University of London Institute in Paris

9-11 rue de Constantine
75007 Paris

Seminar series
Challenging Europe

In what is perhaps in one of the most significant elections of The Fifth Republic, French citizens will be voting for a new president on 23 April and 7 May of this year.

The top four candidates are Francois Fillon (Les Républicains), Benoît Hamon (Socialists), Marine Le Pen (Front National) and Emmanuel Macron (Independent) and it may well be that the contest will be between two ‘outsiders’ – Le Pen and Macron representing different kinds of populism and politics.  Enveloped between Dutch (15 March 2017) and German (24 September 2017) elections and in the wake of the US election (8 November 2016), it will be closely watched by not only French citizens but also European, American, and international citizens at large. There are huge questions about France’s place in Europe and the world coded and recoded under familiar guises: immigration, austerity, reform, integration, and terrorism. Understanding how French citizens will shape a politics yet to come will require understanding the context for these huge questions.

This roundtable, chaired by Raymond Kuhn (Queen Mary University of London), with the participation of Alistair Cole (Sciences Po, Lyon), Helen Drake (University of Loughborough), and Rainbow Murray (Queen Mary University of London), will take place two days before the second round and will consider these wider questions of the changing French politics in the context of European and international political developments. Each speaker will take a few minutes to outline the main challenges they see from their perspectives. Then after a collective discussion the roundtable will open to questions from the audience.


18:00 - Registration 

18.30 - Roundtable discussion and audience Q&A
20:00 – Drinks Reception

The event is free but numbers are limited; please register in advance to reserve your place: Click here

Speaker Biographies


Prof Raymond Kuhn

Professor Raymond Kuhn

Professor of Politics at Queen Mary University of London

Prof Raymond Kuhn is one of the UK’s leading specialists on the French media. His book, Media in France (Routledge: 1995) has established itself as the key English language works on the topic. Prof Kuhn’s research interests lie in contemporary French politics, focussing on the politics of the Fifth Republic, with special emphasis on the executive, political leadership, elections, political communication, and the mediation of the interface between the public and the private. From 2004 to 2006 he was executive editor of the peer-reviewed research journal Modern & Contemporary France, one of the leading interdisciplinary journals on French studies in the UK. Prof Kuhn has recently published several pieces on political communication in Britain, including chapters in Blair's Britain, 1997-2007 (CUP: 2007), The Blair Effect 2001-5 (CUP: 2005), and Political Journalism: New Challenges, New Practices (Routledge: 2002), of which he also one of co-edited. He is currently working on a monograph entitled The French Media in the Twenty-First Century: Digital and Global Challenges, to be published by Palgrave Macmillan.

Alistair Cole Professor Alistair Cole

Professor of Politics at Sciences Po Lyon

Prof Alistair Cole has research interests in the sphere of contemporary and comparative European politics and policy, with special (but not exclusive) reference to France and Franco-British comparisons. He has been Professor of Politics and Director of International Strategy, Sciences Po Lyon, since 2015 (seconded from his position as the Professor of European Politics, Cardiff University).  He has published  more than twenty books, including most recently: French Politics and Society (Routledge: 2017); Cities as Political Objects (co-edited with Renaud Payre, Edward Elgar: 2016); and The Politics of Ethno-Linguistic Mobilization in Europe: Language Matters (co-edited with Jean-Baptiste Harguindeguy,  Routledge: 2014). Prof Cole was vice-Chair of ESRC’s Panel B from 2010 to 2014 and is currently a member of the French National Research Agency's main evaluation panel, as well as being a Fellow of the AcSS, FRSA, FRHS and FLSW.

Helen DrakeProfessor Helen Drake

Professor of French and European Studies at Loughborough University

Prof Helen Drake has longstanding research interests in the study of France in its international context. Professor of French and European Studies at Loughborough University, in 2010 she was named Chevalier dans l’Ordre des Palmes Académiques by the French government for services to French culture and language. Since September 2012 Prof Drake has been Chair of the UK’s leading academic association for European Studies, UACES.  She was awarded a Jean Monnet Chair in European integration by the European Commission in September 2013 and is using this to support her teaching at Loughborough. In addition, she has recently collaborated with different colleagues on varied questions about France. Publications here include her work with Saskia Huc-Hepher on the contemporary French population in London; and with Aidan McGarry on the security discourse still stigmatising the Roma population in France. Questions of EU governance also continue to drive her research interest and she has recently launched a research project based on the transfer of 50 years’ worth of UACES archives to the Historical Archives of the European Union (European University Institute, Florence). She is currently working solo on a monograph (Palgrave) on France’s relationship with the European Union.

Rainbow MurrayDr Rainbow Murray

Reader in Politics at Queen Mary University of London

Dr Rainbow Murray is an expert on gender politics, representation and political institutions, with particular expertise in French politics and secondary expertise in British and comparative politics.  She has been a Reader in Politics at Queen Mary University of London (QMUL) since 2007, during which time she has also held visiting fellowships at the London School of Economics, the Centre for Research on French Politics (CEVIPOF Paris), and the Ecole Normale Supérieure (Paris).  She is a fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. Rainbow’s major publications include the books Parties, Gender Quotas and Candidate Selection in France (Palgrave: 2010) and Cracking the Highest Glass Ceiling: A Global Comparison of Women’s Campaigns for Executive Office (Praeger: 2010).  She is close to completing a third book manuscript exploring the transformative effect of gender quotas on parliamentary representation.  She has also published in journals such as the American Political Science Review, West European Politics, the Political Research Quarterly, Party Politics, and Politics & Gender.  From 2011-15 she co-edited the European Journal of Political Research Political Data Yearbook.  Her research has been funded by the Leverhulme Trust, the British Academy and the City of Paris.

Seminar Series

This seminar forms part of our Challenging Europe: European Politics in Focus Seminar Series, a University of London Institute in Paris (ULIP) and Queen Mary University of London (QMUL) joint seminar series. The series looks at the current challenges facing Europe and offering a lively forum for debate and discussion for all and any interested parties.

The seminar features leading academics from both QMUL and ULIP, many of whom will be involved in the teaching of ULIP's new MA International Relations

Queen Mary University of London