EVENT – SAVE THE DATE – GLOBAL POLITICS UNBOUND LAUNCH

Global Politics Unbound would like to invite you to attend their launch on Wednesday, 19 October 2022, from 5 – 9 pm in the 7th Floor Common Room, Graduate Centre, Mile End.

Global Politics Unbound is a research group within Queen Mary University of London’s School of Politics and International Relations. It invites research on the uneven and entangled nature of international politics, the continuities and frictions of colonial and capitalist relations, the raced, classed and gendered structures that undergird our everyday practices, and the different struggles and actors that seek to transform them. Overall, the idea behind our collective work is to see the world as connected, and to explore what that means to the study of global politics.

On the night, we will be serving delicious nibbles, wine and soft drinks. We will also be running a photo competition showcasing your research through pictures, photos, or any image that best represents your current work. There are four prizes from Pages of Hackney to be won. Please send any images which you would be happy for us to share to spir-global-politics-unbound@qmul.ac.uk.

We look forward to seeing you there.

Warm regards,

Global Politics Unbound

Email: spir-global-politics-unbound@qmul.ac.uk

EVENT – SURVIVING SOCIETY PRESENTS: MATERIAL CRIMES, 6.30-9PM, THURSDAY 14TH JULY 2022, CONWAY HALL (Co-sponsored by GPU)

GPU is proud to co-sponsor the launch of Material Crimes, a podcast produced in collaboration with Surviving Society.

Come and celebrate the launch of Material Crimes, a podcast produced in collaboration with Surviving Society! We’ll hear from the authors behind our season one episodes – Daniel Selwyn, Mor Cohen, Sharri Plonski, and Shereen Fernandez – who will discuss the relationship between infrastructure, capitalism, and colonialism with Surviving Society’s regular hosts, Chantelle Lewis and Tissot Regis and the rest of the creative team. Artworks made for the project by Frederick Kannemeyer will also be on display. There may even be a sneak preview of some of the episodes…….

We will also have some refreshments for everyone to enjoy.

The event will be held in the Brockway Room at Conway Hall, 25 Red Lion Square, WC1R 4RL, 6.30 – 9pm. The launch is free, but entry will be on a first come first served basis, so get there early! You can RSVP using this Eventbrite link. We look forward to seeing you there! 

CALL FOR PAPERS – Doing IPS, PhD Seminar Series 2022/23 (deadline 10 July 2022)

IPS is a collaborative intellectual project that seeks to challenge the fundamental oppositions within traditional theorising, such as that between politics and society, the individual and the collective, structure and agency, internal and external, international and national or local.

Into its 5th year, the ‘Doing IPS’ PhD Seminar Series introduces graduate students to research inspired by International Political Sociology’s (IPS) commitment to challenge methodological and conceptual assumptions in their research disciplines, and ask new questions about transdisciplinary modes of inquiry. In addition to address the need for doctoral candidates to have a forum dedicated to IPS, the series will strengthen the analysis and evaluation skills of early career researchers.

Key Information from the Organizers

  • We invite applications from doctoral students in any discipline across the social sciences and humanities.
  • A commitment to attend all seminars throughout the year as well as to participate actively in the discussions is expected from participants.
  • The Doing IPS Seminar series will take place in-person this year, hence priority will be given to participants who can commit to come in-person to the sessions. We understand travel will not always be possible, but we are seeking to, once again, foster a supportive and collegial environment, which is best facilitated by an in-person experience.
  • Please be aware that this is a forum for extensive and engaged discussion of your work; if you are planning on presenting near the time you will be submitting your thesis, please make us aware when you apply.
  • Limited travel and accommodation grants are available for participants based outside London (to be considered on a case-by-case basis).

Deadline is 10th of July 2022. All details about the application are enclosed in the brochure below:

EVENT – The Meanings of Internationalism: Perspectives from the History of Radical Political Thought (June 10 2022)

About this event

What do we mean when we talk about internationalism? In the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, both mainstream and left-wing discourses have brought the question of internationalism to the fore. Yet, as rifts within the left around the NATO/Russia question have deepened, the meaning of internationalism has also shown itself to be nebulous. Internationalism often takes the form of an exhortation to think or act beyond the border or boundary, but its political content remains underdetermined. This roundtable delves into the histories of internationalism, in political thought and in political struggle, in order to help clarify its stakes and possibilities in the present.

