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Call for Papers: RIA annual conference on International Affairs 2024

06 March 2024

Proposals are invited for papers addressing the theme of 'The West or the Rest?-Identity, Ideology, Institutions'  for the annual International Affairs conference on the 1 of May 2024. Deadline for abstract submission:  Monday 11 March 2024.

The current escalation of international division has come coupled with a resurgence of the use of the term “the West”. As a post-colonial nation on the edge of Europe, Ireland has historically found it relatively easy, while primarily seeing itself as a democracy and market economy, to avoid the problematic historical legacies many “Western” countries face as former imperialist powers. Ireland has maintained relatively good relations and open dialogue with the decolonized nations which constitute the so-called “global south”. Ireland has thus, until now, been spared the diplomatic problems associated with the concept of “the West” in international politics – such as the negative reaction it inspires in many non-European countries through its implied culturally exclusivist claims on “freedom and democracy” and “the international community”. Ireland’s own cultural identity has recently been further diversified by multiple multi-cultural contributions to Irish society. This adds to the complexity of how Ireland self-identifies and positions itself in a postcolonial world that still retains deeply embedded imperial identities, knowledges and international relations.

This conference seeks to interrogate the concept of “the West” in international affairs, particularly as it relates to positioning and identity. We welcome papers that think about the pragmatic implications of the use of this term in communication and international positioning (including diplomacy), or which reflect on the underlying meanings this concept might (or might not) have for self-identification, including the way it defines (and possibly limits) the parameters of cultural diversity and national pluralism. We therefore aim to attract papers both on the international politics implications of the resurgence of this term, as well as on its relation to cultural development and identity.

The keynote speaker will be the Tánaiste (Deputy Prime Minister) and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Defence of Ireland, Micheál Martin, T.D. The plenary speaker will be Professor Naoise Mac Sweeney (Vienna), author of The West: A New History of an Old Idea (2023).

Paper proposals of not more than 400 words and a cv should be uploaded using this form

Queries can be directed to Written versions of accepted papers will be submitted for consideration for a special issue of Irish Studies in International Affairs.

Deadline for abstract submission:  Monday 11 March 2024.

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