Owen holds a Masters in Modern History from Oxford University, and also a BA and LLB from the University of Natal. He has been Head of Politics at Marlborough College and the King’s School, Canterbury and is now Sub-Dean of Pavocat’s Counter-Corruption Academy. He has organised conferences on Global Issues at Chatham House, RUSI and the Frontline Club.
Conflict, War and Terrorism
Threats to Democracy
Political Thought from Plato to NATO.
Social and Political Impact of the Pandemic.
They are a series of courses with the purpose to broaden academic horizons and interrogate key issues in today’s world.
Conflict, War and Terrorism: Throughout history, war seems to have had an iron grip on humanity. New technologies and new geopolitical battles may transform the face and purpose of war in the 21st century, but our capacity for war remains undiminished. This course will look at the changing face of modern conflict and also the impact of technology, with particular focus on the 9/11 wars and Syria. Does nuclear proliferation endanger global security? Also, what is terrorism and how significant a
threat is it? Do terrorists have rights? Finally, is a ‘clash of civilisations’ inevitable? (This course is approx. 6 hours)
Understanding UK Politics: This course is aimed at giving a basic grounding in how the ‘hidden wiring’ of the UK polity works. How is the right to govern conferred? What is the supremacy of Parliament? How powerful in the Prime Minister? What is the Union? What is the role of the Monarch? Magna Carta and journey to an independent judiciary? What everyone should know about the most explosive political issue of our time? The course includes visual content, is debate focused and also gives an idea of how to follow engage with following the media. (This course is approx. 5 hours)
Threats to Democracy: Can an election be rigged? In what ways can hacking be seen as a legitimate form of activism or civil disobedience? Can democracy in the digital age benefit from a ‘hacker ethos’? What is ‘populism’? Can populism be put down to inequality and financial crisis? Is the global liberal order in retreat? (This course is approx. 4 hours)
Political Thought from Plato to NATO: The history of political thought is the history of man's attempts over the centuries to answer the question, 'Why should I obey the State?'. But even to ask it poses many more questions. What is the State and what should it be? How can it be constructed, organised, overcome? Would we be
better off without it? This course will look at political thought with a particular focus on Plato’s ideas and then ranging over thinkers including Hobbes, Machiavelli, Locke, Rousseau, Burke, JS Mill and Marx; and ending with a discussion on the ‘Fourth Revolution'. (This course is approx. 6 hours)
Social and Political Impact of the Pandemic: We will look briefly at the impact of the pandemic on democracy and global governance and order e.g. Have there been differences in how democratic and authoritarian states have responded to the pandemic? Can liberal democracies protect their citizens? How has the pandemic impacted on the state? In a world of ‘black sky hazards’ can the UN be rendered fit for the 21st Century? Which states might be characterised as ‘Bad Samaritans’ having looked
to profit geopolitically? (This course is approx. 3 hours)
South Africa: The Rise and Fall of Apartheid and the legacy of Nelson Mandela:
This course gives a potted history of South Africa from ‘First Man’ to ‘Last Nation’; with particular focus on what was Apartheid and how did it fall. Also Nelson Mandela’s life and legacy will be explored, and we will examine South Africa’s current challenges. If there is interest, bespoke topics could include the Anglo-Zulu War of 1879 and The South Africa War 1899-1902. Owen was an Election Monitor in the 1994 South African election, and this course includes extensive personal insights. (This course approx. 4-6 hours)