Institute of Political Science

Events in the Research Cluster

On December 6 2023, we had the pleasure of welcoming Pınar Bilgin from Bilkent University, Ankara, to our Departmental Seminar. She gave a lecture on "Thinking Globally about (the Study of) Security", on which she is currently working for a book with Karen Smith. She began by highlighting the Eurocentric limitations in which International Relations Studies find themselves trapped. These Eurocentric tendencies have been discussed for over 30 years, but the breadth of information from the Global South is still largely not utilised. Bilgin cited various examples from the literature, such as Said, Spivak and Mignolo, to support her thesis and argued that thinking globally necessarily entails reading 'globally'. Critical Security Studies is confronted with the same limitations. Using examples from security policy, she presented three central dynamics: the relationship of  'Self' and 'Other', the material dislocation of resources and the lack of knowledge about 'multiple beginnings' (learning). According to Bilgin, the discussion about Eurocentrism is not about situatedness, but about constituted effects.

On November 20, 2023, we had the pleasure of welcoming Michał Krzyżanowski as our guest speaker at the Departmental Seminar. As one of the leading international scholars in critical discourse studies, Krzyżanowski’s lecture concerning the discourses and practices of the “New Normal”: Crisis, The Far-Right & the Normalisation of Anti- and Post‑Democratic Action" explored the very specific details of his work. Michał touched upon various current developments in Europe – the wave of far-right in Eastern Europe which is now developing even more in Western Europe. By bringing up examples of the Netherlands, Poland, United Kingdom, and a case study of Sweden, he introduced the idea of normalisation as a political concept, the discursive shifts, linearity and oscillation logic in normalisation processes, the issue of moral panics, the concept of borderline discourse and conceptual flipsiding, among others. Moreover, Michał also discussed how politicians construct and utilise proxy discourses, for example, the “again” discourse and the typically “utopian” vision of countries in the past. He highlighted the importance of considering where exactly the voices of such discourses come from. According to Krzyżanowski, connecting discourse to practice in normalisation research theoretically and empirically should focus on wider social ontology and anchorage of illiberal ideologies on the one hand, and political mainstreaming of the far-right on the other. He highlighted that normalisation is not just a rhetorical ‘by-product’, but a discursive political strategy which supports the illiberal dismantling of liberal democracies.

On November 8, 2023, we welcomed Prof. Annika Björkdahl from Lund University, Sweden, to our Departmental Seminar. She gave a lecture on "The Spatial Turn in Peace & Conflict Studies: Peacebuilding, Agency and Knowledge". Björkdahl began by discussing the significance of the spatial turn, which shows that the organization of space has a significant influence on the structure and function of peace and war. The spatial approach poses the question of "where" peace takes place, which also goes hand in hand with questions of belonging and a new understanding of peace, away from its state-centric definition. She then presented some personal research examples, such as the Sarajevo Roses, the buffer zone in Cyprus or the Bosnian Day of Remembrance. In all of these "places", she was particularly interested in how (im)material legacies of conflict are transformed into places and spaces of peace.  Knowledge production also plays a central role here, influencing peace and peacebuilding with its epistemic power. Peace must be understood as "situated knowledge".

On the 25th of October, as part of the MAPIR Keynote 2023, Dr. habil. Simone Wisotzki from the Peace Research Institute Frankfurt gave a lecture “Is Feminist Foreign Policy Just Another Label? How To Realize a Gender-Just Peace.” During the panel, she talked about the reasons why states choose Feminist Foreign Policies (FFP), gender blindness and male domination in the decision-making processes. Dr. habil. Wisotzki also touched upon feminism broadly, concentrating on the intersectional way of understanding feminism. Countries following the FFPs were presented and compared to each other, moreover, there was an extensive presentation and critique of Germany’s FFP features. Dr. habil. Wisotzki also brought up the Women, Peace and Security agenda and compared it to the FFP, discussing their successes and the main differences between these two major strategies. Lastly, she highlighted the idea of theorising feminist peace – peace from a gender perspective, and violence from a feminist perspective (the “continuum of violence”). Dr. habil. Wisotzki raised the question of whether these theories can help the discourse or if they are merely labels. The panel was followed by a lively Q&A session, with questions concerning the ideological background of FFP, different types of feminism, Germany’s arms export to Ukraine in context with FFP, the issue with the budget dedication to gender-sensitive subjects, etc.

