SPIRE News 2008


Dr Sorin Baiasu, Research Institute for Law, Politics and Justice, has been awarded £500 by the European Consortium for Political Research to support the development of a new Standing Group on Kantian Political Thought.
The Kantian Standing Group is an international network of academics working on themes in Immanuel Kant's moral and political philosophy.

The network was formed relatively recently through a series of workshops and conferences devoted to topics in the area, and the Standing Group aims to maintain and further expand this network. Co-convened by Dr Baiasu and Professor Howard Williams (Aberystwyth), the Kantian Standing Group  currently has more than 100 members from 24 countries.


Kostas Gemenis, a PhD student in the Research Institute for Law, Politics and Justice, has published a commentary on the recent riots in Greece in openDemocracy, an independent web publication on global current affairs. The article can be seen here.

He was also an invited guest BBC Radio Scotland's Newsweek last week to give a political analysis about the riots. To listen to the interview click here.


AndyWard2 Keele graduate, Andy Ward, who graduated this year in History and International Relations, scooped the Off-Air Radio prize at Channel 4's 4Talent Awards.

The 22-year-old, who was a member of Keele's student radio station KUBE Radio throughout his three years at Keele, won the 4Talent award with a series of extracts from comedy ghost stories written while at Keele and performed on his KUBE Radio show, Llamageddon.

Andy was previously one of three winners in a comedy writing competition for E4 Radio and his KUBE show was shortlisted for the Best Interview prize at the Student Radio Awards.

He said: "I'm hoping that the awards and the backing of Channel 4 will allow me to get into the comedy industry, be it as a writer or performer."

ESRC/Biopolitics of Security Network (BPS-N) seminar series launched at Keele

BPSNov2008 The Contemporary Biopolitical Security Technologies seminar series, convened by Dr Luis Lobo-Guerrero (RI-LPJ), was launched at the Claus Moser Centre on the 27 and 28 November 2008. The first workshop, ‘Securitising Mobilities and Circulations’, co-organised by Dr Lobo-Guerrero and Dr Peter Adey (CISPP), brought together a group of 40 experts, research students, and early career academics to discuss the challenges of promoting and protecting liberal circulation in the 21st century. The keynote address, ‘The Mobility Assemblage’, was delivered by Professor Mark Salter (University of Ottawa).

The workshop was opened by Professor Tim Doyle (CISPP) and panels included papers on biosecurity, biopolitics, and infectious microbes; the biopolitical dimensions of infrastructure protection and mobility spaces; the security of borders and bifurcations, as well as aspects of the politics of targeting and targeted circulation. Novel empirical and theoretical contributions were made on the distinctive role of biopolitical security technologies and global liberal governance. 

The event was actively supported by RI-LPJ research students Chris Zebrowski, Corey Walker-Mortimer, and Alessandra Ceccarelli, and was used to officially launch the Biopolitics of Security Research Unit (BPS-RU@Keele) through which Dr Lobo-Guerrero and Adey, together with their students, will continue to develop a research agenda on these matters.


worldphilosophyday2 The Keele Forum for Philosophical Research was launched last week. Celebrations coincided with the eve of UNESCO's World Philosophy Day.

The event, in Claus Moser Building, was attended by staff, students and interested members of the public and began with a drinks reception. After a brief introduction by Professor John Horton, School of
Politics, International Relations and Philosophy (SPIRE), outlining the history of philosophy at Keele, the opening lecture on "The Autonomy of the Human Sciences" was given by Dr. Giuseppina D'Oro (Reader in Philosophy, SPIRE).

The Forum for Philosophical Research is part of the Research Institute for Law, Politics and Justice. It seeks to bring together all philosophers, irrespective of their specific subfields of interest, in order to develop a philosophical culture and promote research collaboration across the university.

Keele University was one of the few places in the UK to celebrate World Philosophy Day.


Members of SPIRE and the Research Institute of Law, Politics and Justice held a symposium on the US elections last week (12.11.08).

