Institute of Political Science

News from the Research Cluster

On 14 May 2020, Gabi Schlag, together with Patricia Konrad (University of Hamburg) and Tina Rosner-Merker (University of Magdeburg), presented various tools and formats for the interactive design of synchronous as well as asynchronous online teaching in a workshop of the DVPW working group on university teaching. They provided insights into the teaching practice of a cross-location seminar in the field of peace and conflict research, which has been continuously developed since 2016. They outlined interactive elements of varying intensity and complexity and discussed the advantages and disadvantages of different tools and formats. A recording of the workshop is available on the DVPW website: https://www.dvpw.de/service/digitale-lehre/zoom-workshops/

From 17-21 February 2020 an excursion to Cyprus organised by Prof. Thomas Diez took place. The students had previously dealt intensively with the Cyprus conflict in a seminar. The excursion now offered the opportunity to deepen this knowledge and to form their own picture of the conflict. The students had the opportunity to discuss the developments of the Cyprus conflict and possible future scenarios in various meetings. On the agenda were discussions with activists, academics and NGOs, including the Peace Research Institute Oslo, the Goethe Institute and the Friedrich Ebert Foundation. Of particular interest was the meeting with the Foreign Minister of the Turkish Cypriots, Kudret Özersay.

From 11-14 February 2020, the Tübingen delegation to the National Model United Nations Conference in New York headed by Lea Augenstein undertook an excursion to Geneva. In discussions with staff from various UN bodies, the delegates were able to gain insights into the functioning of the UN system and benefit from detailed expert knowledge in preparation for the substantive work in their respective committees. The group visited the World Trade Organization, the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, the UN Refugee Agency, and the World Health Organization, among others.

On 28 January 2020, a student day on climate justice was organised by Prof. Thomas Diez and Dr. Franz von Lucke as part of the GLOBUS research project. The keynote was held by Prof. Chukwumerije Okereke, member of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Okereke examined the challenges of climate change from a justice perspective with a special focus on the Global South and discussed approaches to a more just climate policy.
Following Okerkeke's lecture, students presented posters they had created during a seminar on various aspects of climate justice. The three best posters were awarded a prize and the students will present them at a GLOBUS event in Bologna in May 2020.
Finally, an expert discussion on climate justice took place under the heading "Think Global, Act Local". Representatives from Fridays for Future, MyClimate Germany, the University of Tübingen, Stuttgart Airport and Tübingen's Mayor Boris Palmer took part in the discussion.

On 21 January 2020, Dr. Hylke Dijkstra (Maastricht University) gave a lecture on "Life and Death of International Institutions", in which he presented the preliminary results of his European Research Council funded project on this topic. Based on quantitative analyses, Dijkstra argued that international organisations that have a large bureaucratic apparatus rarely die or get replaced by others. This, according to Dijkstra, should be a cause for hope in view of the much-cited end of the liberal world order. Following his presentation, Dijkstra discussed the methodology of his research project and possibilities for further research with Prof Thomas Diez and students.

On 16 January 2020, Dr. Umut Bozkurt (Eastern Mediterranean University) and Dr. Maria Hadjipavlou (University of Cyprus) participated in a panel discussion on the future of the Cyprus conflict. As members of the Gender Advisory Team Cyprus and the Technical Committee on Gender Equality, Bozkurt and Hadjipavlou particularly addressed the chances of a stronger gender focus in the peace negotiations. Together with Prof Thomas Diez and students, they also discussed ways to strengthen the role of civil society in the peace process and the extension of the UN peace mission on the island.

On 9 January 2020, Professor Erol Kaymak (Eastern Mediterranean University) gave a presentation on the Turkish Cypriot perspective on the Cyprus conflict. Following his talk, Kaymak engaged in a discussion with students about the role of the EU in the Cyprus conflict and the potential impact of international recognition of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.

Excellent!
This year's 50,000 Euro teaching prize of the state of Baden-Württemberg goes to Alexander Kobusch, Dr. Thomas Nielebock, Natalie Pawlowski and Dr. Gabi Schlag (in alphabetical order). Together with colleagues* from the University of Freiburg, they were honoured on 4 December 2019 in Stuttgart Castle by Minister Theresia Bauer for their cross-location teaching project. Since the summer semester 2016, an annual seminar in cooperation with other university locations in the field of peace research / international relations has taken place under the auspices of the lecturers of the Institute of Political Science. Digitalisation and networks make it possible for teachers and students* to work together for one semester on a scientific topic, such as "Threats to peace in Europe" or "Dynamics, management and transformation of current secession conflicts". Get your own impression of the variety of seminar materials, e.g. expert videos, podcasts and much more.

On 25 November 2019, Prof. Thomas Diez took part in a panel discussion during the climate strike week at the University of Tübingen. Together with Prof. Kramer (general rhetoric), Prof. Trautwein (educational sciences) and Prof. Wiesing (medical ethics), he discussed the responsibility of science in the climate debate, the opportunities and challenges of climate change for democratic societies, and the effects of the climate crisis on international relations. There was consensus across the panel that climate change must play a greater role in science and university teaching.

From 8-10 July 2019 a mediation-simulation took place in Bad Urach under the direction of Dr. Gabi Schlag. In order to save the Iran nuclear agreement, 15 participants took over the roles of, among others, Frederica Mogherini, High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Mike R. Pompeo, US Secretary of State, and Mohammad Javad Zarif, Foreign Minister of the Islamic Republic of Iran. They were supported by three mediators. At the end of the eventful negotiations, all parties agreed on a common additional declaration: Joint Agreement of Action!