On July 5, 2023, we had the pleasure of welcoming Senem Aydın-Düzgit as our guest speaker at the Departmental Seminar. Aydın-Düzgit, a distinguished Professor of International Relations at Sabancı University and Senior Scholar and Research Coordinator at the Istanbul Policy Center, delivered an enlightening lecture entitled “The Resilience of Authoritarian Populism: Lessons from Turkey's Pivotal Elections.”

During her presentation, Professor Aydın-Düzgit provided valuable insights into the persistent resilience of populistic authoritarian governments. She began by contextualizing the elections, outlining the party structures and presenting detailed information about the election results. Exploring how the Turkish government, despite facing multiple crises prior to the elections, maintained its resilience, she highlighted several key factors. These included the government's capture of state and market mechanisms, its skillful employment of post-truth politics, and the deep polarization existing within the country. Aydın-Düzgit also drew attention to the government's narrative surrounding the economy, its shift towards nationalism, and the emergence of techno-nationalism in Turkey. Furthermore, she emphasized that Turkey's expanding relations with nations worldwide signify a diminishing leverage of the West over the country.

The thought-provoking talk concluded with a summary of the lessons gleaned from the recent elections – the need for the severance of nationalism, the curious role of the conflicts that are surrounding Turkey and the significance of the geopolitical stance adopted by the Turkish government. The panel was followed by a plethora of questions from the audience, expanding on a variety of topics, including the role of legitimacy in Erdogan’s strategy, the gender issue, the potential of opposition, the diaspora’s role in the elections, etc.

On 30 January 2023, we welcomed Maria Hadjipavlou (University of Cyprus) and Ahmet Sözen (Eastern Mediterranean University), to an open panel debate “Conflict Resolution in Cyprus: Where To?”. The panel was part of the seminar “Cyprus: A Conflict at the Crossroads”, led by Thomas Diez. The speakers discussed the current situation in Cyprus and evaluated it by bringing forward the recent events that have predominantly influenced the deadlock of the negotiations. The guests shared the insights gathered through years of work with Track II, the UN, and civil society. While discussing the plausibility of future negotiations, the speakers engaged with the topics of blame-game as one of the policy methods for each of the sides; the so-called “recognition paranoia” and the concept of engagement without recognition. One of the main distinctions of the panel was the fact that the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot perspectives were both represented. Hadjipavlou and Sözen shared hope in the young generation of both sides, however, there was doubt about whether its potential is enough for conflict resolution. The panel was followed by a plethora of questions from the audience, expanding on a variety of topics, including the role of civil society, peace education, the upcoming elections in Cyprus and Turkey, ontological security, gender lens etc.

On 25 January 2023, we were honoured to welcome Ayşe Zarakol as our guest speaker at the Departmental Seminar. Professor of International Relations at the University of Cambridge and a leading figure in the field, Zarakol presented her book ‘Before the West: The Rise and Fall of Eastern World Orders’. In this book, she challenges the conventional Western-centric view of history in international relations scholarship and offers a new interpretation of the historical trajectory of Eastern world orders and their interactions with the West. Through her examination of three Eurasian world orders, Zarakol shows that the concept of sovereignty was not unique to early modern Europe, as it had existed in Asia prior to the establishment of the Westphalian order. Her meta-historical account of these world orders also considered environmental and structural factors, such as pandemics, climate change and population shifts, as contributing factors to their decline rather than focusing solely on internal political dynamics. Zarakol's engaging lecture offered a fresh perspective on the history of international thought and encouraged us to rethink some fundamental concepts and debates in IR. 

On 18 January 2023, we welcomed Jochen Kleinschmidt, post-doctoral fellow at the Catholic University of Eichstätt-Ingolstadt, to our Departmental Seminar. He continued the lecture series after the Christmas break with the topic of "Retrofuturistic Realism: The Theoretical Aestheticization of Great Power Competition". He defined Retrofuturistic Realism as an aestheticisation in which the present is interpreted as the fulfilment of those Realist prophecies that predicted a post-Cold War power struggle between the Great Powers. In order to explain this concept, the term 'restorative nostalgia' and the growing importance of the concept of time in International Relations were discussed, before Dr Kleinschmidt then presented publications by various Realist scholars and elaborated on their Retrofuturistic tendencies. For instance, he presented John J. Mearsheimer's more recent publications as problematic in that they use a Retrofuturistic interpretation of our present to legitimise a return to authoritarian structures. To illustrate these ideas, he concluded by aptly describing Retrofuturistic Realism as the "cynical zombie" of  the actual Realist IR Theory. 

