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By Dr Federico Faloppa, Lecturer in Italian Studies

This is the first in a series of blogs exploring key issues ahead of the Italian General Election. The series is being curated by Dr Federico Faloppa and will include perspectives from academics in Modern Foreign Languages and Politics and International Relations from the University of Reading on the key issues on the 2018 General Election.


Irish Naval personnel from the LÉ Eithne (P31) rescuing migrants as part of Operation Triton

Ahead of the General Election that will take place on 4 March this year, President Sergio Mattarella urged all parties to keep their electoral promises realistic, practical and responsible, and notably, to calm down.

In his New Year’s speech, Mattarella attempted to remind the campaigning parties, and the general public, that jobs and the economy are “the primary and most serious social issue, especially for the young.”

However, it seems that the advice has fallen on deaf ears. Not only are Italian election campaigns dominated by unfulfillable promises, but they are also presenting immigration as Italy’s biggest concern: the perfect scapegoat not to tackle the real problems of the country, and to cover for main parties’ political failure to offer Italians decent socio-economic prospects. Read the rest of this entry »

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‘Suburban Relapse: British Punk and the Politics of Boredom’ – a seminar by Matthew Worley (Reading)

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Suffrage is arguably the most important single event in women’s history; despite popular conception it was not a fight for freedom, it was the campaign for equal citizenship waged by men and women across the class divide and the political spectrum. The refusal of the law to allow women to take part directly in political life relegated them to often disparate lobbyists and pressure groups, leaving the decision to grant the vote at the mercy of sympathetic individuals and the political priorities of the parliamentary parties. This lecture will consider the parliamentary politics, the campaigns and divisive issues of class, marriage and militancy that fractured the suffrage movement and ultimately, we will ask the question – is this best described as first wave feminism?

Dr Jacqui Turner is a Lecturer in Modern History and Director of Outreach at the University of Reading. Her present research examines the contribution of female pioneers in politics and early female MPs. Jacqui currently works with Parliament on the Vote100 Project, BBC Radio 4 and the Smithsonian. In 2019 she will manage the Astor100 project celebrating the centenary of women sitting in the House of Commons.

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By Dr Mark Shanahan, Lecturer in Politics and International Relations

Deep Space Gateway in lunar orbit as proposed in 2017

This week, in the run-up to World Space Week, NASA announced a long-term co-operation project with Roscosmos, the Russian space agency to develop the Deep Space Gateway, a manned space station orbiting the moon.

The US agency sees this project as a stepping stone towards a manned mission to Mars. While of course there’s no detail, no dates and no certainty that this project has any more certainty than the mirage of the Southern border Wall, it’s a quite different take on space exploration by the Trump administration. Read the rest of this entry »


The Fate of the West

The Decline and Revival of the World’s Most Successful Political Idea

Bill Emmott, former editor of the Economist

 Free entry. No reservation necessary.

The idea of ‘the West’ has underpinned our prosperity and security for over seven decades. It stands for democratic institutions and values, a rules-based system of steadily freer trade, and a common European and Atlantic defence through NATO. Now it is under threat from within, as national-populists from Budapest to Washington seek not more democracy but authoritarian rule, not freer trade but protectionism, not common security but narrow national interest.

This is the alarming context in which the UK general election is taking place. Few people are better placed to analyse it than Bill Emmott, who presents his new book The Fate of the West at the University of Reading’s Van Emden Theatre on Tuesday 9 May at 7PM. Bill Emmott was editor of the Economist for thirteen years, has dissected the malaise of countries as distant as Japan and Italy, and is currently an independent writer and consultant, contributing to a wide range of publications and blogs including In Facts. He is joint founder of the Wake Up Foundation, a charity dedicated to using film, text and data for public education about the decline of Western societies. But The Fate of the West is not a cry of despair; rather, it is a tool kit for those of us who want to see Western values revive and prevail.


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Reading Interdisciplinary Research Network for the Study of Political History & Politics in America

This is a one day conference to mark the launch of the new reading Interdisciplinary research network – The Monroe Group for the study of politics in the Americas.

The Monroe Group, is designed to encourage dialogue between scholars in the arts, humanities, social sciences and sciences working on all aspects of politics in the American continent. It has been developed in response to recent expansion of staff and student recruitment working in the field of US and Latin American politics at the University of Reading.

The Monroe Group will be home to existing UoR researchers and PhD students working in this area and will facilitate new collaborative projects, research grants applications and teaching development across all disciplines, including

  • US foreign policy
  • Climate Change Diplomacy
  • Gender, Diversity and Inclusion
  • Representations, Rhetoric and Media
  • Policy

Book your place here.


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The School of Politics, Economics and International Relations would like to invite you to the launch of

Under the Shadow

A 54 minute documentary by Fiona Lloyd-Davies

Followed by a discussion panel with:

  • Fiona Lloyd-Davies
  • Vava Tampa, Congolese political youth activist
  • Sarah Blakemore, Director of Keeping Children Safe
  • Chaired by Dr Georgina Holmes, University of Reading

One woman leads Congo’s rape survivors to find healing, independence and justice through working together in the field.  But can these women escape the shadow cast by this threat of sexual violence and will the spectre of justice bring hope and resolution? We hear extraordinary confessions from soldiers who have raped women and then witness inside the court room as others are tried for this crime, the ultimate weapon of war. This immersive, observational film was made over four years, taking the viewer inside a woman’s ultimate nightmare, to show how the human spirit is impossible to defeat.

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Michaela Bergman, Chief Counsellor for Social Issues at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development

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The Department of Politics and International Relations invites you to join them on Friday February 3 as the Speaker of the House of Commons, the Rt Hon John Bercow MP joins Dr Mark Shanahan and RUSU President Ben Cooper in conversation.

With everything from Brexit, to PMQs via reforming the Commons to the renovation of the Palace of Westminster on the agenda, there’ll be much to chew over – and plenty of opportunity for you to get involved as organisers invite questions from the floor.

The event will run from 6.30-7.30pm and will be held in the Van Emden Lecture Theatre.

The event will be ticketed – but tickets are free and you can register here.

Please contact Dr Mark Shanahan m.j.shanahan@reading.ac.uk if you would like any more information about the event.

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By Dr Ruvi Ziegler – lecturer in law and researcher of citizenship and electoral rights at the School of Law, University of Reading

The Supreme Court will determine on Tuesday whether the Government have power to give notice pursuant to Article 50 of the Treaty on EU of the UK’s intention to withdraw from the EU without an Act of Parliament providing prior authorisation to do so. The PM has announced that she intended to ‘trigger’ Article 50 before the end of March 2017.

Many may ask: what difference will the ruling actually make?

Euro coin

Brexit ruling: on which side will the Supreme Court come down?

Read the rest of this entry »

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