Inaugural Lecture by Professor Beatrice Heuser

The lecture contextualises Brexit and the creation of the European Union historically.

Monday January 21st 2019 – Doors open at 5:00pm

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Professor Beatrice Heuser, Professor of International Relations (Politics) within the School of Social & Political Sciences, is delighted to invite you to her Inaugural Lecture:

Brexit in Historical Context: Sovereignty vs European Union


Brexit stands in a long tradition of the defence of sovereignty against supra-national configurations.

Since the Middle Ages, the French and English monarchs (followed by others) have asserted their sovereign independence from the Holy Roman Empire and also the Pope.  English monarchs copied the French kings in this respect, Henry VIII even breaking away from the Catholic church altogether.

But also since the Middle Ages, a number of diplomats, monarchs, politicians and political philosophers has argued that sovereign states were forever going to war with one another.  They recommended a third way between this anarchy, and universal monarchy: a permanent council bringing together heads of state or their representatives, to settle issues among them peacefully.  Many names were proposed for such a council, including European Union, and most recommendations much resemble today’s EU. Alternative conflict resolution mechanisms – the Concert of Europe, the global League of Nations, the UN – have been considerably less satisfactory.

And yet individual governments continue to cling to the ideal of absolute sovereignty which ill fits the modern interdependent world.   A return to sovereignism coupled with a resurgence of selfish nationalism can bring down the whole edifice of carefully constructed European security, a return to a configuration akin to that of the 19th century, or worse, the 1930s.  It is deeply ironic that Britain, which started the process of European security integration in 1948, should initiate its unravelling.  


5.00pm-5.30pm: Tea & coffee served on arrival

5.30pm-6.30pm: Lecture followed by a Q & A

Further information on Professor Heuser and her areas of research can be viewed on her University profile

If you have any accessibility requirements please email details to: or telephone 0141 330 5301 by 12 noon on Friday 18 January, 2019, so that arrangements, where possible, can be made.

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Starts: Monday, January 21st 2019 at 5:30pm
Doors open: 5:00pm
Ends: Monday, January 21st 2019 at 6:30pm

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Timezone: Europe/London
Bookings close: January 21st 2019


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