As part of the Departmental Seminar, Teach@Tuebingen Fellow Barbara Gruber gave a talk on 23 November 2022 on the topic of "'Affective Discipline in Disciplining Affect - Resilience in Radicalisation Prevention", which she is also researching as part of her doctoral thesis. Using radicalisation prevention programmes in Germany and the Netherlands as examples, she showed how primary and secondary prevention work and complement each other. In doing so, she also addressed differences in the programmes of both countries, which in the Netherlands, for example, can also be compulsorily prescribed, but in Germany can only take place with the consent of the individual at risk. She also explained the importance of language which is used in the context of these preventive measures and which is mostly affective, but can also become more "disciplining" in the context of secondary prevention. You can read more about Barbara Gruber's work here.


On 02 November 2022, Cengiz Gunes gave a lecture as part of the Departmental Seminar. Titled ‘The Kurds in a Changing Middle East’, it discussed the Kurds’ rise as new regional actors and their impact on the regional order. Notwithstanding a strong sense of shared identity amongst Kurdish communities and a plethora of unifying symbols and myths that serve to strengthen these bonds, Cengiz identified the lack of large-scale political cooperation as a defining feature of Kurdish political activism across the region. Building on this observation, he dedicated the remainder of his talk to discussing the dynamics of Kurdish politics in Iraq, Turkey, Syria and Iran, respectively. Recent developments in these countries suggest that ‘the Kurdish Moment’ in the Middle East has stalled, if not already passed. Cengiz Gunes is a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Postdoctoral Fellow at our research cluster. You can read more about his work here.

On 26 October 2022, we welcomed Juha Vuori, Professor of International Politics at the University of Tampere (Finland), to Tübingen. He kicked off this semester’s Departmental Seminar with a presentation of his forthcoming monograph on ‘Chinese Macrosecuritisation’. To advance our theoretical understanding of these processes, he analysed the influence of four major macrosecuritisation discourses on domestic discussions and policies in China: The Cold War, climate change, the anti-nuclear movement and the ‘Global War on Terrorism’. In doing so, he uncovered the dynamics of dismissal, translation and transformation underlying the dissemination of these discourses in China. According to Juha Vuori, analysing these patterns reveals important insights into a hitherto sidelined aspect within the (macro)securitisation literature: Instances in which securitisations do not take place despite all likeliness. 

As part of the MAPIR Keynote 2022, Prof. Dr Susanne Buckley-Zistel gave a lecture on 'Origins and Effects of Narrating Sexual Violence - Knowledge Production in Transitional Justice Institutions' on 20 October. As part of a research project at the University of Marburg, she examined the concluding reports of several truth commissions, which have only recently put sexual violence in conflicts on their agenda. With Liberia, Sierra Leone and Kenya as case studies, she showed how sexual violence was described and justified in these contexts. Specifically, she applied the three narratives Instrumentality, Unreason, and Mythology to the commissions' final reports, which reflected them using at times very graphic examples. Using the method of narrative analysis to examine the reports, it was argued that knowledge production equals power and that the commissions used this power to construct a certain narrative about sexual violence. Lastly, Prof. Buckley-Zistel also addressed the problematic tendency of these accounts to reflect not the agenda of the victims, but that of the experts involved in the creation process of the reports.

As part of the Departmental Seminar, Dr. Sarah Clowry gave her inaugural lecture on the topic ‘Reconciling the Rift: International Mediation and Identity’ on 13 July 2022. Her talk interrogated whether, and if so how, international mediation might shape the identities of the conflict parties. Proceeding from the position that identities are socially constructed, she examined two contemporary instances of mediation: the early UN-led efforts in relation to the Syrian civil war and the initial phases of the peace process launched to solve the crisis in Yemen. She argued that mediators and conflict parties, in partnership or in opposition, can reimagine the identities of the conflict parties within, and in response to, mediation. Mediation can operate as an arena in which identities are reconstructed while the very occurrence of mediation can trigger and fuel processes of identity reconstruction. Furthermore, according to Sarah Clowry, the practice of mediation, and in particular the norms promoted through and contained within it, can serve to reconstruct identities. 

