Integrating Research Environment and Outputs with Excellence in Teaching
The POLIS 2008-9 Security, Development and Democracy (SDD) seminar series brought together expert speakers from Britain and North America to debate the nature of political violence and its impact on democratic politics.
The theme of Democracy and Violence explored the challenge of violence to contemporary democracies in a variety of settings, ranging from Britain to the Middle East and Latin America, exploring possible means through which alternatives to violent confrontation might be developed.
Papers presented at these seminars are being published in 2010 as a special issue of the journal Democratization. This issue will provide a theoretical framework for analysing the ways in which violent politics challenge established democracies, and the ways in which violence makes problematic the establishment of democratic forms of politics where these are weakly established, emergent or totally absent. Contributions to this special issue will focus on one of the following four themes:
- Liberal-democracy and the Politics of Violence
- Violence, Democratic Change and Consolidation
- Gender and Violence
- Violent Politics in the Middle East: Problems and Perspectives
The case-studies themselves are taken from a wide geographical range, to make the issue as global and comprehensive in scope as possible.
Integrating research environment and teaching
POLIS has used this resource as a means of integrating students into the research environment. This is a challenge, not only because students have busy schedules, but as some may be put off attending research seminars not geared to a student audience.
With the support of Ralph and Lightfoot's pedagogic research grant from the HEA subject centre C-SAP, POLIS converted several of the series lectures (McDonald, Ralph, McCargo) into Articulate presentations. These will be integrated into undergraduate modules such as PIED1511 International Politics, which will give students a chance to engage with the material at their own pace and in the context of a module that introduces them to the issues the research presentation addresses. This is an excellent demonstration of how research-led teaching can work.
The SDD Seminar Series was organised jointly by the Leeds University Centre for Democratisation Studies, the School of Politics and International Studies and the Department of Arabic and Middle Eastern Studies, University of Leeds. It also included participants from the Schools of Law and History.