that many British people want leave the EU, but to a Brit living in the Czech Republic it comes as no surprise. The low quality of the Brexit debate shows that for too many Brits, Europe is still a strange and distant place.


The outcome of the British EU membership referendum is likely to come down to a few key factors: the weather (which affects voter turnout), the registration of young voters (who are less likely to vote but more likely to vote to remain), whether Boris Johnson can reign in his ego (and stop comparing the EU to Hitler’s project to “unite Europe”), and which way the country’s corrupt media Barons tell their newspapers to lean.

To steal a phrase from Neville Chamberlain, “how horrible, how fantastic, incredible” it is that such an important issue, which could see one of the most populous and potentially powerful European countries leave the world’s most exclusive and desirable political club, should be at the mercy of such superficial and arbitrary considerations.

For any Czechs and others still in thrall to the UK as the cradle of modern democracy or as an example of an independent voice to look up to in Europe, this state of affairs may come as a something of a shock. For me, however, having grown up in the UK but spent most of my adult life on the continent and most of my career working in the study or practice of politics and government, including for the EU, it comes as no surprise.
You can read the full article in English at the Reporter website  

This article was originally published in Czech in the June edition of Reporter Magazine 
and in Czech and English on their website.



On Saturday 4th May, the 2nd Prague Security Conference took place at Anglo-American University. The conference, which featured leading academics as well as local students, focused on issues relating to Terrorism and Political Violence, Human Security and Humanitarian Intervention as well as on Urban, Spatial and Architectural politics.


Academic Papers were presented by international experts Dr. Xymena Kurowska from Central European University (Budapest) (with Benjamin Tallis) and Dr. Japhy Wilson of University of Manchester. Kurowska & Tallis presented a version of their paper ‘Chiasmatic Crossings’ which was recently published in leading journal Security Dialogue and looks at new ways of understanding and methods of conducting political research and the production of useful knowledge in European security.


Japhy Wilson presented a paper in response to Chiasmatic Crossings, which looked at the politics of conducting fieldwork in development research. The audience were captivated as a tale that sounded more like it came from a spy novel than a textbook combined charges of ‘Sabotage of Development’ with Lacanian pschology to understand contemporary neoliberalism in Africa.


Further details on the guest speakers, as well as on the papers, which showed the breadth and depth of academic research into politics as well the ethical issues involved, are available below.

In addition to sharing the latest in their cutting-edge political research with a diverse Prague audience, Dr. Wilson and Dr. Kurowska also provided expert feedback on four panels of student papers.




Students from the AAU Upper Level Bachelors and Masters classes on ‘Terrorism & Human Security’ prsented in the morning and the members of ‘Power Structures: Architecture, Politics and the City’ in the afternoon. The morning session featured presentations ranging from ‘Mad, Bad or Misunderstood: Anders Breivik and the Depoliticisation of Political Violence’ to an examination of the case for Humanitarian Intervention in Syria.


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The afternoon session started off closer to home, looking at Prague architectures in and beyond transition and how they work, asking questions such as who is the city for and are Panelaks the new Versailles? The relevance of such approaches beyond the Czech capital was shown by other papers that looked at global issues on cycling, hollywood representations of the city and the policing of movement in the West Bank.

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AAU faculty members Prof. Don Fuller (Dean of School of IR & Diplomacy), Dr. Bill Eddlestone (Head of History) and Daniela Chalaniova (Lecturer in Politics) were on hand to see the quality of the students’ work and, along with Dr. Francesco Giumelli of Metropolitan University Prague, they engaged with the students work and provided valuable feedback.


The conference provided a chance to students to experience a real academic conference and get high-level and diverse feedback from leading academics. The papers given by the guest speakers introduced sophisticated and significant new ideas and research findings to students and staff. The presence of members of the public only helped to confirm the significance of these issues beyond academia and the importance of research into them.


At the end of a intense day, the group retired to less formal surroundings to continue their discussions, which went on long into the night.

Conference Programme

Guest Speakers

 International Guest Speakers

Dr Xymena Kurowska – Central European University, Budapest


Xymena Kurowska is an IR theorist interested in interpretive policy analysis. She earned her doctoral degree from the European University Institute in Florence, Italy. Her research and writing concentrate on interdisciplinary approaches to security and international state-building, with the focus on EU’s security and border policies in EU’s Eastern Neighbourhood. She was a fellow of the European Foreign and Security Policy Studies Programme, conducting fieldwork research on border reform in Ukraine. She is the CEU principal investigator for “Global Norm Evolution and Responsibility to Protect”, a collaborative grant awarded to a consortium led by the Global Public Policy Institute in Berlin and encompassing institutions in Europe (CEU, Oxford University, the University of Frankfurt), Asia (Peking National University, J. Nehru University), and Latin America (Fundação Getulio Vargas, Brazil). Xymena has co-edited two books on European security and her work has appeared in numerous edited collections as well as leading IR Journals including Security Dialogue.

Dr Japhy Wilson – University of Manchester


Japhy Wilson completed his PhD in 2009 at the University of Manchester, where he subsequently worked as a Lecturer in International Politics until 2011. He is currently a Hallsworth Research Fellow in Human Geography, also at Manchester. His research explores the relationship between space, power and ideology in the global political economy, with a particular focus on the politics of social engineering. His PhD thesis and initial publications address the

contested production of space in southern Mexico. His current research concerns philanthrocapitalism and the politics of development in sub- Saharan Africa. Theoretically, he draws on historical materialism and the psychoanalytic critique of ideology, in order to critically engage with the power relations though which social space is imagined, produced, and transformed. Japhy is the co-editor of a forthcoming book on Spaces of Depoliticisation and Spectres of Radical Politics and his work has appeared in several edited collections as well as in leading political geography journals including Antipode and Society and Space.

Xymena Kurowska and Japhy Wilson will be presenting papers on the Keynote Panel at the 2nd Prague Security Conference
Saturday 04 May (1300 – 1430)

  • –  Xymena Kurowska & Benjamin Tallis – ‘Chiasmatic Crossings: Reflexive Research Encounters in Central & Eastern Europe’
  • –  Japhy Wilson – ‘Sabotaging Development: The Researcher as Lacan’s Objet Petit a