To help students come to terms with recent developments in and around Ukraine, the University of Tübingen teamed up with the Universities of Freiburg, Magdeburg, Marburg and Mainz to offer a cross-site seminar on “The Russian-Ukrainian conflict: root causes, dynamics and approaches to conflict management.” It was taught jointly by five lecturers from these universities in cooperation with selected German, international and Ukrainian experts. From our end, the seminar was led by Gabi Schlag. The aim was not just to talk “about” the war in Ukraine but also to engage with Ukrainian scholars, experts and social voices. For this purpose, Georgiy Kasianov, Lisa E. Gaufman, Maria Malksöo, Helena Legarda, Tatjana Zhurzhenko, Tetyana Malyarenko, Tetiana Kalenychenko and José Pascal da Rocha were invited to give keynote speeches and engage in discussions with the students. 

On Tuesday, July 12, 2022, we were pleased to welcome Toni Haastrup, Professor in the Department of International Politics at the University of Stirling, online as part of the seminar 'Germany and the EU in International Politics'. She is one of the leading professors in the field of Africa-EU relations and gave a lecture on 'Unpacking Contemporary Africa-EU Relations'. From a feminist and postcolonial perspective, she interpreted current Africa-EU relations as a continuation and manifestation of colonial relations characterised by exploitation and inequality. Adding the concept of ontological security, it would become even clearer that the EU uses this form of relations to secure its self-image. This is not to say that the relationship has not changed drastically in recent years. The EU increasingly sees Africa as a security partner rather than just an economic trading partner. Africa, on the other hand, no longer wants to accept this asymmetrical relationship and is turning to other partners such as China. This, in turn, would unsettle the EU in its self-image.

On 29 June 2022, Jana Hönke gave a lecture on ‘Africa’s Multiple Globalities: Chinese Companies and Practices of Securing Economic Infrastructure’ as part of the Departmental Seminar. Hönke is a Professor of Sociology of Africa at the University of Bayreuth. She currently directs the ERCINFRAGLOB project Africa’s Infrastructure Globalities and is co-editor of Security Dialogue and the Spaces of Peace, Security and Development book series. In her talk, she urged for a more pluralistic and procedural understanding of the global order and, in this context, provided a threefold criticism of the existing literature on China-Africa relations. According to Jana Hönke, the predominance of value-laden judgments concerning China’s engagement in Africa and its framing as a competitor to the US and the West significantly limits the scope of analysis by focusing primarily on (Chinese) state actors, downplaying African agency and thereby overlooking the actual dynamics on the ground. To capture the multi-layered and complex nature of Chinese engagement in Africa, she advocated for a micro-scale approach, arguing that infrastructure projects and practices in particular lend themselves to an analysis of local dynamics. Her lecture was followed by a lively discussion with the audience. 

On 28 June 2022, we had the pleasure of welcoming Bahar Rumelili, Professor at the Department of International Relations at Istanbul’s Koç University and a leading scholar of ontological security theory, to Tübingen. As part of an open lecture titled ‘Security as Identity – Recent Advances in Ontological Security Studies’, she reviewed the concept of ontological security and its application in the field of International Relations. After tracing the notion’s origins, she provided an overview of the various ways IR scholars have applied the theory to generate new insights into conflict and conflict resolution, foreign policy analysis, the study of identity and emotions, and many more. Highlighting her own research on the theoretical link between ontological (in)security and anxiety, she further explained how peoples’ or states’ attachment to certain routines and identity narratives might thwart attempts at conflict resolution since the prospect of peace may endanger their sense of continuity and thus create more anxiety than adhering to the certainties of the status quo would. Against this backdrop, Bahar Rumelili concluded that ontological insecurity might nevertheless be necessary for radical change.

For the 24th time, the University of Tübingen sent a delegation to the National Model United Nations (NMUN) Conference, which took place in New York from 3 to 8 April. This simulation of various United Nations (UN) committees provided students with an authentic insight into the workings of the UN and the world of diplomacy. In 2020, the annual conference could not take place for the first time since World War 2 due to the Covid-19 crisis. This made it all the more enjoyable to travel to New York again this year to represent Venezuela in a total of nine committees. In these committees, the students discussed numerous interrelated problems such as climate change, war, economic inequalities and the violation of human rights, of course also against the background of the Covid 19 pandemic. After months of preparation in two seminars and several rehearsal simulations (including the Tübingen Model United Nations), the conference began on April 3 with the Opening Ceremony and Agenda Setting on Day 1, after which participants formed Working Groups over the next few days to work on Working Papers, which eventually became Draft Resolutions and were adopted as Resolutions in the Voting Procedure on Day 4. This year, the participation of Tübingen was again successful, and the entire delegation was awarded the Distinguished Delegation Award for their appearance and authentic representation of Venezuela. In addition, the Tübingen delegation was able to win 2022 UNEA and UNESCO Position Paper Awards, which are given separately for each committee.

