Government and International Relations Colloquium Series

The Department of Government and International Relations Colloquium Series aims to showcase recent research by members of the Department, visiting scholars and international and interstate guests in an informal setting, conducive to lively debate. It is an open event and everyone is welcome to attend. If you would like to be informed of future events then please contact who will add your name to our email list. The Series is coordinated by .

Semester 1, 2017

Wednesday 22 March 2017, 12-1:30pm
Speaker: Professor Thomas Poguntke
Düsseldorf Party Research Institute (PRuF), University of Düsseldorf
Topic: The Sovereign Debt Crisis and the Rise of Populism: Germany in a Comparative Perspective

The paper will discuss the impact of the sovereign debt crisis on party system change and the rise of populism in Europe. The presentation is divided into two parts. The first part will present a systematic comparison of the developments in the party systems of the dominant ‘donor state’ Germany, on the one hand, and the Southern European crisis countries (Greece, Italy, Spain, Portugal) on the other. It can be shown that the crisis has resulted in major party systems change resulting in the rise of populist parties. Yet, this does not fully explain the success of the right-wing populist party AfD in Germany. To this end, the second part of this presentation will take a closer look at the impact of the refugee crisis and the most recent developments following the nomination of the SPD Chancellor-candidate Martin Schulz, which has led to a sudden surge of the SPD poll ratings.

About the speaker: Professor Thomas PoguntkeThomas Poguntke, MSc (LSE) 1983; PhD, European University Institute Florence 1989; Habilitation, University of Mannheim 1999. He is Professor of Comparative Politics at the Heinrich-Heine University Düsseldorf and Director of the Düsseldorf Party Research Institute (PRuF) and has previously held chairs at the universities of Keele, Birmingham and Bochum and was Visiting Fellow at the European University Institute in Florence. He was series editor of the Routledge/ECPR Studies in European Political Science and co-editor of German Politics and is author and editor of numerous publications on political parties and comparative politics including The Presidentialization of Politics. A Comparative Study of Modern Democracies (Oxford University Press 2005; with Paul D. Webb) and Organizing Political Parties: Representation, Participation and Power (Oxford University Press, in press; with Susan E. Scarrow and Paul D. Webb).
Venue: Room 427 Merewether building, H04 [map]

Thursday 6 April 2017, 12-1:30pm
Speaker: Professor Rita Abrahamsen Professor Michael Williams
Graduate School of Public and International Affairs, University of Ottawa
Topic: Security, Power and Struggles for the “Soul" of Development

This colloquium is an opportunity to learn about and discuss Abrahamsen and Williams’ current book project.

About the speaker: RitaMichaelRita Abrahamsen and Michael C. Williams are both Professors at the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs, University of Ottawa. Abrahamsen’s research interests are in African politics, security and development, security privatization and postcolonial theory. Among other books, she is the author of Disciplining Democracy: Development Discourse and the Good Governance Agenda in Africa (Zed Books, 2000). Williams researches in International Relations theory, security studies, and political thought. His books include Culture and Security: Symbolic Power and the Politics of International Security (Routledge, 2007).Abrahamsen and Williams co-authored Security Beyond the State: Private Security in International Politics (Cambridge University Press, 2011).
Venue: Room 427 Merewether building, H04 [map]

Thursday 27 April 2017, 12-1:30pm
Speaker: Dr Valerie Hudson
The Bush School of Government and Public Service, Texas A&M University
Topic: The First Political Order: Sex, Governance, and National Security

The first political order in any society is the sexual political order. How do the character and structure of male:female relations within a society affect its prospects for peace and security? This research project is funded by the Minerva Initiative of the US Department of Defense.

