Activities & Events

1. Call for Papers for a Workshop at EISA #EWIS2020
Workshops 01/07 – 04/07 2020, ULB, Brussels

Workshop M: Multiplicity: IR’s Strangely Familiar Common Ground

Workshop Conveners:
Benjamin Tallis, IFSH Hamburg, tallis@ifsh.de 
Justin Rosenberg, Sussex, j.p.rosenberg@sussex.ac.uk

This workshop engages the EWIS2020 theme (the strange and familiar in IR – ‘Together We’re Stranger’) by expanding the research programme of Multiplicity to focus on difference – and the ways we mediate it.

We Want Your Proposals for Papers
Read the Workshop Description & Call Below & Submit Your Abstracts HERE
https://eisa-net.org/ewis-2020/abstract-submission/

International Relations today is doubly estranged. On the one hand, the human world is divided among many peoples with many languages, cultures and histories. Nowhere is this fundamental fact of difference – with all the dark fears and creative possibilities that it brings with it – more visible or ‘familiar’ than in IR. On the other hand, the discipline of IR is estranged from itself, split into numerous approaches that no longer share an intellectual common ground. As Christine Sylvester has argued, the ‘fourth great debate’ did not enlarge the existing conversation. Instead, it proliferated many new ‘camp fires’ – inward-looking discussions that brought new insights but no longer fed into a common discourse.

Yet a single idea, Multiplicity, could both mediate IR’s estrangement from itself and better equip it to explain, understand and even address the human condition of difference. This idea was first proposed in the 2015 Carr Memorial Lecture, and has developed into a many-sided, collaborative research programme, including an EISAPEC19 section, a forum and a special issue.
We seek to use this workshop to generate a new special issue

Multiplicity’s starting point is the ontological claim that human social existence is, and always has been, plural: it is distributed across a multiplicity of societal entities. This simple fact provides the raison d’etre for a discipline of IR: we study the profound consequences of societal multiplicity for the human world: co-existence, difference, interaction, combination and dialectical change. How do these consequences structure the international as a dimension of social reality? What are their implications for the social sciences and humanities at large? Via such questions, Multiplicity provides both a way of exploring ‘the international’ as a dimension of social reality and a new common ground for the fragmented world of IR theory. For in the end, all IR theory is concerned either with the consequences of human plurality or with the consequences of thinking this plurality in particular ways.

Thus far, the Multiplicity debate has largely focused on ‘interaction’ as a way of countering ‘internalist’ conceptions of social existence and change. At EWIS2020 we seek to enlarge this focus by more explicitly considering difference – and its relations to the other consequences of multiplicity – by questioning e.g.:

  • How does societal multiplicity entail difference as a property of the human world?
  • What axes of difference – political, cultural, historical, ecological, epistemological etc. –operate in inter-societal affairs?
  • To what kinds of tension, conflict and creativity does difference give rise, and through whatspecifically international mechanisms do these effects operate?
  • How do existing IR theories – realist, liberal, Marxist, feminist, poststructuralist, decolonial,queer, ecological etc. – conceptualise difference and its role in world affairs?
  • How does multiplicity let us see difference differently?
  • How does multiplicity enable all IR theories to share their insights on the constitutive role ofdifference in the human world?We welcome proposals on these and other questions related to multiplicity (or explorations of such) from across IR – mainstream and critical, theoretical and empirical, contemporary and historical.

EWIS 2020 Theme:
Together We’re Stranger’: Strange and Familiar in International Relations
The 7th iteration of EWIS at the ULB takes inspiration from a song and an eponymic album Together We’re Stranger by an English art-pop duo No-Man, formed in 1987 as No Man Is an Island (Except the Isle of Man). The problems of difference and otherness, the reefs of cultural miscommunication and mutual misunderstandings in the inevitably ‘peopled’ world, combined with the inescapable need to somehow organise cultural diversity, keep haunting contemporary international relations. How can we live together – as we cannot really live apart, regardless of the occasional temptations to mute the noise of the world, ‘take back control’ and retrofit modern societies to imaginary orders that never were? Are we more vulnerable to ourselves, seeking seclusion? How do we mediate estrangement and togetherness – through which modes of knowledge and reasoning, practices, or devices? Are we stranger together – or yet something else? We encourage you to step outside and not to be afraid to probe the brave new world; to ask for better.

past events

Multiplicity: Common Ground for IR

Section 29, 13th EISA Pan-European Conference on International Relations, Sofia

Section Chairs:
Benjamin Tallis, Institute of International Relations, Prague
Justin Rosenberg, University of Sussex

The goal of this section is to rediscover and develop the focus that makes IR unique among the social sciences and humanities: our focus on the multiplicity of the human world. Multiplicity situates the international as the subject that does the explaining and interpreting rather than the object to be interpreted or explained (Full Section Description Below).