On May 18, 2022, Aidan Gnoth presented findings and conclusions from his doctoral dissertation at the Departmental Seminar. Titled "Critiquing Criticality in International Peacebuilding," he traced how the critical stream of peace research is not as critical as it postulates. In doing so, he examined how and who writes about peace research through coding numerous articles, a subsequent network analysis, and expert interviews. From this analysis, he found that criticism consisted of critiquing systems and approaches rather than drawing alternatives to those systems. In a next step, Aidan Gnoth tried to explain what caused such a development. In this context, he viewed the neoliberal functioning of academia as a major problem. According to him, it is problematic that citations and publications are seen as the value of the academic world because publishing cannot change the world - for this, one has to go out into the non-academic world. What strategies for this could look like and how they could be implemented was discussed in a subsequent Q&A session.

On May 4, 2022, the second Departmental Seminar took place in the form of a panel discussion on the topic "Russia's War in Ukraine - A Watershed for German Politics?". Experts with a wide range of backgrounds were invited to participate: From the Institute of Political Science, Hans-Jürgen Bieling, Thomas Diez, Andreas Hasenclever, Hendrik Quest and Josefine Kurt were present. Anne Kruck, consultant for peace education approaches at the Berghof Foundation, completed the panel. Under the moderation of Gabi Schlag, the discussion focused on whether and to what extent the Russian invasion of Ukraine is causing a turning point in German foreign and security policy. 

The Departmental Seminar is back! ‘Aggression, War, Prospects for Peace: Russia, Ukraine & European Order’ was the title of the inaugural event held on 27 April 2022. Three highly distinguished researchers joined us for this special occasion: Elizaveta Gaufman, Assistant Professor of Russian Discourse and Politics at the University of Groningen, Yuliia Kurnyshova, Researcher at the Institute of International Relations at Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv and Andrey Makarychev, Professor of Regional Political Studies at the University of Tartu’s Johann Skytte Institute of Political Science. Together with moderator Thomas Diez, they discussed the origins of the war and its subsequent evolution through different theoretical and conceptual lenses. In this context, all three panelists highlighted the importance of belief systems in understanding Russia’s recent foreign policy choices: Yuliia Kurnyschova pointed to the frequent utilisation of historical analogies to justify the war. Andrey Makarychev argued that mythological beliefs prevailed over rational calculations and that Russian foreign policy, in general, is backward rather than forward-looking. Elizaveta Gaufman traced the evolution of public perceptions of the conflict through Russian social media. By drawing on ontological security theory, she offered an explanation as to why many Russians struggle to come to terms with the war. The panellists also discussed the use of heteronormative concepts of femininity and masculinity as discursive instruments to legitimise the war: Notions of Ukraine being a subordinate entity and an integral part of the Russian family that has strayed from the right path and thus requires saving by the patriarch are seen to be both a tool for political legitimisation and a genuine belief held by Russian elites. However, while this vision may be influential domestically, its realisation has now become a distant prospect. As pointed out by Yuliia Kurnyshova, the war has instead led to a major consolidation of the Ukrainian nation. 

It goes without saying that the impact of Russia’s attack on Ukraine is also deeply felt within Tübingen. To this end, Thomas Diez participated in a panel discussion titled "The End of Peace" organised by the Konrad Adenauer Foundation in cooperation with the German-American Institute in Tübingen on 14 March. Together with his co-panellist Klaus Gestwa, Professor of Eastern European History at the University of Tübingen, and the moderator Dr. Thomas Gijswijt, foreign policy expert at the American Studies Department, he reflected on the significance of the Ukraine war for the future of the global and especially the European order. The topics covered included the role of economic interdependencies and the reliance on Russian oil and gas imports, the likelihood of a NATO intervention and China’s stance on the war of aggression. In this context, the experts gave an insight into Russia’s foreign policy identity and geopolitical ambitions. Considering the demands made by some realist IR scholars in this regard for the recognition of a Russian sphere of influence, they also discussed whether a neutral status for Ukraine would be a viable or even a desirable solution. The event was recorded and is available in German on Youtube.

As part of Dr. Gabi Schlag's introductory peace studies course, students got creative and created podcasts in small groups. Students voted on the best podcast of the MAPIR class of 2021/22. The winner was the podcast on "Memory Politics and Reconciliation" by (in alphabetical order) Meha Kaul, T Nejra Lilić, Timo Jules Dominique Roujean and Sebastian Stam - congratulations!

