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Archive 2008

Top Marks for the School of Politics, International Studies and Philosophy

The School of Politics, International Studies and Philosophy has performed extremely well in the 2008 National Student Survey. Of the Philosophy students surveyed, 88 percent agreed with the statement ‘Overall, I am satisfied with the quality of the course’. The satisfaction rating among Politics students was also extremely high, at 84 percent.

Professor Richard English, who is Acting Head of School, was extremely pleased with the results. ‘These are remarkably high levels of satisfaction with our teaching. It’s hard to think of any business, service provider, or organisation in the voluntary sector that wouldn’t be thrilled with satisfaction ratings of 84 percent and higher.’ Professor English believes that these results show that the effort the School puts into quality teaching is paying dividends in terms of appreciation by students: ‘the factors that seem to be most highly correlated with overall satisfaction are the enthusiasm of our staff and the creative and intellectually interesting nature of what we teach’.

For example, in the survey 85 percent of Politics students agreed that the ‘staff are enthusiastic about what they teach’ and 82 percent agreed that the Politics and International Studies courses are ‘intellectually stimulating’. The figures for Philosophy students are 93 percent and 88 percent respectively.

These very positive results are in line with the School’s own extensive analysis of student evaluations of teaching. The results are also consistent with the conclusions of a recent review of the School conducted in April 2008 by, among others, professors from the University of Strathclyde and the University of Bristol. The review ‘highly commended’ the School’s teaching and assessment and its educational strategy.

The School has recently made two major developments which should add even more to the quality of the student experience. A ‘Personal Tutoring’ system has been introduced which provides students with an individual ‘mentor’ who provides advice and assistance to students on an individual basis. Dr David Phinnemore, Director of Education, states that ‘this is a major innovation to provide personal assistance to students as they make their way through university life. We think that having an individual member of staff to whom each student can turn for personal help is particularly beneficial for incoming new students as it eases the transition from second level to third level education’.

Another major development at the School, relates the exciting new Politics, Philosophy and Economics (PPE) degree pathway that is coming onstream. Dr Andrew Baker, the convenor of PPE, says: ‘Now is exactly the right time for students to apply to study PPE at Queen’s. Given the enormously important questions raised by the current economic turbulence there’s probably no more relevant course than PPE for students who are currently filling in their university application forms’.

Gerry Mallon, Chief Executive of Northern Bank, agrees with Dr Baker: ‘The current crisis illustrates just how intertwined political, philosophical and economic issues are. The introduction of this degree at Queen’s could not be more timely.’

These developments, Professor English believes, will enhance even more the learning experience enjoyed by students at the School of Politics, International Studies and Philosophy and the School looks forward with confidence to maintaining the extremely positive student evaluations in the 2009 National Student Survey.

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The Belfast International Terrorism Workshop

16-17 January 2009

Queen’s University, Belfast (QUB)

Organizers: Professor Richard English, Kacper Rekawek, Jessie Blackbourn (QUB)

More information can be found here

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Women win the vote a 90th birthday commemoration

Dr. Yvonne Galligan, Queen’s University Belfast, is involved in a unique event in the Irish Dail on December 9th. On this day in  1918, Irish women cast their vote for the first time.  Past and present female members of the Oireachtas will gather to commemorate this important moment  in Ireland’s democratic history.  Almost 90 political women, one for each year of women’s franchise, have been contacted to take part in marking this historic occasion. The event will be hosted by independent Senator, Ivana Bacik, and is supported by the Ceann Comhairle, John O’Donoghue, TD.

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Conference on the topic of 'Transformation and the Dynamics of (Radical) Change'

The School of Politics, International Studies & Philosophy at Queen's University Belfast is pleased to announce that it will host a two-day conference on the subject of 'Transformation and the Dynamics of (Radical) Change' on November 28th/29th 2008.

Although transformation is a seemingly ubiquitous idea within the field of political theory and philosophy, the concept itself remains a ‘black box’: an axiom that is used frequently and in diverse ways, but lacks a background discourse to ground its value and meaning. The purpose of this conference will be to stimulate such a discourse.