Bringing together speakers from across international studies and the history of political thought, the symposium will interrogate the complex and contradictory histories of internationalism in different regions and movements across the twentieth century, asking such questions as: Have practices of internationalism and theories of imperialism always been reliant on one another? What role have the nation, nationalism, or national self-determination played in internationalist struggles? What challenges and limits did internationalist movements encounter – and what legacies and problems do they leave us with today?

Speakers: Maria Chehonadskih (Central Saint Martins), Dilar Dirik (Oxford), Layli Uddin (Queen Mary), Musab Younis (Queen Mary)

Chair: Lukas Slothuus (LSE) with Miri Davidson (Queen Mary)

Organised by Radical International Theory Research Group (Alexander Stoffel, Felix DelCampo, Timor Landherr and Miri Davidson) and Millennium: Journal of International Studies, with the generous sponsorship of the Leverhulme Trust.

Register to the event here: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/the-meanings-of-internationalism-an-evening-symposium-tickets-332768177577

Special Issue – The Reconfiguration of Twenty-First Century Latin American Regionalism: Actors, Processes, Contradictions, and Prospects

In this special issue of Globalizations, Rowan Lubbock and Ernesto Vivares (FLACSO-Ecuador) seek to unsettle the staid narratives about regional integration within mainstream scholarship, by offering a multi-dimensional perspective on the making of regional spaces from above and below. Covering a range of contemporary regional institutions in Latin America (MERCOSUR, Pacific Alliance, ALBA-TCP, and UNSASUR), as well as regionalisms from below (indigenous/peasant regionalism), the SI aims to bring a more holistic understanding to an ever-expanding area of scholarship on both sides of the Atlantic.

The special issue is available in its entirety at https://www.tandfonline.com/toc/rglo20/current.

The Trans Allegory and International Studies: A Conversation with Professor Emma Heaney

How has the figure of the trans feminine shaped contemporary scholarship in the field of mobility, migration, and transnational politics? In recent years, numerous scholars have turned to trans theory as a source of inspiration to rethink foundational assumptions, concepts, and narratives within international studies. This new trend raises critical questions about the purpose, methods, ethics, and political implications of knowledge production that draws on the lives of transgender people. To discuss the treatment of transgender people within international studies, Leverhulme Trust Doctoral Scholars Alexander Stoffel and Ida Birkvad are joined by Emma Heaney, Assistant Professor in the Department of English at William Paterson University. 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_nxQAz6iJ3U

CFP: ERCs’ Interdisciplinary Seminar Series on Politics of the Middle East

Deadline for applications: Tuesday, 30th November 2021 at midnight GMT

Aims

This is a cross-disciplinary and cross-institutional seminar series which aims to bring together a diverse body of early career researchers (postdoctoral, PhD candidates, and advanced masters) working on the politics of the Middle East. It addresses the need for early career researchers studying this region to have a forum where they can: (1) present their work and receive feedback from peers and more senior academics in the field, (2) engage with contemporary research designs and theoretical debates, and (3) develop cross-disciplinary and cross-institutional relationships to facilitate further collaborations, particularly across geographic borders. More widely, the series will strengthen the regional knowledge and analytic skills of early career researchers.

Building on the success of last year, the 2022 Series seeks to recruit up to 20 presenters whose work makes original theoretical and empirical contributions to the production of knowledge on the politics of the Middle East. Although there are constraints on the number of presenters, we are keen to include as many participants as possible in the seminar series. Applicants not accepted as presenters will be invited to participate as members of the audience.

Themes

The themes of interest include, but are by no means limited to:

  • Coloniality, decoloniality, postcolonialism and anticolonialism
  • War, conflict, and political violence
  • Resistance, revolution, and regime change
  • Authoritarianism, authoritarian resilience, and hybrid regimes
  • Citizenship, foreignness, and alienation
  • Race and racism
  • Islam, Judaism, Christianity, and minority religions
  • Queer, LGBT, and gender studies
  • Culture, identity, and nation-building
  • Sovereignty, independence, and the fragile state
  • Neoliberalism, World Bank and IMF, and international political economy
  • Alternative and indigenous theories of and/or from the Middle East
  • Innovative methods of research and fieldwork
  • Informal politics, resistance, resilience

Programme and Structure

The series runs over a period of 12 months starting from January 2022 usually meeting on the last Monday of each month. It meets monthly for a two-hour session with the exception of the opening session, which will be longer to allow for introductions. In line with the academic calendar, we will not hold sessions in July or August. All events will be held online and papers will be circulated at least one week prior to each session.