This year's MAPIR Keynote was held on October 28, 2021. It was given by Stefanie Kappler, Professor of Conflict Resolution and Peacebuilding at Durham University. Under the title "Peace & Memory - Curating the Past for the Present", she shed light on the role of dealing with the past in societies that have lived through a severe conflict. In particular, she addressed the tense relationship between the goal of supporting societies in their reconstruction and the goal of combating the causes of conflict, which can be found in many peacebuilding approaches. She linked this to the question of which actors should and must be involved in this process of (re)construction and how experienced suffering, painful memories and residual trauma should be dealt with. Stefanie Kappler's lecture ended with a clear plea for a consistent confrontation with the past and, in the course of this, referred to three particularly important aspects: The suffering of the victims must be acknowledged, there needs to be an open approach to memories of past events that differ from one another, and peace is necessarily always linked to demands for justice. In this sense, Stefanie Kappler highlighted the important connection between the academic disciplines of Memory Studies and Peace and Conflict Studies. While the former discipline examines how the past is remembered, the latter discipline offers the complementary perspective of how this way of remembering influences contemporary conflicts.

On July 20, 2021, Ahmet Sözen, professor of political science and international relations at the Eastern Mediterranean University (EMU) and Constantinos Adamides, associate professor of international relations at the University of Nicosia, visited the seminar "Cyprus - A Conflict at a Crossroads," led by Thomas Diez. They both gave their views on the current state of affairs in the Cypriot conflict on the microlevel as well as in regard to its embeddedness in the Eastern Mediterranean region. Ahmet Sözen highlighted that the failure of the Crans-Montana talks on Cyprus (2015-2017) should not be considered a watershed as much. What can be witnessed according to his opinion is a discursive shift in Turkish foreign policy, shifting from the support of a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation (BBF) to the need to find an alternative solution, which could be two equally sovereign states of Cyprus. However, Sözen questioned whether this really represents a radical change in Turkish foreign policy or rather an attempt to influence negotiations on Cyprus from a higher position.
Constantinos Adamides described the post-2017 period as a period of stagnation and emphasized that many think of the lack of retrogression as progress. This mentality, however, hinders chances of real progress and makes the status quo appear as a positive development. Adamides admitted that Turkey’s more assertive, militarized foreign policy in combination with its rhetoric push for a two-state solution could hint towards a negotiating strategy to reach a more favorable BBF but it could also be the real goal. The Greek-Cypriot and Turkish-Cypriot leaders will probably meet again informally in the context of the next General Assembly in New York. Sözen pointed out that whether the parties will come to the conclusion that there is common ground to build on and restart formal negotiations will very much depend on how Turkey’s geopolitical position is going to unfold. Nevertheless, both Sözen and Adamides agreed that no major change in the Cyprus conflict is expected any time soon.

On July 14, 2021, Professor Birgül Demirtaş gave a lecture on her current research project, which is dedicated to the question of whether the external, diplomatic relations of Turkish cities allow a conclusion to be drawn about Turkey's national foreign policy. Here, she pointed out that the importance of cities is not only increasing in global politics in general, but also that the external relations of Turkish cities in particular have expanded. At the same time, Turkey has had a new political system since 2018, which is classified as "not free" by Freedom House. "Local politics can include seeds of change on the national level", Demirtaş argued in this context. Her research project will shed light on the extent to which national trends can be deduced from these local dynamics and the role that city diplomacy plays in centralized, populist systems.

On June 22, 2021, the seminar "Cyprus - A Conflict at a Crossroads," led by Thomas Diez, was delighted to discuss with Costas Constantinou his documentary "The Thrid Motherland." Constantinou is a professor of International Relations at the University of Cyprus and produced  "The Third Motherland" together with Giorgos Kykkou Skordis in 2011. This documentary consists largely of interviews that give voice to the experiences of the Maronite community in Cyprus - as a third party in the bi-communal system of Cyprus created in 1960 and, a little later, the divided island. Thus, it asks fundamental questions regarding identities, belonging to overarching groups, but also resistance and exclusion.