For more information on the conference and the call for papers, click here, or contact the organizing committee at

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John Whyte Memorial Lecture

The John Whyte Memorial Lecture will take place on 20 November in PFC G07 at 5pm. The speaker will be Professor Tom Garvin of UCD and the title of his lecture is ‘Dublin Opinions’. The lecture will be followed by a reception in the Welcome Centre.

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World Philosophy Day Event

World Philosophy Day Event:  4 pm Thursday 20 November:  Visiting Lecturer (Dr Christopher Mole, UCD) will give a paper entitled “Illusions, Demonstratives, and the Zombie Action hypothesis” at 4 pm in Lanyon G9.

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In conjunction with the Royal Institute of Philosophy, Seminar Series Autumn Session 2008-09

The School of Politics, International Studies and Philosophy in conjunction with the Royal Institute of Philosophy presents a series of Philosophy Seminars in the autumn session 2008-09

Details of the programme are available here.


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Co-Tutelle PhD Research Studentships in the Philosophy and Politics of Recognition

Information on Co-Tutelle PhD Research Studentships in the Philosophy and Politics of Recognition is available here

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Conference, From Parnell to Paisley: Constitutional and Revolutionary Politics in Ireland, 1879 to 2008

The School of Politics is hosting a conference to bring together new research in a number of disciplines to explore constitutional and revolutionary politics in Ireland from Parnell to Paisley.

The conference will be held in the Institute of Irish Studies, 63 University Road, Queen’s University Belfast on the 5 - 6 September 2008. More information on the conference is available here, a flyer can be downloaded here and the programme is available here.

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2008 MA Busaries

The School is offering 30 MA bursaries, for students enrolling on a full-time basis on any of our postgraduate taught programmes.  The bursaries will be awarded on the basis of undergraduate degree results.

Which MA programmes are covered by these awards?

The School currently offers 10 MA programmes, and full details of each can be found here.  For September 2008 we are offering:  

5 bursaries of £2,500 for students applying to the MRes (Politics)

25 bursaries of £1,500 for students applying to any of our other MA programmes

1 Peel Prize award of £1,000 for a PISP undergraduate applying to either the MA in Cognitive Science or the MA in Political Philosophy

More information on the busaries is available here.

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2008 Research Studentships

The School of Politics International Studies and Philosophy is pleased to announce a number of research studentships for the academic year 2008/2009.  

Applications are invited for the following  7 awards: 

5 DEL studentships for home and EU applicants

2 University Studentships for International Students (non-EU)

Further information on the studentships can be accessed here. 

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Four new Postgraduate Awards for MAs in Gender and Society and Irish Politics

Sponsored by the Office of First Minister and Deputy First Minister, Gender Equality Section*

Applications are invited from students intending to pursue an MA in either Gender and Society  or Irish Politics for four new postgraduate awards. The bursaries are linked to five specific research topics on aspects of gender equality in Northern Ireland :

1.        The gendered nature of candidate selection in Northern Ireland

2.        Gender imbalances in the NI economy – causes and consequences

3.        Political trust among women and men in NI

4.        Influencing the political agenda - the case of commitments to alleviating severe child poverty in the Programme for Government

5.        Gender attitudes – differences and similarities across a decade of peace.

Further details of the research topics are available here.

Expressions of interest in competing for these awards should be accompanied by a 250 word statement indicating how one would set about researching the topic of choice. Intending students who have already been offered a School bursary are welcome to apply for these awards. If successful, only one award can be held. Only intending full-time students are eligible for these awards.

Applications for the MA gender equality awards along with a 250-word statement of research design  should be sent to the Postgraduate Secretary, Ms. Mary Emmerson ( ).

Closing date for applications is 15th August, Successful candidates will be informed by 8th September

*subject to final confirmation

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Dr. Alistair Clark presents lecture at prestigious Summer School at University of Ghent

Dr. Alistair Clark has been invited to present a lecture to the prestigious EUROLOC/ECPR Summer School in Local Government at University of Ghent on Thursday 26th June. The lecture, entitled ‘Between Multi-level and Network Governance: Research Methods, Reliability, Validity and Generalisability in the Study of Local Governance’, investigates the methodological opportunities presented by quantitative methods in this field of public policy research.

