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SIAS Green Impact Team goes GOLD!

16 June 2016

On Wednesday 15th June, the University’s Environmental Sustainability Team invited us all to the Blavatnik School of Government for their annual Sustainability Showcase.

We are proud to announce that the School’s Green Impact Team were presented with a Gold award – the highest accolade possible within the Green Impact scheme.

The Showcase is an opportunity to distribute awards to the numerous Green Impact teams and others involved in sustainability practices for their achievements over the past year and this year’s event was described by Professor William James, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Planning and Resources) as “the biggest celebration of social and environmental actions…at Oxford University ever” joining together the Sustainability Awards and the Social Impact Awards for the very first time.

Vice-Chancellor, Professor Louise Richardson said “There really is an extraordinary amount of work taking place in the University, both within the Departments and most particularly across them, which is really very exciting.”

The evening itself not only gave us the chance to celebrate our achievements, but also to take part in a tour of the recently opened Blavatnik School of Government at the Radcliffe Observatory Quarter. The building was designed and built with energy efficiency and sustainability targets at the fore and is expected to consume 49% less energy in comparison to existing UK buildings of the same size and usage. It has received a “BREEAM Excellent”* rating and incorporates a multitude of environmental systems in its design.

After the awards, we were all able to celebrate with a glass of sparkling wine and canapes from a local sustainable menu.

We would like to express our great thanks to the Environmental Sustainability Team for all of their support in helping us and other Green Impact teams achieve our goals over the past year and for organising such a wonderful event; we can’t wait to start again next term!

If you are a member of the School of Interdisciplinary Area Studies, staff or student, and would be interested in finding out more about the initiative or being part of the team, please contact us for details:



Philip Robins: new book 'Middle East Drugs Bazaar'

13 June 2016

Philip Robins' most recent publication is 'Middle East Drugs Bazaar'. The first book of its kind on drugs politics and policy in the Middle East is published by Oxford University Press (New York) and Hurst.  Click here for further details.  

Security and Defensive Democracy in Israel. A Critical Approach to Political Discourse by Dr Sharon Weinblum

13 March 2015

 Dr Sharon Weinblum, Israel Institute and Wiener-Anspach Postdoctoral fellow has just published a new book "Security and Defensive Democracy in Israel. A Critical Approach to Political Discourse (Routledge 2015)"

This book investigates how the relation between security and democracy is framed by Israeli lawmakers when confronted with security crises. Through the analysis of parliamentary debates held on security-oriented laws enacted before, during and after the second Palestinian intifada, the book demonstrates that the specific articulation of the security-democracy relation has deeply affected the boundaries and meaning of the Israeli "defensive" democratic regime over time. The book ultimately opens the possibility to rethink the conventional approach of the security-democracy dilemma in Israel and beyond.


Research Excellence Framework: Area Studies

18 December 2014

SIAS and Oriental Studies are delighted to note that our REF2014 submission was the largest made to the Area Studies panel by a considerable margin. 

Moreover it was rated as the most impressive in terms of volume of material that was judged to be world leading (4*) - again by a considerable margin.  These results confirm the position of scholars in Oriental Studies and SIAS as being pre-eminent among those working in area studies in the UK.  They demonstrate the significance of our contribution to the understanding of the world beyond Europe and North America and to the global status of Oxford University.

Bjarke Frellesvig, Chair of the Oriental Studies Faculty Board
Ian Neary, Head of SIAS


Philip Robins Visit to China with Middle East Centre Delegation

30 September 2014

Dr Philip Robins returned to China as part of a delegation that included colleagues from the Middle East Centre, St Antony’s College, in September. Among other things he attended an international conference organised by the Shanghai International Studies University. He subsequently travelled to the cities of Xian and Beijing. In the former he gave presentations at the North West Universityand the Shaanxi Normal University, on the devastating emergence of the ‘Islamic State’, and Turkey and the Kurds respectively. In Beijing he gave a paper at the Peking Academy of Social Sciences.

Middle East Studies Programme Co-Research Accord with Japanese Universities

13 August 2014

In a highly innovative and exciting agreement, SIAS has struck a co-research accord with two leading Japanese institutions, aimed at improving  the quality of research in select  Middle East countries.  Beginning in early 2015, four Japanese and UK-based scholars will work together in teams on partnership research that will generate new knowledge under the guidance of an academic mentor.   It is envisaged that the early research will focus on domestic political dynamics in Egypt, Iran and Turkey. Deputy Head of School, Dr Philip Robins, said that the strength of the venture was that it would boost collaborative research in the social sciences, to the benefit of all parties.The projects will be funded by Sasakawa Peace Foundation, arguably the leading independent Japanese research funding agency. The award is envisaged to be in excess of £160K in its first phase. The Japanese scholars from Waseda University, Oxford’s natural counter-part in Tokyo, are expected to arrive in Oxford in January to work with the Oxford based team.

Philip Robins New Publication: Middle East Drugs Bazaar

7 August 2014

Due to be published in January 2015 Middle East Drugs Bazaar: Production, Prevention and Consumption (Hurst & Co.)

Philip Robins visit to Tsinghua University, Beijing

7 August 2014

Philip Robins was invited on a sponsored visit to Tsinghua University in Beijing, where he took part in a panel discussion with Chinese colleagues on the issue of China and the Middle East.  The session was presided over by Professor Chen Qi, Resident Scholar Tsingua-Carnegie Center for Global Policy. Dr Robins is scheduled to return to China in September for further exchanges with Chinese academics in Shanghai, Xian and Beijing.


Derek Penslar New Publication: Jews and the Military

21 November 2013

Jews and the Military is the first comprehensive and comparative look at Jews' involvement in the military and their attitudes toward war from the 1600s until the creation of the state of Israel in 1948. Derek Penslar shows that although Jews have often been described as people who shun the army, in fact they have frequently been willing, even eager, to do military service, and only a minuscule minority have been pacifists. Penslar demonstrates that Israel's military ethos did not emerge from a vacuum and that long before the state's establishment, Jews had a vested interest in military affairs.

Spanning Europe, North America, and the Middle East, Penslar discusses the myths and realities of Jewish draft dodging, how Jews reacted to facing their coreligionists in battle, the careers of Jewish officers and their reception in the Jewish community, the effects of World War I on Jewish veterans, and Jewish participation in the Spanish Civil War and World War II. Penslar culminates with a study of Israel's War of Independence as a Jewish world war, which drew on the military expertise and financial support of a mobilized, global Jewish community. He considers how military service was a central issue in debates about Jewish emancipation and a primary indicator of the position of Jews in any given society.

Deconstructing old stereotypes, Jews and the Military radically transforms our understanding of Jews' historic relationship to war and military power.


Jews and the Military reviewed in the New York Times

21 November 2013

Derek Penslar's new publication 'Jews and the Military' has recently been reviewed in the New York Times.

SIAS twitter feed launch

3 September 2013

SIAS is on twitter (@SIASOxford). Please follow us to get notified about news and events from across the school.

Contribution from Philip Robins to Turkey Syria Relations publication

1 June 2013

Dr Philip Robins has contributed to the book Turkey-Syria Relations (Between Emnity and Amnity) with a chapter called 'Victory of Friendship'?: Asad, Erdogan and Football Diplomacy in Aleppo.

About our new website

1 December 2012

Welcome to our new-look website. Our goal is to improve user experience with a responsive design, built to work on mobile devices as well as desktop computers. We'd really like your feedback. Please use our contact page to tell us what you think.