The event, supported by the David Bruce Centre for American Studies attracted an audience of over 60 people including students, staff and the general public.

Michael Tappin presented an interpretation of voting behaviour, Dr Jonathan Parker analysed theextent to which the media favoured Obama, Professor Christopher Bailey discussed whether Obama's election signs a fundamental change in American politics and society, and Dr Jon Herbert evaluated the prospects for President-elect Obama's first term.


Professor Andrew Dobson, Research Institute for Law, Politics and Justice, gave two keynote addresses last week in Vancouver, Canada. 

The first was to the Western Humanities Alliance on the topic of 'Democracy and Nature: speaking and listening', and the second was to the Association of Graduate Liberal Studies Programs annual conference. 

The theme of the conference was 'Culture, Consciousness and Nature - A Context for Climate Change', and Professor Dobson spoke on the topic of 'Environmental Citizenship: a route to sustainable development'.


John Rogers, Professor of the History of Philosophy Emeritus, was presented with a Festschrift to mark his 70th birthday at a reception in Stewart House, Institute of Philosophy, Russell Square, London University. 

The book is titled Studies on Locke: Sources, Contemporaries, and Legacy, edited by Sarah Hutton and Paul Schuurman.  Ex-students and colleagues came from Japan, the United States, Italy and the Netherlands, as well as from all over the UK, to be present at the event that followed a conference, which honoured John's achievements. 

His wife, Jo, who was secretary of the Keele Society for many years, was also present.  John is the Founder-Editor of The British Journal for the History of Philosophy, which is still published from Keele, and is now in its sixteenth year. Many of his publications relate to John Locke and other seventeenth-century philosophers.

Keele University's victorious

UniChall68 University Challenge team from 1968 crashed to a shock defeat this week against a team of current students in a charity re-match chaired by original quiz-master Bamber Gascoigne.

The teams went head to head to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Keele's win before a packed audience in the Westminster Theatre, with all proceeds from ticket sales, £1,155, going to children's hospice charity the Donna Louise Trust.

The Vice-Chancellor, Professor Dame Janet Finch, who welcomed Bamber Gascoigne and the teams, said: "It has been an extremely tense contest and very close. I am delighted the 2008 team has won, it shows that Keele is definitely keeping up the standards."

UniChall082 The veteran quiz-master started proceedings with the legendry words "fingers on the buzzers, your starter for 10" but there was trouble for the '68 team as they fell to minus five points at the first hurdle and coming up the half-way stage trailed 95 to 45. They gradually clawed their way back into contention and with five minutes to go led by 135 to 90.

When Bamber announced that there would be just three more "starters" the '08 team trailed 145 to 100 but they were first to each one and ran out 155 to 145 winners.

The alumni team was captained by Larry Lawrence (1969 Latin/History), a BBC Brain of Britain winner and Mastermind contender, with Paul Brownsey (1970 History/Philosophy), Andy MacMullen (1970 Law/Politics) and Bob Crockford (1964 French/Economics) from the 1964 team, who substituted for Pam Groves (now Maddison).

The student team, captain Ben Hockenhull (fifth year undergraduate Medicine), Kathryn Ambrose (PhD Humanities), Rob Russell (MA International Relations), and Adam Cook (MA International Relations & PGCE) were each presented with a framed David Gentleman print of Keele Hall.

Keele's 1968 victory took place in the fifth season of the show, beating Jesus College, Cambridge, in the final. The same team came second in University Challenge Reunited in 2002, a special season marking the 40th anniversary of the quiz, losing to Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge (1979 winners) in the final.


Undergraduate Jason Davies has been named one of the most socially responsible in the country at a national awards ceremony honouring student achievements.

The 20-year-old Law and Politics student was named runner up in the Socially Responsible Student of the Year category at the Real World awards, winning a £500 prize which he has donated to the Keele People and Planet Society.

