This Autumn, myself and Anna Leander are organizing a section at the European International Studies Association’s annual meeting (EISA-PEC 20) in Malta. We are soliciting contributions (papers, panels, round tables, objects, art-installations, and more) for an ongoing and developing research project termed International Political Design (IPD), being carried out in collaboration with colleagues from forensic architecture, activist civil society groups, engineering and other applied scientists.
The IPD project asks, quite simply, how is world politics made: materially, technologically, and aesthetically? How is it designed? Through a deliberate consideration of form and object? And how, if we understand all that, can we re-make its contours? In ways that alter the very fabric of the world political? Building-up, quite literally, a different set of material-aesthetic infrastructures around which its events might flow? International Political Design (IPD) explores questions like these. IPD will call attention to growing efforts at exploring the (extant, possible, and future) relationships between International Relations (IR), critical, speculative, and transnational design studies, and artistic or aesthetic studies. While the field of design has become increasingly concerned with topics core to international affairs (war, violence, climate change, inequality, etc.), IR has also moved towards a far deeper understanding of the importance of materiality, technology, aesthetics, practice, visuality, and related phenomena for international affairs. The time is thus ripe for a sustained exploration of how these fields currently – and may in the future – interact in ways that have the potential to transform the critical, normative, and ethical status of the discipline.
As an EISA section, IPD invites contributions from across IR that coalesce around questions of (social and political) design and its relevance to the analytical, normative, and practical aspects of (intervening in to) world affairs. IPD is in particular concerned with developing a forum through which scholars increasingly concerned with engaging the International through non-epistemic means can explore novel theories, methodologies, and tools to expand the praxis of IR beyond what Frederic Kittler called the continuing ‘monopoly of writing’ within social science. That includes the possibility of constructing (making) concrete technological objects, the importance of producing deliberately aesthetic interventions into world politics, and inquiring into a world political status quo that appears to radically exceed the still dominant focus on cognition, reflexivity, and political deliberation. This mission is of especial relevance to scholars working across a transdisciplinary set of sub-fields, including international political sociology, critical security studies, feminist theory, science and technology studies, practice theoretical approaches, the visual turn, and cognate fields of inquiry across the discipline.
The IPD section seeks, following these goals, to redefine perceptions of what appropriate avenues through which to engage critically with world politics constitute and understandings of what explicitly political social scientific practices can involve. In line with these goals, we are particularly focused on 1) encouraging non-traditional modes of conducting and presenting scholarly work relevant to work affairs, 2) reflecting on the ethico-political implications of such work, and 3) soliciting contributions and engagement from scholars outside the boundaries of IR.
We welcome submissions (panels, roundtables, individual submissions, or other formats) that explore:
- The relevance of ‘making’ or ‘crafting’ or ‘designing’ to understanding, intervening-in, or changing world politics;
- The relationship(s) between technology and social scientific practice;
- The emancipatory potential of the technological, despite its ‘impure’ (Haraway) and often violent pasts and presents;
- The relationships between design, politics, and critique;
We are especially open to non-traditional submissions and presentation formats as part of the section, which we will accommodate as fully as possible. This includes the presentation of non-linguistic research objects and interventions (i.e. aesthetic, material or technological ‘things’) made by participants, as well as unusual modes of data or theory visualization and presentation, and beyond.
Submissions Portal: https://eisa-net.org/pec-2020
Submission Deadline: 16/03/2020
University of Malta – Msida, Malta
September 16-19 2020
International Political Design: International Relations Beyond Writing [S18]