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Dr Dan Bulley wins PSA thesis prize

Dr Dan Bulley has been awarded the Political Studies Association’s Lord Bryce Prize for the best PhD dissertation in International Relations/Comparative Studies. The title of Dan’s thesis was ‘Ethics and Foreign Policy: Negotiation and Invention'.  The prize was awarded at the PSA Annual Conference, at the University of Swansea in April.

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Scholastic Philosophy Conference

The Queen’s University of Belfast

School of Politics, International Studies and Philosophy

Forthcoming Conference in connection with the Centenary of Queen’s (1908-2008) and of Scholastic Philosophy within it

The Irish Contribution to European Scholastic Thought

Venue: QUB   

Dates: Thursday 26 — Saturday 28 June 2008

The conference will be held under the academic auspices of the School of Politics, International Studies and Philosophy (QUB) and of the Irish Philosophical Society

Organisers:       Rev. Professor James McEvoy (QUB) and Dr Michael Dunne (QUB & NUIM)

Programme (to download click here)

Professor Shane O’Neill (Head of School): Introduction and Welcome

Formal Opening:                       H.E. Cardinal Cahal B. Daly

Part I: The Medieval Period

James McEvoy: Introducing Part I: Irish Scholastic Writers and Writings ca 1100-1530.

Catherine Kavanagh (M.I. College, UL): John Scottus Eriugena and the Uses of Dialectic

John Fleming (Bishop of Killala): Gille of Limerick (ca 1072-1145), an Irish Canonist

Michael Dunne: Petrus de Hibernia and Aristotelianism in Southern Italy

James McEvoy: Thomas de Hibernia, Anthologist of the Classical and Patristic Theories of Friendship

Michael Haren (Irish Manuscripts Commission): Richard Fitzralph of Dundalk, Oxford and Armagh: Scholar, Prelate and Controversialist

Ruairí Ó hUiginn (NUIM): Scholastic Terminology in Middle Irish (title to be finalized)

Part II: The Modern Period

Mette Lebech (President of the Irish Philosophical Society): Introducing Part II

Martin Stone (KUL, Leuven): Poncius’s Riposte: The Irish Dimension to Early Modern Scotism from Cauellus to Anthony Rourke

Alessandro M. Apollonio (Rome): Hugh McCawell (Hugo Cauellus) on the Knowledge of Individuals (trs M. Dunne)

Liam Chambers (M.I. College, UL): Michael Moore and his Contemporaries: Irish Scholastics in Early Modern France, ca 1650-ca 1750

Gavan Jennings (Secretary, IPS): Peter Coffey (1876-1943), Textbook Author and Social Critic (title to be finalized)

Concluding Lecture

Philipp Rosemann (U. of Dallas, Texas): The Future of Scholastic Thought

Email contact addresses: and

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Multi-disciplinary workshop on Cyprus and Divided Societies, May 20-21, 2008

Cyprus and Divided Societies

The International Politics and Ethnic Conflict Cluster, School of Politics, International Studies and Philosophy, and the Centre for Research in Political Psychology, School of Psychology at Queen's University Belfast in collaboration with the School of Planning, Architecture and Civil Engineering will host a multi-disciplinary workshop on Cyprus and Divided Societies on 20 -21 May 2008.

The workshop brings together younger and more established researchers interested in factors and processes which facilitate or hinder the resolution of inter-group conflict in Cyprus with researchers who are working on similar issues in different societies. It is part of the key events organised by Queen’s University, Belfast to celebrate its centenary anniversary and the 10 year anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement. It will be held a day prior to the Mitchell conference 'Moving on from Conflict: Lessons from Northern Ireland', 22-23 May 2008.

