EISA PEC 23 | International Political Design

Myself and Anna Leander are running a call for papers for the ‘International Political Design’ section of the European International Studies Association Pan-European Conference in 2023!


What do the majority of social scientists studying world politics do? They read. They write. Some run numbers. Some go to archives. Some head to the field. That’s what most scholars of world politics do. But what if we – instead – imagined a student of world politics standing in a factory, at the end of a production line? Or sitting at an architect’s desk, sketching? Or in a workshop, crafting objects? This is hard to imagine because, well, that’s just not what the vast majority of social scientists exploring world affairs do at the moment. This standing EISA section is orientated around growing interest within International Relations (IR) to bringing these alternative forms of practice into the heart of the discipline. It asks what it would mean if non-textual and non-logocentric forms of design, craft, and making were deployed both as novel forms of research and as means of normatively and politically intervening into world politics. Drawing broadly from across science and technology studies, international political sociology, feminist theory, (critical and speculative) design, postcolonial theory, pragmatist sociology, and beyond, the ethos of the section is captured in the idea that ‘making is thinking’ and that – thus – expanding our modes of making has the potential to produce radically distinct forms of knowledge and insight into the international. We encourage submissions from all those who have deployed or are interested in exploring the (methodological, conceptual, etc.) potential of different forms of design, craft, and making, whether material, digital, computational, artistic, visual, or beyond.

For the 2023 conference, we especially encourage paper, panel, and roundtable submissions that focus around the following themes:

  • Practices of ‘crafting’, ‘designing’, and/or ‘making’ and their relationship to world politics and/or the praxis of IR as a discipline. This could include explicit examples of the scholarly use of non-logocentric or non-textual modes of making, examples of their use by political or other communities globally, or similar reflections. We take a very boad view on what these practices can/could/should constitute (e.g. weaving, architectural making, visual design, fashion design, computational design, algorithmic politics, etc);
  • The study and/or making of affective environments, spatialities, and architectures that shift politics;
  • Aesthetic politics and its connection to materiality, technology, and world politics;
  • Pluriversal/non-Eurocentric/decolonial forms of design and making;
  • The place of design and making in ‘activist’ or ‘interventionary’ politics;
  • Theories of design and making (e.g. speculative design, critical design, critical making, critical cartography, science and technology studies, speculative pragmatism, art and aesthetic theory, etc.).
  • The connection between forms of scholarly praxis in IR (writing, lecturing, making, designing, etc.);

The above is a non-exhaustive list and we are also interested in submissions that go beyond existing considerations in this area.

You can submit proposals directly at the EISA Website until 15th march 2023!

Do let us know if you have any questions.