Skip to Content

Event Listings

Annual Postgraduate Research Conference 2024

Movements and Their Discontents: Approaches to Contentious Politics and the Challenges to the Status Quo

June 19, 2024
Moot Court, School of Law, Main Site Tower, Queen's University Belfast
08:45 - 17:00

In a global age of social upheaval, political instability and environmental crisis, it is perhaps easier than ever for political and social movements to present a challenge to the status quo. In this context, how are political movements adapting? Are state actors becoming less tolerant of dissent from citizens? What does the future hold for civil resistance?

The Senator George J. Mitchell Institute for Global Peace, Security and Justice Postgraduate Research Conference 2024 features four panels, discussing themes of contentious politics, civil resistance, and state responses to socio-political movements. Attendance is free but registration in advance is crucial to guarantee your place.

Proceedings will begin with a keynote address from Professor Quassim Cassam, Dept. of Philosophy at the University of Warwick, followed by panel discussions and the presentation of papers, and closing remarks from Professor Richard English, Director of the Senator George J. Mitchell Institute For Global Peace, Security and Justice.



Liberation Philosophy

By Quassim Cassam.

In A Theology of Liberation, the Peruvian priest and theologian Gustavo Gutiérrez describes liberation theology as one which ‘does not stop with reflecting on the world, but rather tries to be part of the process through which the world is transformed’. Inspired by liberation theology, some philosophers in Latin America developed a ‘liberation philosophy’ that was intended to contribute to the liberation of the oppressed. However, these philosophers found it difficult to explain how their philosophy could be liberatory. One might prefer to think of philosophy as meliorative, as improving human lives, rather than as liberatory. In that case, the challenge is to explain how philosophy can be meliorative. This lecture will reflect on whether philosophy can or should try to be liberatory or meliorative and on what it would take for it to improve the human condition. A liberatory or meliorative philosophy must have a theory of change– a theory of how it can make a difference – and acknowledge the extent to which the guidance it offers must be co-created if it has to have any credibility. Above all, it must avoid simplistic and one-dimensional interpretations of notions like oppression and liberation. The mission of this lecture will be to develop a realistic theory of change for philosophy.


Lunch and refreshments will be provided throughout the day.


If you have any dietary requirements or access needs, please contact the Mitchell Institute in advance of the event at



8:45am - Registration opens

9:15am - Welcome and Housekeeping

9:20am - Keynote Address - Professor Quassim Cassam, Dept. of Philosophy at the University of Warwick

10:15am - 11:30am - Panel: Reaction? Restriction? Repression?: Responses to Contentious Events

11:45am - 1:00pm - Panel: Tactics, Strategies, and Building Resistance

1:00pm - 1:45pm - Lunch

1:45pm - 3:00pm - Panel: Approaches to Race, Ethnicity, and Intersectional Mobilisation

3:00pm - 3:20pm - Break

3:20pm - 4:35pm - Panel: Ties that Bind: Contentious Identities 

4:40pm - 5:00pm - Closing Remarks - Professor Richard English, Director of the Senator George J. Mitchell Institute for Global Peace, Security and Justice.



Approaches to Race, Ethnicity, and Intersectional Mobilisation

Chaired by Professor Marsha Henry; Secretary Hillary Rodham Clinton Chair in Women, Peace, Security and Justice at the Mitchell Institute.

  • Brianna Griesinger (Queen’s University Belfast) - From the Wiphala to the Pañuelo Verde: Indigenous and Feminist Mutual Support in a Time of Contentious Peruvian Social Movements.
  • Sydney Holt (Queen’s University Belfast) - Ignoring Race to Reach Equality? The Question of Ethnically Disaggregated Data Collection and the Contemporary Census.
  • Pearce Magee (Queen’s University Belfast) - ‘Anti-Lynch Bill Lynched!’: Congressional Apathy, Opposition, and the Defeat of Anti-Lynching Legislation in the Interwar Period.
  • Motez Bishara (University of Leicester) - Black Lives Matter in England Too: Analysing the progressive stages of anti-racism in English football.


Tactics, Strategies, and Building Resistance

  • Calum McGeown (Queen’s University Belfast) - (Non)violence and the struggle for a liveable planet – where next for the radical climate movement?
  • Innocent Kasiyano (SOAS) - The Battle Of And For The Youth: Activist Recruitment, Partisanship And Movement Building In Urban Zimbabwe.
  • Patrick Thompson (Queen’s University Belfast) - Parliamentary Activism: Civil Rights, the CDU and the weight of convention.
  • Abhishek Vyas (Brunel) - Educators as Nonviolent Activists: Articulating a Pedagogy of Nonviolent Action.


Ties that Bind: Contentious Identities

Chaired by Dr Peter McLoughlin; School of History, Anthropology, Philosophy and Politics.

  • Darren Colbourne (Queen’s University Belfast) - When the Whole World's Watching: Relational Mechanisms, New Left Publics, and Comparative Mobilisations in the People's Democracy and Students for a Democratic Society.
  • Eimhin O’Reilly (Maynooth University) - Thinking Global, Acting Local: Extractivism, Hybrid Citizenship and Community Governance in Rural Honduras.
  • Brendan McKee (Queen’s University Belfast) - Nationalist Movements in the UK: Towards a Theory on Secessionism.
  • Sivahn Sapirstein (Queen’s University Belfast) - Reactionary vs. Reform: The Diverging Paths of Diasporic Influence in Northern Ireland and Israel/Palestine.


Reaction? Restriction? Repression?: Responses to Contentious Events

  • Meem Arafat Manab (Dublin City University) - Analyzing University Reactions to Student Movements in the Palestinian Conflict: The Response-Counter-Response of Higher Education Institutions.
  • Cara Pritchard (Queen’s University Belfast) - The Slippery Slope of Protest Restriction: Investigating Attitudes and Psychological Impacts in Democracies.
  • Sara Bird (King’s College London) - Contentious politics: British Strategic Communications in Afghanistan.
  • Kathryn Cribben (Queen’s University Belfast) - Cross Border Policing on the island of Ireland against paramilitaries.


School of History, Anthropology, Philosophy and Politics
School of Law
School of Social Sciences, Education and Social Work
The Senator George J Mitchell Institute for Global Peace, Security and Justice
Add to calendar