B&P Academy

The B&P Academy is a platform for events and activities that take place within the department of Political Science and Public Administration (Bestuurswetenschap & Politicologie). On this page, you will find all our upcoming events and ways to register. If you want to stay posted on news from our department, please follow us on Twitter: @VU_PSPA. Are you interested in organizing an event for our community of students and staff? Please send an email to communicatie.bp@vu.nl. You can find past B&P Academy events in our archive


The second Workshop in CHERN's Online Series will build on the experience from the Sinophone Borderlands project, which ran public opinion surveys of the attitudes towards China (and other issues) in 13 European countries in 2020 and is continuing in 15 Asian countries in 2021. Key researcher leading the team, Richard Q. Turcsányi (Palacky University Olomouc), will aim to present an overall outlook of how the survey has been organized in order to give participants enough information to potentially replicate it in other countries or with other research goals. The workshop will look into organizational aspects as well as into the research design and the questionnaire. It will be interactive, with any questions and feedback welcome, and potentially leading to research collaboration. For more information and registration, visit the event page.

Michael Saward is professor of Politics and International Studies at The University of Warwick. Through his innovative work, he has upended the debates on political representation and democratic legitimacy. Rather than understanding representation as a unidirectional relationship between constituency and representative, Saward presents representation as a performative act through which both the representative and the represented are created. Democratic legitimacy is not dependent on meeting a particular external standard, but is rather perceived - temporarily and provisionally - by an audience. A theorist can come to an understanding, however incomplete, of how representative claims are made and assessed by becoming part of the institutional and cultural context wherein it takes place. These and related insights by Saward, have far reaching ramifications for research into the workings of democracies.

Zoom link:https://vu-live.zoom.us/j/92946918057?pwd=bEFOalI3a1NSZTZINCtkZVo3dGtsZz09
Meeting ID: 929 4691 8057
Passcode: 266024

 The seminar is organised by Thijs Bogers for the Amsterdam Centre for Political Thought and the B&P Academy. 

On May 6th 2021, Dr. Jocelyn Mawdsley (Newcastle University) will give the online lecture ‘Sociotechnical Imaginaries of EU Defense in ‘Times of Crisis’’. This lecture is part of a lecture series on European Security, Technology and Geopolitics in Pandemic Times, organized by by Bastiaan van Apeldoorn & Marijn Hoijtink for the B&P Academy and the VU Interdisciplinary Centre for European Studies (VICES). You can register here

On 10 September 2019, incoming European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen presented, along with her team of nominees for Commissioners, her ambitions for the next five years. In her Mission Letter to High Representative of the Union for Foreign Policy and Security Policy Josep Borrell, von der Leyen stated that she wanted her team to become “a geopolitical Commission” that would be “more strategic” and “more assertive” in its foreign policy approach. More than a year later, the Commission, and the whole of the EU, is above all struggling with managing and seeking to exit from the ongoing covid-19 crisis – both the health and the economic crisis – with the geopolitical discourse receding again somewhat into the background. At the same time, the pandemic – and the vulnerabilities of global supply chains it has revealed – has also led to reinforced calls for ‘strategic autonomy’ for the EU. This has taken place in the context of the accelerating rise of new technologies - such as AI, 5G, biometrics and robotics – with a potential revolutionary impact upon both our economies and on security and military affairs – as well as in the context of an increasing geopolitical competition (with China now identified as a ‘systemic rival’), in part expressed as a “tech race”. Furthermore, the new Biden administration has also been hailed as an opportunity to restore transatlantic relations and global multilateralism. So, one year later how (un)successful has the EU been in realising its new geopolitical ambitions, and what explains its relative success and failure? How has the covid-19 crisis impacted upon this, and how the changing global geopolitical context? And what is driving this ‘geopolitication of Europe’ in the first place, and how can we make sense of this new discourse and policy practice? What kind of ideas does it reflect and whose interests does it arguably serve? What kind of political agenda is revealed here and what kind of political and normative issues does it raise? How is it affecting the EU’s identity as a foreign policy and security actor? And how is it changing the EU’s relations with other powers, in particular the US and China? In this VICES lecture series we will explore these and related questions with scholars, who are experts in the field, presenting their view – informed by their research – on aspects of these developments. 

Each lecture will last about 30 minutes, with another 30 to 45 minutes for discussion. Other upcoming lectures: 

  • EU/US relations under President Biden (June 2021, tbc)
  • Health, EU, “strategic autonomy” and vaccine geopolitics (September 2021, tbc)

On May 20th (16:00-17:30) the B&P Academy together with PACS and the Dutch Foundation for Peace Studies (Stichting Vredeswetenschappen) will host a book presentation on The Frontlines of Peace by Severine Autesserre. 

The word “peacebuilding” evokes a story we’ve all heard over and over: Violence breaks out, foreign nations are scandalized, peacekeepers and million-dollar donors come rushing in, warring parties sign a peace agreement and, sadly, within months the situation is back to where it started—sometimes worse. But what strategies have worked to build lasting peace in conflict zones, particularly for ordinary citizens on the ground? And why should other ordinary citizens, thousands of miles away, care?

In The Frontlines of Peace, Séverine Autesserre, award-winning researcher and peacebuilder, examines the well-intentioned but inherently flawed peace industry. With examples drawn from across the globe, she reveals that peace can grow in the most unlikely circumstances. Contrary to what most politicians preach, building peace doesn’t require billions in aid or massive international interventions. Real, lasting peace requires giving power to local citizens. The Frontlines of Peace tells the stories of the ordinary yet extraordinary individuals and organizations that are confronting violence in their communities effectively. One thing is clear: Successful examples of peacebuilding around the world, in countries at war or at peace, have involved innovative grassroots initiatives led by local people, at times supported by foreigners, often employing methods shunned by the international elite. By narrating success stories of this kind, Autesserre shows the radical changes we must take in our approach if we hope to build lasting peace around us—whether we live in Congo, the United States, or elsewhere.

More information and the registration link will be shared on this page soon.