Keynote Speaker

  • Herbert Kelman, the Richard Clarke Cabot Professor of Social Ethics, Emeritus, at Harvard University, USA

The workshop will take place at the School of Psychology, David Keir Building ,

For further information please visit or contact Neophytos Loizides at

Organising Committee

  • Professor Evanthia Lyons, Centre for Research in Political Psychology, School of Psychology , QUB

  • Dr Neophytos Loizides, School of Politics, International Studies and Philosophy, QUB

  • Iosif Kovras, School of Politics, International Studies and Philosophy, QUB

  • Nikos Ilia, Centre for Research in Political Psychology, School of Psychology , QUB , Malone Road, Queen’s University Belfast, BT7 1NN.

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Student delegates to Global Peacebuilders Summit

A group of Masters students in Violence, Terrorism and Security will attend the Global Peacebuilders' Summit on 7th May 2008 at Belfast's Europa Hotel. The summit brings practitioners of peace building from around the world to Belfast for the 2 day event. Student delegates will be attending a variety of workshops which focus on practical steps and dimensions of transitioning from violence to peace in societies across the globe.

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Political Theory Research Group Seminar Series 2007/8

The School of Politics, International Studies and Philosophy will host a Political Theory Research Group Seminar Series 2007/8

All seminars take place in the Conference Room (20.103), School of Politics, International Studies & Philosophy, 21 University Square, QUB.

A full list of topics and speakers, is available on the Political Theory section of our site here.

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PISP Students achieve success at QUB Employability Skills Awards

PISP students are to be recognised for their success in completing a number of Employability and Careers-related courses provided by Queen’s Careers, Employability and Skills at the Student Guidance Centre. The students will receive certificates to mark their success at a special awards ceremony in the University’s Great Hall on Monday 12th May 2008. The awards will be presented by Prof. Ken Brown, and the students will be addressed by a guest speaker, Marie Hughes of Deloitte. The PISP students receiving certificates are:

Queen’s Work Experience Award -   Claire McLoughlin  
  Anne Pauli 
Insight into Management - Carolyn Chambers
Edel Fitzgerald
Matthew Comiskey
Lyndsey Leonard
Stephen Quigley
Anne Pauli
Career Management & Employability Skills – Ruth Allen
Developing Employability Skills – Damien McArdle

The School of Politics, International Studies and Philosophy would like to extend its congratulations to these students for successfully completing these important courses. 

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AHRC/ESRC-funded workshop on Conflict and Reconciliation

Cillian McBride is organising a workshop on ‘Conflict and Reconciliation’ as part of an AHRC/ESRC-funded project on Religion, Justice, and Well-Being

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School of Politics, International Studies and Philosophy presents a talk by Dr Rajeev Bhargava

School of Politics, International Studies and Philosophy presents a talk by Dr Rajeev Bhargava, Director, Centre for the Study of Developing Societies, University of Delhi.

Dr Bhargava will talk on the Indian Constitution and how it constrains majoritarian Hindu NationaIism?

The talk will be held in lecture Room 21.101, 21 University Square on Tuesday 26 February 1pm.

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The Royal Institute of Philosophy seminar

The School of Politics, International Studies, and Philosophy, under the auspices of The Royal Institute of Philosophy, is pleased to announce a seminar given by Professor Barry Smith (Birkbeck College, University of London) entitled ‘Relativism, Meaning and Truth: Predicates of Personal Taste.’ 

The seminar will be held in 19 University Square, Rm. 103, from 4-5:30 PM on the 21 February 2008

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The School of Politics, International studies and Philosophy is pleased to announce an Open Day for UCAS applicants holding offers for any of our degree pathways.  The Open Day will be on Friday February 29th, and applicants are welcome to bring a parent or guardian with them.  This will be the perfect opportunity for you to visit the Queen’s campus, and to hear more about the degree choice you have made, and the School in which you will be studying.  You will have the opportunity to meet several members of staff, and some of our current students.  For further information,  or to reserve a place, please contact Joanne Canavan at

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Sixth Form Essay Competition 2007/08

The School of Politics, International Studies and Philosophy invites sixth form students to participate in an essay competition.  There are 2 categories – one for AS level students, and one for A2 students.  There will be a winner and runner-up in each category.  Each winning entry will receive a prize of £200, and each runner-up will receive £100.  Winners and runners-up will be invited to an award ceremony at Queen’s.

