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The quest for self-determination: Exploring narratives of costs and consequences - 9 June 2022

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This panel will explore normative aspects of the use of force and its effects on societies with a focus on, but not exclusive to, the current war in Ukraine.

It will begin with a discussion on theoretical, especially philosophical and legal, aspects of non-violent and violent contestations of the right to self-determination. This will be illustrated on the empirical example of the Spanish conquest in the Americas and its multiple contested narratives about local agency and self-determination, a framework that can be projected also to modern debates.

The panel will then examine the theme of self-determination through the lens of national identity and the foundations of the Putin government’s political philosophy. The first presentation will discuss findings of research conducted in Ukraine in 2011 and 2021 on audience responses to contemporary Russian endeavours to generate 'soft power' - cultural and ideological influence. It identifies trends across the two sets of results and evaluates the effects of Russia’s attempts at shaping national identity in Ukraine.

Finally, the last presentation will analyse the expressed and revealed, operational ethical code of the belief system and set of associated behaviours currently denounced by Ukrainians as “Rashism” (Russian Fascism, perpetrated by “orcs”). It will trace some of its origins, and outline problems it poses for wider politico-military coexistence after the current campaign in the long Russo-Ukrainian War.

About the panel

  •  Chair: Dr Andrea Ellner, Lecturer in Defence Studies, Defence Studies Department.
  • Self-determination through the lens of history and international law: A conversation - Dr Daniel R Brunstetter, Associate Professor of Political Science, University of California, Irvine, and Francisco Lobo, PhD Candidate, Department of War Studies. 
  • Breaking free of the Russian world? The trajectory of Russian soft power in Ukraine - Dr Victoria Hudson, British Academy Post-Doctoral Fellow, Department of War Studies.
  • Orc Ethics: The Meaning of Z and The Intellectual Paternity and Implications of Violent Expansionary Rashism (Рашизм ) - Paul Schulte, Senior Visiting Fellow in the Department of War Studies, and Honorary Professor at Birmingham University Institute of Conflict Cooperation and Security.

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Event details

9 June 2022