Last weekend, from 18-20.6.2021, political science students conducted a mediation simulation. The subject was the conflict in Eastern Ukraine. For three days, discussions were held, speeches were made, consensus was found, and red lines were insisted upon. As in real life, positions hardened, and delegates became emotional at times. But in the end an agreement was signed. 
After heated discussions, the students came to an agreement on Sunday. It includes a ceasefire in Eastern Ukraine, an improvement of crossings into the occupied territories of Luhansk and Donetsk, and they agreed to meet again for negotiations within the next 30 days. 
The simulation is held every two years at the Institute of Political Science as part of the seminar "Theories and Practices of Mediation". In the seminar, students learn about theoretical foundations, which they then can apply in the simulation - in practice.
Lecturer Gabi Schlag created a framework program and led the media team, but the structuring of the negotiation process was in the hands of the students. Four of the participants formed the fictitious UN mediation team and were responsible for the structure and moderation of the negotiations. 
The other participants also took on fictitious roles - including those of Ukrainian President Zelensky and Russian Prime Minister Mishustin. Merkel, Macron, OSCE representatives and Eastern Ukrainian separatist leaders were also at the negotiation table with their roles brought to life by the students. 
Simulations enable students to put themselves in other positions, to reflect on the interests, needs and fears of conflict parties and to understand a conflict in its various facets. The fact that violent conflicts are not easily resolved and that negotiations develop dynamics of their own is one of the most important insights to take away from the simulation.
For the students, it was the first time in over a year that a course could take place offline – at the university. In compliance with hygiene measures, with negative Covid test results and in hybrid form the students were finally able to discuss face-to-face again, to exchange ideas and to learn together.

On June 10th 2021 Dr. E. (Lisa) Gaufman, who is Assistant Professor of Russian Discourse and Politics at the University of Groningen and University of Tübingen alumna, held a talk on Ukraine in Russian popular imagination. This online talk was part of a seminar on Theories and Practices of Mediation where students are focusing on the conflict in Eastern Ukraine, but it was open to all students from the institute.  
Gaufman presented different strands of how Ukraine is presented in Russia – as brother, sister, and enemy. Firstly, Gaufman talked about the perception of Ukraine being Russia’s little brother – a non-state with no language or history on its own. Secondly, she talked about the gendered perception of Ukraine. This can i.a. be seen on social media, where there have been many comments since 2014 following a narrative of Ukraine being a loose woman, who sells herself to NATO and the EU. Thirdly, there has been a rise on fascism discourse regarding Ukraine in Russian media since 2014. Reporting focuses on far-right extremists in the Ukraine, drawing a connection to historic anti-Nazi discourse in Russia and thereby perpetuating an understanding of Ukraine as the enemy. 

On February 25, 2021, Ian Manners gave a lecture on his “Normative Power Europe”-concept (NPE) in the seminar "A Normative Power No More? The EU in International Politics" by Thomas Diez. He is currently working at the Department of Political Science at Lund University and has been previously employed as Professor at University of Copenhagen as well as Roskilde University. Ian Manners works at the nexus of critical social theory and the study of the European Union in planetary politics. His seminal piece "Normative Power Europe: A Contradiction in Terms?" which served as a foundation for the seminar has widely influenced academic debates in European Studies and beyond.
In his guest lecture, Manners gave an overview of his research background and engagement with NPE and provided an insight into his current research focus. In engagement with the class he also addressed the EU’s LGBTQI+ policies, his understanding of power as well as tensions within and the possible future of his concept.

On February 18, 2021, Prof. PhD Thomas Christiansen gave a lecture on EU-China relations in the seminar "A Normative Power No More? The EU in International Politics" by Prof. Dr. Thomas Diez. Christiansen is a Professor at Luiss Università Guido Carli in Rome. He has published on different aspects of European Union politics as well as EU-China relations.
In his talk, Christiansen provided insights in the history and current state of EU-China trading relations and their growing ties in the international realm. He highlighted parallels and differences between both global players and further touched upon the complex triangular relationship between the US, the EU and China. Engaging with the questions asked by students, he also referred to the potential fragmentation of European unity in the face of selective Chinese foreign interest. However, he emphasized the importance for China to access the EU’s single market and argued that China has no revisionist aims but is seeking for acceptance as a global power in the international system. Finally, he challenged the fixed idea of a singular “Western identity” in opposition to China.

