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Inaugural and Valedictory Lectures

Professor David Runciman's Inaugural Lecture

Political Theory and Real Politics in the Age of the Internet

Tuesday 24th February 2015

Political theory at Cambridge has sometimes been associated with ‘realism’, in contrast to moralised or idealised views of politics. There are many different ways to be a realist about politics, including the Realpolitik of international relations. Some realists are interested in power; some in legitimacy; some in chance. But how well equipped is any form of realism to make sense of politics in the twenty-first century, when so much of what it refers to has migrated online? Do we even know what makes politics real any more? This lecture explored the varieties of realism in political theory, and asked what it might mean to have a realistic theory of politics in the age of the internet.

Professor David Runciman is Head of the Department of Politics and International Studies, and Professor of Politics. You can view the first ten minutes of his lecture below; to view or download the full lecture, please go here. 


Professor Christopher Hill's Valedictory Lecture

What is left of the international?

Wednesday 4th May 2016

In the century of two world wars and a Cold War one could have been forgiven for thinking that everything important was determined by the movement of world affairs. Now the reverse seems true. International relations are commonly discussed as if hostage to US election campaigns, to the emergence of some new populist movement in Europe, or to the health of the Chinese economy. In universities, although the subject of International Relations is in great demand, its definition in relation to other social sciences, notably politics but also sociology, economics, geography and law, can seem ever more blurred. This lecture considers what, if anything, is still distinctive about the international realm, and what that implies for its future academic study. 

Professor Christopher Hill is a former Head of the Department of Politics and International Studies, and has been the Sir Patrick Sheehy Professor of International Relations since 2004.