Participants are expected to attend every session and are required to read the papers being presented in advance and prepare questions and comments. As the intention of the seminar series is to foster meaningful and rigorous dialogue and forge long-term linkages between early career researchers, we would like to stress the importance of commitment from participants. If you feel your attendance throughout the full year will not be possible, please do not apply to present, but attend as an audience member.

Standard sessions

In the ten standard sessions, two participants will present a piece of work-in-progress (8,000-12,000 words of a thesis chapter, book chapter, journal manuscript, book proposal etc.) to the group. Participants will be paired on the basis of complementary thematic, geographic or disciplinary concerns.

Each presenter will invite an academic of their choice to act as discussant. It is your responsibility to organise a discussant and send your paper to them in advance of the session. Organisers will be on hand to advise the presenters in arranging discussants.

Each presenter is allocated one hour, and all participants are expected to have read the papers in advance. Presenters will provide a 10 minute presentation, followed by 20 minutes of feedback from the discussant, finishing with a 30 minute Q&A with the seminar participants.

Presenters are also encouraged to invite their supervisors and colleagues interested in their work.

Non-standard sessions

We are committed to our participants’ intellectual and professional development. We will therefore also run writing retreats and special sessions that will be organised ad hoc throughout the year and are keen to gather and accommodate requests for sessions that will be of interest to the group. We will also be organising workshops and master-classes in coordination with the seminar participants, hopefully hosted by other institutions.

Application

We accept applications from early career researchers in any discipline across the social sciences and humanities.

Applications should include:

  • A short bio (name, professional title or status, thesis title, and keywords that describe your research interests)
  • ●      A short statement of interest indicating how you will benefit from participation and an acknowledgement of your commitment throughout the full year (150 words)
  • Abstract of the work-in-progress you plan to present (250 words)

Please send your application via this form: https://forms.gle/3Ae3SkG6gdLJVvyt9

***Applications will only be accepted through this form.***
The deadline for applications is Tuesday, 30th November 2021 at midnight GMT

If you have any questions, please feel free to email us at pome.seminarseries@gmail.com.

Notifications of acceptance will be sent in December and the first session is to be held in late January 2022.

Organisers*

Dina Hosni (Frankfurt Goethe/American University in Cairo)

Hannah Owens (Queen Mary)

Rasmieyh Abdelnabi (George Mason University)

*We are looking for individuals to join our organising committee. Tasks include running sessions and handling administrative issues collaboratively. We are looking for three people. If you are interested please email us at pome.seminarseries@gmail.com.

Doing IPS at the European International Studies Association

Doing International Political Sociology has organised 15 panels and roundtables for the On-line Pan-European Conference 2021 of the European International Studies Association (EISA). You can access the programme here: https://eisa-net.org/programme/#topanchor 

For further details filter in the programme page for the section S08 Doing International Political Sociology


List of panels and roundtables:

Panel: Rethinking the Study of International Interventions through Transversal Lines of Inquiry

Roundtable: The emergence of natively digital international politics

Panel: Borders, mobility, security.

Panel: An IPS of counterpolitics, resistances, affects.

Panel: Imagining places: maps, movement and nationalisms

Roundtable: Contemporary explorations of the problem of the International in IPS

Panel: Rethinking International Social Sciences

Panel: International Political Sociology of rights, processes, organizations.

Panel: Inhabiting the Ruins I: navigating failure, anxiety and endurance

Panel: Fracturing moral authority: Transversal approaches to normative orders 

Panel: Transversalizing the International

Panel: Inhabiting the Ruins II: navigating failure, anxiety and endurance

Panel: Regimes of power/(non)knowledge in governing borders and mobility

Roundtable: The social as a key stake in IPS. Forget rules and norms; think relations with a difference?