On 3 July 2019, Prof. Thomas Diez gave a lecture on "Power and Inclusion in the International Society" at the Departmental Seminar. In his lecture, he presented some basic conceptual thoughts on these concepts and their relation, and applied them to the example of the EU as a normative power.

On 2 July 2019, Lee Jarvis, Professor of International Politics at the University of East Anglia, gave a guest lecture as part of the lecture "Discourses of Security". In his presentation, Jarvis dealt with parliamentary debates on the proscription of terrorist organisations in the United Kingdom. He analysed how in these debates the liberal British identity is produced and reproduced by juxtaposing it with the illiberal and irrational identity of terrorist organisations. The regularity of this process lends a ritualistic character to the always successful proscription procedures. Jarvis then discussed with the students limits and further possible applications of his concept.

On 2 July 2019, Prof. Münevver Cebeci of the Marmara University Istanbul, gave a guest lecture entitled "Deconstructing Ideal Power Europe: The EU and the Arab Change". Cebeci analyzed how the EU constructs its self-understanding as a normative power and how this construction is reproduced in scientific literature, using the example of European reactions to the changes in the Arab world in 2010 and 2011. Cebeci stressed that she did not intend her work to evaluate EU policy from a normative perspective. However, her poststructuralist research offered a critical reading that made it possible to deconstruct the processes of identity construction in the political and academic discourse on EU foreign policy.

On 25 June 2019, Niklas Schörnig, Deputy Chairman of the Research Council of the Peace Research Institute Frankfurt, gave a presentation as part of the lecture "Discourses of Security". Schörnig defended a neorealist "narrow" concept of security. Referring to recent world political events and developments in the arms industry, he argued that the probability of interstate wars was increasing. According to Schörnig, preventing these wars was the central challenge, which is why widening the concept of security was problematic. Schörnig then engaged in an intensive exchange with the students, who critically discussed his arguments.

On 18 June 2019, Cynthia Petrigh, founder and director of "Beyond Peace", gave a presentation as part of the lecture "Discourses of Security". Through her company, Petrigh provides training and advisory services to armed forces, peacekeepers, and non-state armed groups on international humanitarian law, compliance with international norms, prevention of sexual violence, and investigation of human rights violations. She assists societies in transformation processes by supporting mediation efforts, dialogue initiatives, and promoting the participation of women in peace processes.
Petrigh provided detailed information on her work in various conflict areas, including Cameroon, Mali, the Philippines and the Central African Republic. She spoke in detail about the opportunities and challenges of integrating gender perspectives and awareness for human rights and humanitarian law into armed conflicts. In this regard Petrigh offered surprising insights into the practical cooperation with non-state armed groups.

On 17 June 2019, Prof. Thomas Diez gave as part of the Studium Generale lecture "The Return of the Sultan? On the Political Economy of Authoritarianism in Turkey", a presentation on the topic of "The European Union and Turkey". He analysed the development of relations between the EU and Turkey from the 1960s to the present. Diez described the current deadlock in the accession talks as the result of a dilemma: both sides were neither interested in serious negotiations nor in breaking off the talks, an imminent solution to this problem was not to be expected. Against this background, Diez pointed out the importance of civil society exchanges for a potential mutual rapprochement.

On 21 May 2019, Ben Tonra from University College Dublin gave a lecture on "Brexit and European Security" as part of the lecture "Germany and the EU in International Politics". Tonra dealt with the implications of Brexit for the European security architecture and the Common Security and Defence Policy of the EU. Tonra also gave a particularly vivid analysis of the consequences of the Brexit for the security of Ireland, warning against a renewed escalation of ethnic and religious conflicts on the island.

On 15 May 2019, Dr. Gabi Schlag gave a lecture at the IfP's Departmental Seminar entitled "Ignore or Delete? Governing graphic visual content on social media". She dealt with the EU's approach to the regulation of graphic-visual content uploaded, distributed and viewed on social media platforms. Gabi Schlag thus tried to answer the question of who has the authority and legitimacy to govern the Internet and what a legitimate regulation of graphic content should look like.

Also this year, a delegation from Tübingen took part in the National Model United Nations Conference, in New York, the largest worldwide. From 14-19 April 2019, the interdisciplinary group represented the Republic of Namibia. In addition to the intensive work in the committees, a visit to the Namibian UN representation was also on the agenda. The delegation was awarded numerous "Position Paper Awards" for its substantive preparation for the work in the individual committees. On the last day, some members of the delegation had the opportunity to address their committees in the plenary hall of the UN General Assembly. At the closing ceremony, the delegation from Tübingen was also honoured as a "Distinguished Delegation".

 

Bettina Ahrens discussed with pupils and citizens on 4 April 2019 about topics of the upcoming elections to the European Parliament in May. Together with different political parties’ representatives, the audience debated about uploadfilter as well as migration and Ahrens voiced her support for the current pupils’ engagement for climate.

From 11-16 March 2019, Thomas Diez and Bettina Ahrens organized the workshop “Identity and Conflict: Revisioning Relations in the EU-Neighbourhood” in Tbilisi, Georgia. Students from Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia and Germany worked on theories of nationalism and identity construction in the countries of the South Caucasus, reflected on the role of the European Union as well as Russia and worked on their intercultural communication skills. Together the students developed scenarios for the respective development of the countries including possible transformation of existing conflicts. The workshop was organized in cooperation with SSC Europe and funded by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD).

On 22 January 2019 Thomas Diez gave, as part of the Studium Generale lecture “Autonomy-Demands and Secession-Movements in Europe and the World”, a presentation on the case of Cyprus. He described the causes of the conflict and traced its course along various failed rapprochements of the conflict-parties. Finally, Thomas Diez sketched a possible concept to solve the conflict, which then was object of intense discussions.