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Copenhagen scholars come to Sydney

By Raelene Loong

3 March, 2014

CISS welcomes two visiting scholars from the University of Copenhagen, Lene Hansen and Rebecca Adler-Nissen.  While in Sydney they will present their own research as well as engage in a collaborative project with CISS Associate Megan MacKenzie.

Hansen is Denmark's first female professor of international politics and recent recipient of Denmark's Elite Researcher Award.  For the next four years she is directing the research project, Images and International Security, funded by the Danish Council for Independent Research. She has written on a series of critical global events and cases, including cyber-security, the Danish Muhammad Cartoon Crisis, and the Bosnian War. She is the author of Security as Practice: Discourse Analysis and the Bosnian War and the co-author with Barry Buzan of The Evolution of International Security Studies.

Adler-Nissen is an associate professor whose research focuses on International Relations theory (especially International Political Sociology), diplomacy, sovereignty and European integration as well as fieldwork, participant observation and anthropological methods in IR.  She has been a visiting scholar at the Centre for International Peace and Security Studies, McGill University/Université de Montréal and the European University Institute in Florence. She is former Head of Section at the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs (2010-2011).

In February, Hansen presented the seventh annual Michael Hintze Lecture, ‘In Defense of the Visual Interest: Diplomatic Responses to Image Crises’, at the General Lecture Theatre in the University Quadrangle.  She was also on the final roundtable of the Q Symposium: Peace and Security in a Quantum Age.  Later this month, she will be presenting a lecture on her work with Barry Buzan about the evolution of international security studies.

Adler-Nissen was also a participant at the Q Symposium, presenting her new research at the Infosecurity roundtable.  Later this week she will be the first to present in a new CISS series, ‘First Look at CISS Books’.   The talk will be drawn on material from her forthcoming book, Opting Out of the European Union: Diplomacy, Sovereignty and European Integration (Cambridge University Press, 2014), which looks at how sovereignty works in practice, with a particular focus on how everyday negotiations transform national interests into European ideals.  She will examine the controversial British and Danish opt-outs from Economic and Monetary Union and European policies on borders, asylum, migration, internal security and justice.

Together with CISS Associate Megan MacKenzie, Hansen and Adler-Nissen will work on a new collaborative project,  ‘Images and International Security’.  Funded by The Danish Council for Independent Research, the project starts from the assumption that images are crucial for what become security problems. Images can engender international crises, harm countries’ reputation and generate public support for foreign policies. The visual’s trigger effect has been illustrated by the Danish Muhammad cartoon crisis, the Abu Ghraib scandal, and the photos of Syrian victims of chemical weapons in the summer of 2013. Images can document abuse, they can provoke aggressive responses, and they circulate rapidly reaching audiences for whom they were not originally intended. Visual diplomacy and image management are therefore central to governments, international institutions and non-governmental organizations. The ability of images to “speak security” is linked to their capacity to deliver a fast, forceful, and emotive message. The “security policy message” of images is, in short, negotiated politically.  (More information about ‘Images and International Security’ will be available through the project’s homepage, scheduled to go live on March 10 at

While at CISS, visiting scholars Hansen and Adler-Nissen will also be exploring formally and informally a ‘Sydney-Copenhagen Interpretation’ of security studies, which puts at the forefront innovative transdisciplinary, transnational and transmedia approaches to new global issues. 

Contact:Raelene Loong
Phone: 61 2 9351 7663 (Mon & Tues)

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