Panel: New Research in International Political Sociology 

New Publication: Autonomous Weapons Systems, Artificial Intelligence, and the Problem of Meaningful Human Control

By Dr Elke Schwarz

Abstract: In this article, I explore the (im)possibility of human control and question the presupposition that we can be morally adequately or meaningfully in control over AI-supported LAWS. Taking seriously Wiener’s warning that “machines can and do transcend some of the limitations of their designers and that in doing so they may be both effective and dangerous,” I argue that in the LAWS human-machine complex, technological features and the underlying logic of the AI system progressively close the spaces and limit the capacities required for human moral agency.

The article can be read in the special issue on “Military Technology and Armed Forces” of PHILOSOPHICAL JOURNAL OF CONFLICT AND VIOLENCE (PJCV). The whole issue is open access and available at https://trivent-publishing.eu/home/129-philosophical-journal-of-conflict-and-violence-pjcv-military-technology-and-the-armed-forces.html

The Namesake: Migration and Environmental Crises

Authors:  Dr. Cristina-Ioana Dragomir,  Queen Mary University of London SPIR Visiting Researcher, faculty New York University, Global Liberal Studies

Anushka Akhtar, 2021 Queen Mary University of London, graduate in BSc. Economics and Politics 

Ryan  Bhadlawala 2020 Queen Mary University of London, graduate in BA.  School of Political and International Relations

Environmental crises, migration, and internal displacement

As Dina Ionesco, the Head of the Migration, Environment and Climate Change (MECC) Division at the UN Migration Agency (IOM), argued in 2019, “Climate migrants have been invisible for many years on the migration and climate debates”. The nexus of migration, environment, and climate change has long had an impact, but rarely formally discussed. In the meantime, the number of environmental migrants has expanded rapidly. The Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC) 2019  report showed that 16.1 mil people have been displaced due to weather concerns, among which 764,000 people were displaced following droughts. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), meanwhile, predicts that people affected by climate disasters will reach 200 million by 2050.

While environmental changes can affect people through sudden events, disasters linked with climate change mostly take place over long periods of time. Adverse effects on crop production, as well as soil, water, air, and overall quality of life, eventually force people to flee for lack of livelihood. Environmental mobility is often linked to poverty, racism, xenophobia, and sexism, making it even more difficult to account for one reason that determined migration. Thus, it is often impossible to assess how much internal displacement is due to the changing environment.

As millions are forcibly displaced both within their own country and internationally, the Nansen Initiative emphasizes the need for  “an inter-governmental process to address the challenges of cross-border displacement.” Nevertheless, to dat, the terms needed to address these issues, like “climate migrants” and “climate refugees” are neither widely politically accepted, nor do they have legal power. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), while admitting that “people may have a valid claim for refugee status” –  where climate change interacts with armed conflict and violence – does not endorse the term “climate refugee,” but argues in favor of using “persons displaced in the context of disasters and climate change.”  IOM also rejects the term “climate refugee”, and  argues in favor of “climate migrant,” which emphasizes the importance of developing regular migration pathways, which“can provide relevant protection for climate migrants and facilitate migration strategies in response to environmental factors.”(IOM, 2019).

Lacking a legal name creates ripple effects on the ground. It is already common knowledge that to address migration we need to address its root-causes, as well as create conditions for people’s return. But lacking a name and a legal framework for those who move because of environmental concerns, creates gaps in categorizations, counting, policies and programming.

For example, while the 2011 census in India states that there are about 450 million internal migrants, the percentage of those who move due to environmental concerns is unknown.  As a result of this lack of legal categorization, and because of the slow onset of climate crises, environmental Internally Displaced Peoples (IDPs)/ migrants/refugees, are often miscategorized as labor/ economic migrants, and (mis)treated accordingly. 

