CFP: Workshop on Populism and Global Politics

Call for Papers

British International Studies Association

Working Group on

The International Studies on the Mediterranean, Middle East, and Asia


Workshop on

Populism and Global Geopolitics:

Critical Reflections on Sovereignty, Borders and (un)Belonging

Department of International Politics Aberystwyth University

23-23 June 2017

The BISA ISMMEA Working Group is an interdisciplinary forum for engaging scholars, practitioners and policymakers. We focus on the geopolitics of the Mediterranean, Middle East and Asia beyond the bifurcated views of a West vs. non- Western world order on knowledge production, power, identity, and foreign policy and for a more critical and alternative approach to theorizing international relations.

Following our last two workshops on ‘Bodies, Borders and (un)Belonging’, and ‘Identity, Space and the Questions of State’ at the Westminster Forum in London this year’s annual workshop will take place at the Department of International Politics, Aberystwyth University on 22 and 23 June 2017. The theme of our workshops is inspired by the ongoing debates on the rise of nationalism, populism and refugee crisis at Europe’s unrelenting national borders, stateless nations, internally displaced minorities, Brexit and most recently the election of Donald Trump. While these events further exposed the blind spots within international relations, including Critical International Relations (CIR) it also highlighted global injustices and their relation to political power in different parts of the world, Western and non-western alike. In orthodox international relations, at least in the dominant Eurocentric discourses, global quest for justice is derived from liberal Western ideas and usually expressed in territorial nation-state terms. Has CIR opened the avenue to challenge the “methodological nationalism” of orthodox international relations’ obsession with maintaining the coherence of state sovereignty over any other claim to right, justice, identity or cosmopolitan citizenship?


With these contentions in mind, we call for critical, exploratory and inter-disciplinary perspectives on the nature and complexities of emerging challenges international relations scholars encounter with a global revival of populism and nationalism mixed with anti-immigration policies. We will critically reflect on how state sovereignty is constituted through embodied borders, violence, nationalist discourses of othering,

and the framing of pain and grievable life.


This workshop aims to extend the regional focus of the ISMMEA working group to the broad range of expertise of the BISA members and the research community of other working groups to exchange knowledge and ideas on ‘Populism and Global Geopolitics: Critical Reflections on Sovereignty, Borders and (un)Belonging.


We ask the following questions: What is the problem with populism? How can post- structuralism respond to populism and post-truth politics meaningfully? How borders function more than just a physical demarcation of nation-state, sovereignty and belonging?


We welcome papers proposals on the following themes:


Colonial continuities: Intervention, killing and postcolonial sovereign power; Embodied borders and practices of sovereignty;

Sovereign power and the politics of killing; Sovereignty as emotional performance; Bare life and sovereign exceptionalism;

Grievable/precarious life and the politics of framing pain; Machismo populism and the gendered nature of (un)belonging; National discourses of othering and exclusion;

And, ‘Consent’, agency and incitement in the Trump/Modi/Erdogan era


We invite scholars to discuss these issues and applications in the Mediterranean, Middle East and Asia with the aim of generating new knowledge and perspectives in critical international relations. We particularly welcome papers from a variety of disciplines and fields in humanities, social and political sciences. We will also invite prominent scholars to give keynotes and participate in the two-day workshop.


Deadline for Abstract Submission is 1 May 2017.


Please email the abstract (200 words max) and a short biographical note (100 words max) to by 1 May 2017.


Applicants will be notified of the decision in by 15 May 2017.


If accepted, participants are required to write a full paper (between 6,000 and 8,000 words) and submit it to no later than 15 June 2017.


Funding is contingent on submitting the paper by this deadline. Selected papers will

be published in an edited volume, after a peer-review and an editing process.