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Politics public seminars to discuss post-COVID world 

Wednesday 5 August 2020 9:45pm


That the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world is indisputable, but just what that change will mean globally will be discussed by Politics academics at two public seminars this month.

Politics Professor Philip Nel says public events on 12 and 19 August are aimed at making sense of the changes already linked to the pandemic, and those to come.

Image of Philip Nel 2017
Professor Philip Nel

“We all have a nasty suspicion that the world we got used to has been changed irrevocably by COVID-19, but we are only beginning to consider what exactly has changed or is changing. We hope the public will enjoy joining us to discuss how it is affecting trends in world politics with six experts from the Politics programme.”

On 12 August Professors Janine Hayward and Robert Patman, and Dr Leon Goldsmith will discuss the effect of COVID-19 on forms of governments, and the challenges the epidemic poses for both democracies and autocracies.

Democracies are being put under strain due to the demand for decisive and immediate action by executive powers, which can side-line parliament and the general public’s voices; autocracies also require legitimacy, and their handling of the epidemic can reinforce or undermine the popular support they rely on, Nel says.

“Finally, populist leaders such as Donald Trump, Boris Johnson, Jair Messias Bolsonaro, and Narendra Damodardas Modi are all handling the epidemic pretty poorly and it raises the question whether they will survive the challenge.”

Lisa Ellis 186x279
Professor Lisa Ellis

On 19 August Professor Lisa Ellis will ask whether COVID-19 is side-lining issues such as climate change and sustainable development in general, and what the consequences are likely to be.

Professor Brian Roper will ask if COVID-19 will hasten the end of neoliberalism, and what the political implications are of rising inequality and growing debt burdens. Associate Professor Nicholas Khoo will round out the presentations by looking at the most important bilateral relationship in the world, that between the USA and China, and how COVID-19 has contributed to its worsening.

Professor Nel says all presentations will be short and there will be lots of time for questions and discussion afterwards. Everyone is welcome to attend. Presentations will be in Burns 1, Arts Building, and will start at 6pm on both evenings.

Seminar 1: COVID-19 and World Politics, 12 Aug 6pm

Join from PC, Mac, iOS or Android: (Password: 481658)

Or join from a H.323/SIP room system (e.g.LifeSize, Polycom, Tandberg, Sony) dial: or (Then enter Meeting ID: 949 2363 9634 Password: 481658)

Seminar 2: COVID-19 and World Politics, 19 Aug 6pm

Join from PC, Mac, iOS or Android: (Password: 948747)