Hear from leading Essex academics at Professorial Inaugural Lectures

  • Date

    Thu 19 Jan 23

image of Reed Wood, Gina Reinhardt and Paul Bou-Habib with wording reading Professorial Inaugural Lectures 2023

The University of Essex is delighted to relaunch its Professorial Inaugural Lecture series and looking forward to welcoming the public to come and hear from academics discussing their world-leading research.

The first of the series will be held at Essex Business School at 6.15 pm on Monday 6 February.

Three professors from the Department of Government will deliver talks to give people insights into their work.

Professor Paul Bou-Habib will discuss approaches to addressing controversial figures memorialised in the public realm from statues to buildings.

Professor Gina Yannitell Reinhardt will highlight how better use of data can help improve policy and public services.

Professor Reed Wood will discuss 'Gender Stereotypes, Female Fighters, and Audience Attitudes toward Violent Armed Groups'.

A drinks reception in the Winter Garden will follow the three presentations.

Pro-Vice Chancellor Research Professor Chris Greer said: “I am delighted that we can now restart this prestigious lecture series, which gives us the opportunity to share our world-class research and impact with members of the public, our students and staff, alumni, research partners and invited guests.

“It will be fantastic to see our local community joining us once more on our campus to share in our work and hear first-hand from our academics about how their transformational research is addressing today’s key challenges – locally, regionally and internationally.”

For more information on the series and previous lectures, and to book a place use this booking link.

Speakers at the first event

Professor Paul Bou-Habib
'Celebrating Evil'

He says: “Many people believe it is disrespectful to maintain iconography that celebrates persons who committed grave wrongs against others. Examples of such controversial iconography include statues of Cecil Rhodes at the University of Cape Town and the University of Oxford, or the naming of a college at Princeton University after Woodrow Wilson. It isn’t obvious, however, why maintaining such iconography is disrespectful if the authorities in charge no longer endorse the offensive message it was once used to convey. In this talk, I aim to provide an answer to that question.”

Paul Bou-Habib is a Professor of Political Theory in the Department of Government at the University of Essex. He received a PhD degree in Politics from Princeton University in 2001 and taught at the University of Bristol and the University of Keele before joining Essex in 2006. He has held several research awards, including a Marie Curie award from the European Commission and research fellowship from the Leverhulme Trust. His research focuses on both the history of political thought and contemporary political theory. He is currently writing a book about the ethics of skilled migration entitled The Brain Drain: A Moral Assessment.

Professor Gina Yannitell Reinhardt
'Social Science, Data, and You: How do we use social science and data analysis to create policy and public services?'

She says: “It can be difficult to understand how data and social science contribute to society and daily life. Yet people use social science insights and the analysis of information to make decisions every day. I will explain how we use social science to understand public service and policy performance, and answer questions such as: “Is this service achieving what we’d hoped?”; “Do we need a new policy to address this issue?”; and “How could we make this programme better, more efficient, or more able to reach underserved groups?” I will offer examples of these types of decisions that have been made that have helped people improve fire and rescue services, increase efficiency in providing social services, and make healthcare and health management more empowering for patients.”

Gina Yannitell Reinhardt is a Professor in the Department of Government at the University of Essex. She received her PhD (2005) in Political Science from Washington University in St. Louis and my BA (1997) in International Studies and Theatre from Rhodes College. Before joining the University of Essex in autumn 2015, she was a member of the faculty of the George H. W. Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M University. Her research focuses broadly on political trust, barriers to participation and access for under-represented populations, and the impact of public services. She has taught courses on research design, strategic decision-making, and data analysis for public servants. Her current research projects investigate policies designed to determine how to establish trust and connectedness among members of communities with diverse identities, how to understand the nexus of mental health and gender-based violence in precarious communities, how to govern the marine space to achieve the UK goals for NetZero 2030, and how to make research careers more inclusive. She is a member of the National Opportunities Network working to help widen access to postgraduate education and the UK National Decade Committee for the UN Decade of Ocean Science and founder of the ARISE consultancy, Disaster and Emergency Research Network, and Global South Academic Network.

Professor Reed Wood
'Gender Stereotypes, Female Fighters, and Audience Attitudes toward Violent Armed Groups'

Professor Wood summarises his presentation: "Rebels often attempt to cultivate and disseminate a positive, sympathetic narrative regarding the movement and its political goals. Gender frames and efforts to highlight female combatants sometimes figure prominently in these efforts. I describe and analyze these efforts in order to understand the use of gendered imagery—and particularly imagery of female fighters—as explicit rebel strategy. I then present the results of an experiment showing that such imagery positively influences audience attitudes toward rebel groups by strengthening observers’ beliefs about their legitimacy and their decision to use armed tactics."

Reed Wood is a Professor in the Department of Government at the University of Essex. He received a Ph.D. (2010) in Political Science from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill and a B.A. (2001) in History and Human Rights Studies from the University of North Carolina-Asheville. Before joining the University of Essex in Spring 2020, he was a member of the faculty of the School of Politics and Global Studies at Arizona State University. His research focuses broadly on political violence, conflict processes, and human rights. He teaches courses on insurgency and terrorism, gender and conflict, human rights, and international politics. His current research projects investigate the causes and implications of women’s participation in armed resistance movements, the influence of gender diversity on conflict resolution and post-conflict peace, and the influence of development and other forms of foreign aid on patterns of violence during civil conflicts.

The next two events will be on 15 and 22 February. For more information about the event series and to book a free place, follow this link.