Annual International Studies Convention 2013

December 10–12, 2013  | Convention Centre, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, INDIA

Annual International Studies Convention 2013 is being organised by the School of International Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), in partnership with Central University of Gujarat, University of Calcutta, University of Hyderabad, University of Pune, Pondicherry University and Panjab University from 10th to 12th December 2013 at Convention Centre, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi.

The Academic Committee for AISC 2013 received 534 papers and 48 Panel proposals on the theme: Re-imagining Global Orders: Perspectives from the South. After a double blind academic peer review process, 298 papers were selected for presentation in the Annual Convention and have been organised into 49 thematic panels. Since several thematic panels will continue for more than one technical session, there will be 71 panels in all. There are nine technical sessions, during each of which eight panels will be held in parallel (with the exception of the last technical session, which will accommodate seven panels in parallel).

Apart from the thematic panels and technical sessions, the Annual Convention will also showcase seven plenary sessions including the Inaugural and Valedictory sessions. There will be two roundtables and four workshops as well.

Over half the papers to be presented during AISC 2013 can already be accessed in the Papers Archive. The Academic Committee encourages the remaining panellists to also submit their papers as soon as possible.

Concept Note : Re-imagining Global Orders: Perspectives from the South  

In International Relations, two trends are currently evident in the context of global order. First, the discipline no longer views global order as monolithic, but rather as a system of layered orders operating at multiple levels and encompassing issue areas that span political, security, economic, socio-cultural, environmental, technological, and information orders. Second, traditional notions of global order, understood in terms of polarity and state-centricity, are changing to accommodate shifts in the distribution of power and the emergence of multiple new issue areas and actors. These multi-level, multi-factorial and multi-causal transitions necessitate a re-imagining of global orders.

Dominant imaginations of global orders have almost entirely been conceived along the lines of either an ‘American social science’ or cast in strong Eurocentric terms, as noted by several scholars. However, the impact of locational discourses on defining normative perspectives has found recognition, with the increasing consciousness that what ‘is’ depends on who is saying. In these re-imaginings, therefore, a seminal component is the notion of ‘Global South’. This then raises the question of whether there is a Global South way of looking at the various concepts, theories, issues, actors, areas, institutions, and processes of international relations.

The proponents of Global South exceptionalism maintain that the concepts, vocabulary, approaches, and methods used to capture the conditions and experiences of the Global South are inadequate if we continue to rely on traditional conceptual frameworks. The opponents however, assert that a separate analytical framework is not required to understand the Global South. This debate between ‘exceptionalism’ and ‘universalism’, defined by nuanced perspectives, has opened many productive lines of enquiry. At the outset, the very idea of Global South itself needs to be understood in terms of its conceptual content, definitional contours and evolutionary trajectory. Further, it needs to be recognised that perspectives from the Global South can provide a critical value-addition and potentially enrich existing debates by offering alternative ideas such as, inter alia, ‘Responsibility while Protecting’ (RwP) alongside ‘Responsibility to Protect’ (R2P); the notion of ‘emerging powers’ instead of ‘pivotal states’; ‘dialogue between civilizations’ instead of ‘clash of civilizations’; and ‘development partnership’ rather than ‘economic aid’. These reformulations help infuse existing concepts with sensibilities/sensitivities that are in tune with the needs of the Global South. However, a Global South perspective involves not just revisiting existing debates and issues, but also re-conceptualising and re-imagining them. Some such ‘re-imaginings’ emanating from the South include dependency theory, the notion of human development and the principle of differentiated responsibilities.

Does the Global South postulate any theoretical tools to understand the changing concepts (power, conflict, sovereignty, order, democracy, equity, justice); issue areas (security, gender, trade, development, climate change, globalisation, nuclear disarmament, proliferation, terrorism, cyber security, disaster management); and actors (state, non-state, trans-national, inter-governmental, sub-national, supra-national) that constitute the fluid matrix of international political life? It is imperative to comprehend how the Global South redefines and understands not just the existing themes in international relations but also the study of specific areas/regions. Further, in attempting to comprehend the interface between the Global South on one hand and international law and organisations on the other, the two-way interaction and impact that defines this relationship needs to be recognised.

Another significant aspect relates to how the Global South views and responds to the processes of globalisation. While the Global South may not necessarily determine the nature, degree and direction of globalisation, it often is at the receiving end. Furthermore, the changing contours of the world economy need analysis in the context of significant shifts in global economic power. Instead of the Global South merely replicating the North, there is an urgent need to rethink international monetary and fiscal best practices and develop alternatives to the dominant neoliberal development discourse. The prominent role that the Global South has come to play is exemplified in the Doha Round of trade negotiations and in the debates over the reform of the international financial architecture.

Though the Global North engages with the discourse of gender studies, it does not factor in the aspect of ‘double deprivation’ of women in the Global South, resulting from the twin incidence of poverty and gender discrimination. Likewise, on other issues such as climate change, human rights and development assistance, the predominant view of the Global South cannot be ignored while attempting to re-imagine global orders. Scholarship also needs to capture the variations in perceptions on the Global South – between state and non-state actors and between powerful and weak states. Also, how does the notion of Global South accommodate empirical developments such as the emergence of rising powers?

How do we measure the changes that constitute the emerging global orders? Given the distinct experiences of the Global South, do we need alternative research methods? What are the epistemologies and ontologies of the Global South? Is it possible to enrich the normative mainstream conceptualisations in IR by drawing from the common historical experiences of the Global South? Is there room for non-western doctrinal insights, such as those of Kautilya and Sun Tzu, within the discipline of mainstream IR? These are some of the methodological concerns that are likely to emerge, given the theme of the Convention.

It is expected that each paper submitted for consideration will specifically address the central concerns of the Convention, capturing the key themes of ‘normative approaches’, ‘re-imaginings’ and ‘Global South’.

AISC 2013 host

Convention Partners

Convention supported by: Public Diplomacy Division - Ministry of External Affairs
Indian Council of Social Science Research