CCCU Parliamentary Studies students in discussion with new MP Bambos Charalambous

On 16 November politics students in the final year Parliamentary Studies class at CCCU took part in a webinar with the new MP for Enfield, Bambos Charalambous. Topics included what it’s like to be a new MP in the Commons, the EU withdrawal bill, government procedural tactics and Labour party unity. The session was part of the programme’s commitment to engage with practitioners. This webinar was facilitated by Globalnet21.

Parliamentary Studies at Canterbury Christ Church University
Led by Dr Mark Bennister, Reader in Politics, the Politics and IR Programme at CCCU runs ‘Parliamentary Studies’ in cooperation with the Houses of Parliament. CCCU was chosen in 2015 following a competitive process, as one of only seven universities across the UK to be awarded the chance to teach this course, which is the only Higher Education module formally approved by Parliament, and has the support of the Speaker of the House of Commons, the Lords Speaker and the management boards of both Houses.

You can find out more here: Parliamentary Studies at CCCU

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The academic voice on Brexit must not be silenced

Dr Sarah Lieberman, Senior Lecturer in Politics & IR at Canterbury Christ Church University, comments on Chris Heaton-Harris’ request for names of academics teaching European politics and warns that the government must not be allowed to silence the voices of academics and experts on Brexit.

The news that the Chief Tory whip wants all academics working on European Politics or Studies to submit their syllabus, lecture plans and all online lectures relating to this area – presumably to be analysed for anti-Brexit sentiment – has left me both speechless and apoplectic with rage. The Right Honourable Chris Heaton-Harris has written to all British Vice-Chancellors and asked for names of those teaching European affairs, with particular reference to Brexit.

A copy of the letter by Conservative whip Chris Heaton-Harris to university VCs obtained by The Guardian

The Guardian notes that professors feel this may be ‘sinister’ or ‘McCarthyist’. The Guardian further notes that “within university departments focussing on European affairs Brexiters are a rarity”.

There may, after all be a reason so few academics, and specifically European politics / studies / affairs academics are pro-Brexit, and this reason is that they actually understand the politics behind the UK’s membership of the European Union.

These academics could tell you why the 27 Member States of the EU cannot discuss Brexit with Britain, and why a trade deal cannot be negotiated alongside the exit discussions. These academics have analysed the founding treaties of the European Union, and have analysed Article 50. These academics understand decision making in the European Union, and have spent years collecting the pros, the cons, the benefits and the downsides of membership. And, overwhelmingly, those academics, those experts who have devoted their working life to understanding this peace project, this trade body, this protectionist behemoth are overwhelmingly in favour of continued membership.

In the run up to the Brexit referendum, ‘experts’ were discredited. Experts were put into a category of suspicion, and experts included academics. This is a dangerous precedent to set, and one whose logical next step is Chris Heaton-Harris’ request.

I do not yet know what the UK’s Vice Chancellors will do: I hope in the spirit of equality and fairness that Mr Heaton-Harris will be told that if he wants to see lecture slides, he should pay his fees and attend class. I certainly hope that they will respond that lecturers should, can and do teach to their own expertise and will continue to do so. Any deviance from this position is a very dangerous place to find ourselves.

Do not fool yourselves. The government is trying to stifle opinion, trying to quieten academics and trying to quash all opposition. Do not allow this to happen.

Sixth Summer School on Federalism, Multinationalism and the Future of Europe

The sixth edition of the CCCU and CIFE (Centre International de Formation Européene) summer school on ‘Federalism, Multinationalism and the Future of Europe’ took place in Canterbury between 13th and 24th of August. Bringing together twenty students from 11 different countries, including France, Germany, Myanmar, Nepal, Spain and the UK, students participated in a range of activities to develop and broaden their knowledge and understanding of federalism, both in theory and practice.

Continue reading “Sixth Summer School on Federalism, Multinationalism and the Future of Europe”

Politics & IR Top 15 for Overall Satisfaction in National Student Survey, 2016

The Politics and International Relations team at Canterbury Christ Church University (CCCU) are delighted to achieve, for the second consecutive year, 95% overall satisfaction in the 2016 National Student Survey.

postcard 3This result places us in the top 15 nationwide for Politics (12th) and it builds on our achievement of a top 30 place in the latest Guardian League Table (27th), released in May. Continue reading “Politics & IR Top 15 for Overall Satisfaction in National Student Survey, 2016”

Students enjoy Jean Monnet-funded trip to Brussels

Students and staff recently visited the European Commission in Brussels. Here, Sara Martone shares her experiences from the trip, in her blog ‘A field trip to remember: personal reminiscences of our Jean Monnet-funded trip to Brussels’…

Group @ BerlaymontStaff from the Politics and International Relations Department at CCCU recently took 20 students on a two-day trip to Brussels as part of the 3rd year Quo Vadis (EU foreign affairs) module taught by Jean Monnet Chair Dr Amelia Hadfield, and the 2nd year European Political Economy Jean Monnet module, taught by Dr John Fitzgibbon, under the aegis of Jean Monnet funding awarded in 2014. Led by Drs Hadfield and Fitzgibbon along with Jean Monnet module winner Dr Sarah Lieberman, the trip was designed to bring a clear, practical perspective to the in-house teaching on key aspects of EU institutions and policy-making. Continue reading “Students enjoy Jean Monnet-funded trip to Brussels”