Leicester Exchanges

From one of the UK’s leading universities comes a new way to make real progress on some key issues that shape our society. Join some of Britain’s leading academics and highest-profile opinion formers as we seek answers that could change the way we live for the better. So, the floor is yours; will you make the most of it?

There is nothing ‘medieval’ about Islamic State atrocities – they’re just cruel and brutal

By Professor Norman Housley, School of History

Professor Norman Housley, School of History discusses how the word ‘medieval’ has been used about Islamic astrocites.

“In Pulp Fiction, when Marcellus Wallace tells his captor and tormentor Zed that “I’m gonna get medieval on your ass”, we are spared further details, which is just as well since it involves a pair of pliers and a blow torch.

To Marcellus, “medieval” clearly means acting with cruelty towards a helpless captive, and similar thinking lies behind the use of the word to describe the murder of journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff carried out, and broadcast to the world, by Islamic State. Everyone from UK deputy prime minister Nick Clegg to US foreign secretary John Kerry has used the word to express their horror at these awful crimes.

Medieval cruelty in modern times” proclaimed Christopher Dickey in The Daily Beast. Dickey referred to Foley being beheaded “as if he were a captive taken in medieval combat”.

Read the full article on The Conversation.

This article was originally published on The Conversation .




Why we still need to talk about Asians in football

By Mr John Williams, Senior Lecturer, Department of Sociology

Mr John Williams, Senior Lecturer, Department of Sociology discusses the question by many people: why are there still no British Asians represented at the highest levels of governance in the game, following  the UK Asian Football Championships final in Glasgow.

Last week, as an ambassador and research advisor with Sporting Equals, I visited Celtic Park in Glasgow on Sunday 31 August for an early season football event. What a day it was: lovely late August sunshine; three vast tiers of green seats rising like a great tiered wall in front of us; a pitch like a proverbial carpet; spacious players’ changing rooms; and mahogany panelled corridors. We got to see all the works. The stadium still holds vivid memories of the Celtic club’s 1967 European Cup win. The trophy is proudly on show in the club cabinets, a vivid reminder of the lost power of the local – all Celtic’s victorious players were born within 20 miles of the stadium – and, one has to say, of changing times in Scottish football. Read More »

Explainer: when does a conflict become a war?

By Professor Katja Ziegler, Sir Robert Jennings Professor of International Law

Professor Katja Ziegler explains the common question from recent reports about a Russian invasion in Ukraine on the Caspian Sea; When does a conflict become a war?

“Is the conflict in Ukraine a war? This question has been raised in recent reports about a Russian invasion in Ukraine on the Caspian Sea. The USA and other NATO powers call it an “incursion”; the Baltic states and Ian Bremmer, the president of the Eurasia Group, call it war.

Using that word to describe the Ukraine crisis carries obvious political weight. Until now, it was unclear if, and to what extent, Russia was arming and supporting Ukrainian rebels. The recent uptick in the use of war vocabulary shows that international observers increasingly view this as an inter-state conflict.

The problem is that “war” is not specifically defined in modern international law after 1945 and international instruments from before 1945 do not offer clear criteria for what war is either.”


Read the full article on The Conversation

This article was originally published on The Conversation .

Changing the game for ‘elitist’ Britain

By Dr Doris Ruth Eikhof, School of Management

Dr Doris Ruth Eikhof, University of Leicester School of Management discusses the findings from the latest report stating that the UK is ‘deeply elitist’.

Upper class elites rule the UK, holding key positions in politics, business, law, media, education and arts and culture. A report by the Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission released this week documented that what the country does and thinks is determined by those educated in private schools and Oxbridge, an ‘old boys network’ that working class men and women find it difficult to break into. Shocking, yes, but hardly new and hardly surprising. As Niall MacKenzie of Strathclyde Business School commented, ‘in other news, water has been discovered to be wet.’ Half a century of initiatives to broaden access to education, arts and culture, and thus jobs and careers, have aimed to reduce elitism in the UK. Some of those initiatives even make extremely successful TV viewing: Channel 4’s ‘Educating Yorkshire’, for instance, made the nation’s heart go out to youngsters struggling for a decent start in life. Identification with the working class is so de rigeur in Britain that the middle classes especially do not dare speak their own name.

Read More »

Richard Attenborough held my hand and touched my life

By Louisa Milburn, Director For Richard Attenborough Centre.

Louisa Milburn, Director For Richard Attenborough Centre reflects on the life and legacy of Lord Attenborough on The Conversation.

“Richard was a long time supporter of disability and the arts and he’d spearheaded the campaign that led to the opening of the Richard Attenborough (RA) Centre in 1997. As part of the University of Leicester, the RA Centre had won design awards for its approach to accessibility – at a time before legislation made this a requirement.

As we talked, it became clear that Richard was passionate about access to high quality arts for everyone. He wanted to ensure that disabled people had first-class opportunities in the arts, whether this was creating, watching, experiencing or performing. His vision was for a place where disabled people were fundamentally included, where disability was not viewed as a negative, where everyone could thrive.”

Read the full article on The Conversation

This article was originally posted on The Conversation