Those who move due to the slow-onset of climate disasters, are difficult to identify, and many of their stories are rarely heard. One of them was Raghu Chikkanerele:

My name is Raghu Chikkanerele. I am from Mysore district, Priyapatna Taluka in Karnataka. I am from a farmer family, but I had migrated to Bangalore city about 7-8 years back. The reason for migration was that farming didn’t offer much economic opportunities. As a child, when I used to go to the farm, I used to see only trees in our farms. But by the time I grew up, the trees had been completely destroyed. So somewhere inside me I had this awareness that our nature is getting destroyed, our environment is getting destroyed which also includes our lives. (Courtesy of Isha Foundation)

The story of Mr. Raghu highlights how environmental changes have affected one’s livelihood. It also brings to view how difficult it is to analytically and politically distinguish between intersecting causes of migration. Also, brings to view how environmental degradation took place over his lifetime, forcing him to move from rural to urban areas in search of livelihood, transforming him into a so-called: “labor migrant.” 

Environmental degradation and water challenges  

Raghu’s situation is not exceptional. It is the story of millions who are lost in namelessness. It is a story difficult to grasp in studies of mobility. The recent (2019) droughts in South India affected large rivers in Tamil Nadu, like Cauvery which flows over Tamil Nadu and Karnataka ultimately descending into the Eastern Ghats. This raised international attention on looming climate disasters, enabling more complex conversations on environmental concerns.   

“It’s very painful to see our place like this. How glorious it was before! Now it’s very painful to see Cauvery like this. At that time, it was raining, crops were growing, and people were eating. Now there are no crops, so people are working as laborers.” “When there was abundant water in Cauvery, we had three harvests, gradually it reduced to two harvests. Lately, we are struggling to make one harvest. Some 20 years later, there won’t be water in Cauvery at all. It will become fully dry. There won’t be any water to drink at all”- shared farmers in South India (Isha Outreach, 2021)

Recent climate changes in the Cauvery Basin in South India have created disastrous effects on both the environment and communities, leading to over 11,000 annual suicides by debt-ridden farmers, as well as massive internal displacement from southern states of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu to Mumbai and Delhi. But these climate induced migrations are largely misrecognized; those who are forced to leave their places because of environmental disasters, are typically labeled as “labor migrants,” and thrown into the larger unaccounted Indian mobile population. Faced with low wages and lack of permanent job security, they become particularly vulnerable to uncertainty and shocks in the urban labor system. Furthermore, their lack of urban networks  and  opportunities diminish their resilience and adaptability to natural disasters and extreme climate conditions. This often results in a precarious process, which places migrants in a state of extreme vulnerability, making them  more susceptible to highly exploitative work conditions, health risks, and marginalization and the risks of climate change.  Their lack of categorization as climate IDPs or refugees, makes them invisible in policies, programs, subsidies, and schemes that could support them.   

Policy and civil society context

Lacking institutional support, often people took matters into their own-hands and tried to address the root-cases of their migration by engaging with the land:

“My name is Diwakar. I am from a farmer’s family. My father had to migrate to Bangalore to work. I then got married and started my life there. In this Coronavirus pandemic instead of roaming in Bangalore, I just decided to migrate back to my native place ‘Kurubara Halli’, Karnataka to do something in agriculture with my father. (…) As I have an interest in this field I came and planted Chilli. Recently, I got to know about the Cauvery Calling project and I planted around 200 to 250 saplings. (…) I seized this opportunity to develop and invest in my farm and the trees will be like an additional security net in these unpredictable times. (…) This part of the district is very dry and we have almost no shade. By growing plants and trees the atmosphere will become cool, and we are hoping we will get rain as well. I urge each and every village to come and take saplings and create green earth and should help nature and our next generation.” (Diwakar, 2020; courtesy ofIsha Foundation)

Believing that their engagement with the land would address environmental and economic concerns, people like Diwakar engage in agroforestry as a long-term investment. These individual endeavors have also been complemented by actions at the civil society level. Thus, large scale agroforestry programs have been a part of the decades-long effort to reinvigorate India’s soil, forests, environment and economic development. The 2014 National Agroforestry Policy sets up a National Agroforestry Mission to “achieve sustainability in agriculture while optimizing its productivity and mitigating climate change impact” (Indian Ministry of Agriculture, 6 February 2014). Similar programs have been launched in the states of Tamil Nadu, and Karnataka (and more) aiming for the plantation of over a hundred million saplings, hoping to generate income, address the environmental crisis, and economic constraints.