About the speaker: HudsonValerie M. Hudson is Professor and George H.W. Bush Chair at The Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M University, where she directs the Program on Women, peace, and Security. Hudson is also a co-founder of The WomanStats Project ( ), whose online database is an important resource for those interested in the relationship between the security of women and the security of nation-states. Hudson is currently on a Fulbright Distinguished Chair fellowship at ANU.
Venue: Room 427 Merewether building, H04 [map]

Thursday 11 May 2017, 12-1:30pm
Speaker: Dr Catherine Goetze
University of Tasmania
Topic: Virtue, democracy and global governance

Although neither the Secretary Generals of major international organizations nor the members of international non-governmental organizations are elected to office, they habitually claim to represent values and virtues of democracy, from defending human rights to promoting equality and freedom. This paper uses the work of Pierre Rosanvallon and Pierre Bourdieu to critically assess this claim, paying particular attention to selection processes. The selection processes for the highest offices in inter-governmental and in non-governmental organizations are only open and merit-based on the surface. Underneath this declaratory open access is a socio-economic structure that gives decisive advantages to specific social categories at the expense of others.

About the speaker: CatherineBefore Dr Goetze took up her present post at the University of Tasmania, she worked as international relations scholar in five different countries and in three different languages. She has been recipient of several research grants (British Academy, Political Science Association, German Research Council) and scholarships (Maison des Sciences de l’Homme, German Academic Exchange Services, French Foreign Ministry). Her book The Distinction of Peace is forthcoming with the University of Michigan Press in 2017.
Venue: Room 427 Merewether building, H04 [map]

Thursday 25 May 2017, 12-1:30pm
Speaker: Associate Professor John Mikler
University of Sydney
Topic: The Political Power of Global Corporations

There has been much impassioned debate about the impacts of ‘neoliberal globalisation’ and the inevitability of global market forces determining the interests and preferences of states. Therefore, the answer to the question of ‘who governs’ in a globalised world is often ‘markets’. If not this, then multinational corporations and competition states with market imperatives. However, the rise of global corporations means a conceptual focus on the disembodied power of markets, rather than the power embodied in these huge entities, is increasingly problematic. How should the power of global corporations be best conceived? In this presentation, I argue that it should be done in political rather than market terms. Furthermore, while they may be seen as global political actors in their own right, global corporations' influence is also an extension of the power of their home states. Data on their transnationality, foreign direct investment trends, and mergers and acquisitions is presented to demonstrate that, on balance, the latter view is likely to be more accurate. Therefore, rather than undermining states they reflect and transform the exercise of their home states’ and regions’ political power, interests and institutions.

About the speaker: JohnDr John Mikler's research interests are primarily focussed on the role of transnational economic actors, particularly multinational corporations, and the interaction between them and states, international organisations and civil society. He takes a comparative institutionalist perspective to the way in which economic actors are regulated, or exercise private authority, especially in respect of the social and environmental impacts of their instrumentally-motivated actions. His previous research is on the international car industry, applying the Varieties of Capitalism Approach to analyse the actions it is/is not taking in respect of the environmental impacts of its products. He has also undertaken extensive collaborative and inter-disciplinary research on liberal capitalism and technological innovation for climate change mitigation, as well as global corporate power.
Venue: Room 427 Merewether building, H04 [map]

Thursday 22 June 2017, 3-5pm
Speaker: Dr Alessandro Nai
University of Sydney
Topic: Dark necessities? The Big Five and Dark Triad as personality underpinnings of negative campaigning

We test how the public persona of candidates affects their electoral results. We rely on a novel dataset that includes information about 90 candidates having competed in 39 elections worldwide, based on expert ratings and actual election results. Controlling for several alternative drivers, we show that the public persona of candidates matters. Conscientiousness is an important predictor of a higher score at the ballot box, mostly in relative terms, whereas neither extraversion nor agreeableness matters. Concerning “dark” personality traits our results show that candidates rated as Machiavellian are less likely to succeed, and candidates high in psychopathy are substantively and significantly more likely to attract votes; narcissism does not affect electoral success.

About the speaker: NainI am currently Project Manager and Senior Research Associate at the Electoral Integrity Project (University of Sydney). I was previously lecturer at the Department of Political Science and International Relations at the University of Geneva and visiting lecturer at the Political and International Studies Institute at the University of Lausanne. I've been a visiting fellow at the Rutgers University, USA (2008-2009) and at the University of Sydney (2014).

My research agenda focuses on political communication, voting behaviour, political psychology, and campaigning effects.

Venue: Room 427 Merewether building, H04 [map]