Essay titles are:

AS Category

Is the St Andrews Agreement nothing more nor less than ‘the Good Friday Agreement in a kilt’?


In what respects has devolution improved the level and extent of ministerial accountability as compared with the direct rule regime?

A2 Category

‘Unlimited rule is necessarily tyrannical rule’. Discuss.


What distinguishes government based on might from government based on right?

How to enter:

  • Essays should be 1,500 - 2,000 (approximately), and should be typewritten.  Handwritten essays will not be accepted.
  • Essays should be sent to School of Politics, International Studies & Philosophy, Queen’s University Belfast, BT7 1NN, and the envelope should be clearly marked ‘6th Form Essay Competition’ in the top left hand corner.  Essays should be returned by Friday 4th April 2008.
  • All entrants must complete an entry form, available to download here.  The entry form must be returned together with the essay.  Essays without an entry form cannot be accepted.

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One-Day Conference on Northern Ireland beyond Crises: Is It Working?
Relaxing after the conference: Colin Irwin, Adrian Guelke, John Garry and Jon Tonge
Relaxing after the conference: Colin Irwin, Adrian Guelke, John Garry and Jon Tonge

The School of Politics, International Studies and Philosophy hosted a one-day conference on the theme of “Northern Ireland beyond Crises”.  The conference was sponsored by the ESRC’s New Security Challenges Programme, which had supported a research project in the School on the theme of “Interpreting the ongoing crisis in the Northern Ireland peace process in 2003-5.  The conference for an invited audience of academics, politicians, research students and figures from civil society created an opportunity to review and to debate the progress of the settlement achieved under the St Andrews Agreement.  It also provided an opportunity for the presentation of the latest research on the politics of Northern Ireland, from a variety of perspectives.  Speakers included the current chair of the Political Studies Association, Professor Jon Tonge, former Secretary General of the International Political Science Association, Professor John Coakley and Dr Stephen Farry, MLA.

Programme details are available here.


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The Politics of Recognition and the Dynamics of Social Conflict - An ESRC funded Seminar Series

Members of the Political Theory Cluster are coordinating an ESRC Seminar Series on the theme of ‘The Politics of Recognition and the Dynamics of Social Conflict’

More information can be found here or on the seminar series page.

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Philosophy graduates are suddenly all the rage with employers.

According to a recent article from The Guardian, philosophy graduates are being increasingly sought after by employers.  See the article here

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The International Politics and Ethnic Conflict (IPEC) Cluster presents a talk by Richard Jackson

The International Politics and Ethnic Conflict (IPEC) Cluster presents: A talk by Richard Jackson ‘Critical Terrorism Studies: A new Agenda for the Study of Political Terror?’

Richard Jackson is reader in International Politics, University of Wales, Aberystwyth and author of, Writing the War on Terrorism (2005), and founding editor of the journal, Critical Terrorism Studies.

The talk will be held on Thursday 17 April, 5 pm in Seminar Room 1 - Institute of Governance  63 University Road

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European Neighbourhood Scholarships

The Queen’s MA Programme in European Integration and Public Policy invites applications from eligible candidates wishing to be considered as nominees under the European Union’s recently announced scholarship programme for European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) countries and Russia.  Full details of the EU programme may be found here.  Details of the MA course may be found here.  Interested candidates should complete an online form for admission no later than 27 May 2008, and should ensure that all necessary supporting documentation (including transcripts, two academic letters of reference, and a CV in the Europass format) is sent so as to arrive no later than 31 May 2008.  Further information is available from the Course Director, Dr. Robert Harmsen, at  Please note that final decisions concerning the award of scholarships rest with the European Commission.

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Information on exciting Co-Tutelle studentship opportunity with Macquarie University, Sydney, in Philosophy and Politics of Recognition

The School of Politics, International Studies and Philosophy at Queen’s University, Belfast is pleased to announce this outstanding research opportunity. Applications are invited from students wishing to undertake doctoral research in the philosophy and politics of recognition, under the supervision of Professor Shane O’Neill at Queen’s and Associate Professor Nicholas Smith at Macquarie.

More information on this studentship is available here.

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