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.
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.
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.