On February 4, 2021, Prof. PhD Senem Aydin-Düzgit gave a lecture on EU-Turkey relations in the seminar "A Normative Power No More? The EU in International Politics" by Prof. Dr. Thomas Diez. Aydin-Düzgit is currently a professor of International  Relations at Sabancı University and Senior Scholar and Coordinator of Research and Academic Affairs at the Istanbul Policy Center. In her contribution, she drew a comprehensive picture of the development, the current state as well as the future of EU-Turkey relations and Turkey's accession process to the EU. She argued inter alia that the transactional, interest-driven relationship that currently exists between the EU and Turkey does not offer a long-term perspective. Aydin-Düzgit also pointed out the complexity of the issue, which stems from the escalating situation in the Eastern Mediterranean, the Cyprus conflict, and the now changing position in the White House in parts.

On 28 January 2021, Dr. Kataryna Wolczuk (University of Birmingham) gave a lecture on EU-Russia relations in the seminar "A Normative Power No More? The EU in International Politics" by Prof. Dr. Thomas Diez. In particular, she addressed the role of Ukraine and argued for a more empirically grounded, as opposed to a detached theoretical, approach to the EU's relations with its Eastern neighborhood.

On 07 January 2021, Dr. Franz von Lucke gave a lecture in the seminar "A Normative Power No More? The EU in International Politics" organized by Prof. Dr. Thomas Diez, about the EU's conceptions of justice in international climate negotiations. Von Lucke explained the changes in the EU's conceptions of global justice in relation to the climate crisis and, accordingly, in its negotiation strategies, played an important role in the conclusion of the Paris Climate Agreement. In conclusion, von Lucke addressed questions from students on the prospects for success of the international climate regime. Read von Luckes corresponding paper, as well as more about the Globus research project.

On 17 December 2020, Prof. Dr. Nathalie Tocci, visiting professor at the University of Tübingen, gave a lecture on the EU Global Strategy as part of a seminar held by Prof. Dr. Thomas. In her lecture, Tocci discussed the process of developing the Global Strategy, in which she played a key role, as well as its implications for the role of the EU as a normative power. She concluded by discussing with the students the future of the Global Strategy and the opportunities and obstacles on the way to a more coherent EU foreign policy.

On 27 November 2020, Oliver Richmond, distinguished visiting professor at the University of Tuebingen, gave a MAPIR online lecture on the "Evolution of the International Peace Architecture”, which according to Richmond, can be traced through six stages or layers.
Oliver Richmond argued that the debates following the so-called local turn illustrate how a much grander edifice has emerged, from local to global scales, which though fragile and unstable, offers some prospects for further development. The theories and doctrines related to peace-keeping, mediation, peacebuilding, and state-building raise a range of long-standing questions about the evolution and integrity of this architecture. Finally, in the lecture he outlined the implications of the architecture's evolution, highlighting a form of peace-related to global justice and sustainability which remains in tension with more pervasive forms of governmentality.

On 22 July 2020, Prof. Dr. Pinar Bilgin (Bilkent University Ankara) participated in a discussion on "Prospects for Non-Western International Relations". The event was organized by Prof. Dr. Thomas Diez at the end of his seminar on this topic. Prof. Bilgin first presented a lecture in which she gave an insight into her academic biography and her engagement with non-Western approaches to International Relations. Prof. Bilgin then discussed with students the question of what is meant by non-Western approaches in the first place, as well as the epistemological, methodological, and normative opportunities and difficulties of including such perspectives more strongly in International Relations.

On 25 June 2020, an online expert discussion on "Looking at Mali: European and global efforts, losses - and gains?" took place within the framework of the seminar "Security Institutions in Europe" organized by Dr. Gabi Schlag. MAPIR students had organized the discussion as a substitute for an excursion to Strasbourg, Brussels and Geneva, which had been cancelled due to corona. Michael Gahler (CDU), Member of the European Parliament and foreign policy spokesperson of the EPP Group, and Lieutenant Colonel Björn Hoyme, a consultant in the Federal Ministry of Defence, were invited as guests. In the course of the discussion, the students had the opportunity to discuss the challenges and prospects of success of the Bundeswehr missions in Mali with the two experts. In addition to the question of the possibilities of intensified European cooperation, critical aspects of Germany's engagement in the Sahel region were also examined.

On 28 May 2020, Prof. Thomas Diez and Dr. Franz von Lucke attended the online final conference of the GLOBUS research project. In the research project, which was started in 2016, they had worked together with colleagues from different European countries on the EU's contribution to global justice. Dr. Franz von Lucke presented the main results of the Tübingen sub-project, which had dealt with global justice in relation to climate change. Prof. Thomas Diez took part in a panel discussion on future research challenges on the EU and global justice. The recording of the conference can be viewed here.

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.

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".

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.