Like other Indian rivers, the Cauvery river  mentioned above,  has lost over 40% of groundwater in the last 70 years and 87% of the basin’s original tree cover, causing drought. As a result, the Cauvery Calling project was launched by Isha Outreach to scale up their two decades of grassroot work supporting reforestation efforts in India’s degraded areas, to raise awareness about the country’s drying rivers and to limit disasters and displacement linked with environmental change. The twelve-year project aims to support farmers like Diwakar and Raghu in the Cauvery basin to plant 2.42 billion trees in their farmlands. Its goals are to improve soil health by replenishing organic content, reviving the river and groundwater level by increasing water retention by an estimated 40%, and increasing farmers’ income by 300-800% in 5 to 7 years. This project is headed by Isha Foundation, an organization whose leader Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev is well-known for “marrying” spiritual and environmental endeavors

“Cauvery basin amounts to about 83,000 square kilometers. We want to convert 1/3 of the Cauvery into Agroforestry. If you do this, the 40% depletion that’s happened in the river waters will come back; the river will flow once again, farmers will be rich and well to do. (…) I want to officiate the marriage of economy and ecology. Only then we will produce something significant. Ecology is not against the economic well-being of the people. Economy and ecology have to go hand in hand” (Sadhguru, 2020)

Since 1998, the foundation  reported that over 5.2 million saplings  have been planted, by approximately 107,000 farmers, integrating Cauvery Calling in larger global projects with convergent environmental and economic aims: “If the farmers have an investment in the land, they will not leave their investment” mentioned Sadhguru (personal interview, Dr. Dragomir,  2020) referring to the investment in trees on their land as ways of curbing displacement and ensuring sustainability.

The project mobilized people on the ground, but to create a viable sustainable path, efforts such as those of Cauvery Calling need to be furthered at the political, economic and scientific levels. Planting trees is not a one-size-fits-all solution, but it is nevertheless an important step in addressing both environmental concerns and human rights. And it creates the possibility of bringing together different actors across society locally, nationally and internationally. As the UNCCD Executive Secretary,  Ibrahim Thiaw said in September 2020, reforestation brings back opportunities, jobs, and reasons to stay for millions, and “Cauvery Calling could be a large scale project that helps improve the living conditions of most vulnerable populations while rehabilitating the land sustaining all of us.”

Civil society initiatives, such as Cauvery Calling could mitigate the consequences of environmental degradation. The grassroot approach is effective in spreading awareness and mobilizing the public. Institutions like Isha Outreach successfully build trust and rapport with local farming communities, which enables a strong alliance at the ground level. However, such organizations cannot bear the responsibility of replenishing the environment alone. Their endeavors need to be bolstered by top-down support from international organizations, government policies, and capital investment to mitigate pollution. Moreover, if our goal is to address root-causes of forced migration due to environmental concerns, these programs  need to be empowered by legislative tools that clearly define those affected by climate disasters. 

A path forward:  in need of a name

Programs such as Cauvery Calling, Trillion Trees, and even The 2014 National Agroforestry Policy do not address migration and internal displacement directly. Their work has a larger scope, and while they might tangentially help environmentally affected migrants, they rarely directly touch their lives. This situation is due to the mis-recognition at the political level of those displaced by environmental crises. Their migration stories are often lost in the background, and rarely linked to environmental crises.

The terms “climate refugee,” “climate IDP,” and “climate migrant” are imperfect by far. They remind us of a long legacy of oppression and colonization, intertwined with religious legacy and with an international hierarchy of power, that together (re)establish the “savior” role of the   (typically) Western countries. While the lexicon of migration needs to come under serious scrutiny and reimagination, accepting these as operational concepts and legal terms, would help address and mitigate the human cost of the climate crisis.     

As long as we do not have legally recognized categorization of climate migrants, refugees, IDPs, for those affected by climate disasters, people like Mr. Raghu and Mr. Diwakar will fall through the cracks of policies, forgotten by policy makers, unacknowledged by international programs, and left to make ends meet with the help of civil society. It is thus imperative to create a complex lexicon that includes environmental IDPs, refugees and migrants, one that is accepted and implemented holistically, which will enable focus on those who move because of climate change.

Special thanks for Isha Foundation for their interviews on the ground, and to Dr. Rowan Lubbock for making our work better.