CISRUL studies the life in the world of political concepts. The Centre draws on expertise from 7 disciplines to examine how political principles function within and beyond the contemporary West. Concepts such as ‘citizenship’, ‘civil society’, and the ‘rule of law’ are used as often by policy makers as by scholars. Core to CISRUL’s mission is informing academic and public debate on how they are used, and to what effect.
CISRUL brings together an extraordinary range of researchers, including PhD students, to study these and other political principles, including democracy, human rights and pluralism. We consider how they have been fostered historically, debated philosophically and in politics, fought over by social movements, codified in law, transmitted through education and the media, and lived out in everyday life.
Headed by Trevor Stack (Spanish and Latin American Studies Studies), CISRUL’s membership reaches across the College of Arts and Social Sciences to house a vibrant, diverse debate about the political concepts which underpin our modern world. It brings to bear expertise in History (Michael Brown, Karin Friedrich, Robert Frost), Law (Matyas Bodig, Tamas Gyorfi), Politics (Pamela Abbott, Andrea Teti, Ritu Vij), Sociology (Cristina Flesher-Fominaya, Nadia Kiwan, Claire Wallace), Divinity (Brian Brock, Michael Laffin) and Education (Rachel Shanks), and works closely with other groups such as the Centre for Early Modern Studies, ArabTrans and the Centre for Global Security and Governance.
Founded in 2009. CISRUL has
- held 9 major scholarly workshops and conferences, bringing speakers from 35 countries to Aberdeen, publishing a volume Religion as a Category of Governance and Sovereignty based on conferences in 2010 and 2012, completing a second volume on Political Community based on our 2013 and 2014 conferences, and a volume on Radicalism and the Civil Sphere based on conferences in 2016 and 2017.
- hosted collaborative research projects on political awareness in City and Shire schools, including outreach activities in the context of the Referendum, and on notions of citizenship in Mexico, as well as an Insight Institute seminar series on Polish migrants in Scotland
- delivered a successful Sixth Century course ‘What Gives Us Rights?’ with a strong enrolment of 120-140 from across the University, showcasing lecturers from all 3 Colleges of the University
- engaged with the wider public through an evening lecture series, as well as major public conferences on UK Energy Politics and on the Curriculum for Excellence, which featured speakers from public bodies such as Education Scotland and Oil and Gas UK
- hosted 17 PhD students and secured a Marie Skłodowska-Curie COFUND grant for a further 12 PhD students from 2018 under the rubric POLITICO (Political Concepts in the World).