The third year, who is Keele's Students' Union Environmental Officer, has been heavily involved in green issues on campus, including a successful campaign to ban plastic bags from university outlets, consultation on the transport plan and the Energy Champions project, aiming to reduce energy consumption across the university. He also presents a weekly green show on KUBE Radio and is committed to Keele's anti-racism society, leafleting door-to-door across Stoke-on-Trent.


The Research Institute for Law, Politics and Justice held its 2nd Postgraduate Research Students Conference 'Just Politics, Law and Crime Control?' in the Chancellor's Building last week. The conference was organised by Dr Luis Lobo-Guerrero and attracted over forty participants, with 14 papers being presented.

The keynote speaker, Dr. Ignacio Sanchez-Cuenca, Universidad Complutense de Madrid, presented a paper entitled 'Can Terrorism be measured?' The conference was instrumental in offering postgraduate researchers the opportunity to gain valuable research dissemination and networking experience. A roundtable on 'What does it mean to think critically?' complemented the programme and was followed by a wine reception where members of the RI joined students for a prize ceremony. Michelle Jaffe was awarded the prize for best presentation and Christopher Zebrowski won the award for best paper.


Following the summer graduation at Keele University, SPIRE awarded a series of  school undergraduate prizes. Miss M Case and Mr T Coupe shared the Owen Powell Student Prize for outstanding achievement in International Relations, named in honour of Owen Powell, the founder and leader of the Keele World Affairs Group, who became an MBE in 2006 for his work with adult education.  Miss M Case was also awarded the Politics Best Student prize.  Congratulating the prize-winners, Mr Powell said: “As someone who was a late developer and didn’t get a degree until my late 60s, I know the hard work that you have both put into your studies and I am really pleased that you have won this prize – you really deserve it.”  Maria added that she was “immensely grateful to the academic and administrative staff of the School of Politics, International Relations and Philosophy at Keele University for their support and encouragement.” 

Miss R Dutton and Mr J Wakefield shared the Professor G.A.J Rogers Student prize.  SPIRE graduate Mr D Wheat has been nominated to receive the ‘Martin Harrison Politics Dissertation’ Prize for the best politics dissertation and Miss P Jones for the ‘Clare Coleman Prize’ to honour achievement in her philosophy studies. Mr J Hopkins was also nominated to receive the ‘Sheila Carson Memorial Prize’ to honour achievement at the end of his second year in philosophy studies.

Dr. Luis Lobo-Guerrero (SPIRE–RI LPJ) has been awarded £18,000 from the ESRC (July 2008) for a series of four seminars entitled ‘Contemporary Biopolitical Security’. 

The series aims to promote inter-disciplinary research on the biopolitics of security and to support the international, Keele-based, Biopolitics of Security Network.

Seminars will start in November this year and will be hosted at Keele University. They aim to advance collective knowledge on the biopolitics of security by analysing emerging regimes of classification of life, developments in biometrics and surveillance, and latest trends in the implementation of rationalities of risk within contemporary (global) governance. They will focus on research capacity building and the production of useful knowledge for policy-making on this emerging research area.

Tkmun2008 he Keele Model UN Society (KMUN) attended the London International Model United Nations at King’s College London in February 2008.  They sent 15 delegates, an above average delegation for this event.  Over 600 delegates were present from over 15 countries.  The Keele delegation represented Netherlands and Sri Lanka and attended such Committees as the World Health Assembly to the UN Security Council.  One member of the delegation, Peter Betts, representing Sri Lanka in the World Health Assembly, received an ‘Outstanding Delegate Award’ for leading his Committee throughout the debate and negotiating a successful resolution.  All delegates succeed in making Keele University’s presence known by engaging in skilful and informed debate and by networking with many other delegations.  A Keele Model UN is now in the planning stages for November 2008. See The London International Model United Nations February 2008 report.

From left: Maria Rivera, Fraz Khawaja, Imad-Eddine Mesdoua (Secretary), Nushrat Gunnoo,   Michael Pickles (Head Delegate), Peter Betts (Treasurer).