Multiplicity Section Overview

(All Panels & Roundtables in Room 255)

Wednesday 11/09 

  • Plenary Sessions – Weds 11/09 from 1445 – Room 272 
  • Multiplicity Social Event Weds 11/09  – 1930 – Bar de Rouge – Ulitsa Shipka 6/ Shipka Street 6 (ул. Шипка 6)

Thursday 12/09

  • TA – 0900 – Opening Roundtable – Intro to Multiplicity
    Justin Rosenberg, Thomas Diez, Mathias Albert, Antje Wiener, Anja Jakobi, Olaf Corry, Benjamin Tallis
  • TB – 1115 – Multiplicity: Common Ground for IR (from forthcoming special issue of Globalizations 1)
    Olaf Corry, Benjamin Tallis, Justin Rosenberg, Brieg Powel, Yulia Yurchenko; Chair/Disc: Anja Jakobi
  • TC – 1430 – Multiplicity: Common Ground for IR (from forthcoming special issue of Globalizations 2)
    Rosalba Belmonte, Felix Buchwald, Kai Koddenbrock, Marco Vieira, Kamran Matin; Chair/Disc: Dirk Nabers
  • TD – 1645 – Exploring Relationalities in/for International Relations
    Daniel Nexon, Anahita Arian, Kosuke Shimizu, Simon Frankel Pratt; Chair: David Blaney; Disc: Emilian Kavalski.

Friday 13/09

  • FA – 0900 – Multiplicity & Uneven and Combined Development
    Chris Boyle, Eren Duzgun, Sarah Kermanian, Xin Liu; Chair: Felix Buchwald; Disc: Kamran Matin
  • FB – 1115 – Multiplicity and IPE: Breaking Out of the Double Prison
    Can Cemgill, Julian Germann, David Blaney, Chris Boyle; Chair: Kai Koddenbrock, Disc: Justin Rosenberg
  • TC – 1430 – ROUNDTABLE – Multiplicity, IR and International Political Theory: New Directions, Possibilties & Challenges 
    Cameron Thies, Catarina Kinnvall, Daniel Nexon, Alena Drieschova, Benjamin Herborth, Anatoly Resehetnikov, Justin Rosenberg; Chair: David Shim.
     
  • 1930-2230: Conference Grand Reception (open to all participants)

Saturday 14/09

  • FA – 0900 – The IR of Food: Empires, Nations & Regimes in the Making of Alimentary Multiplicity 
    Alex Colas, Claudia Prieto Piastro, Atsuko Ichijo, Jason Edwards, Kieran Andrieu; Chair/Disc: Colas.

Section Description:

For a hundred years IR has failed to see what is under its nose: the fundamental fact of human multiplicity. Trapped in the prison of political science, IR has failed to define this as its object of enquiry (Rosenberg 2016). Split by the prisms of plurally sectarian approaches it has been unable to identify common ground for analysis or advocacy (Sylvester, 2007). And though happy to import ideas from elsewhere, it has not exported its own insights in return. This section uses Multiplicity’s lens to enable IR scholars to reveal what has been hiding in plain sight, to focus on the distinctive subject matter of IR and thus highlight what we can show to others across the Social Sciences and Humanities. Human existence is multiple – societally, politically, culturally, developmentally and ecologically. And the consequences of this multiplicity – co-existence, difference, interaction, combination and dialectical change – are general features of the human world which offer a new common ground for IR theory. We explore this common ground more thoroughly, widening our gaze to bring in new perspectives on and from Multiplicity, and helping IR to see – and be seen – differently.

We invite contributions from all corners of International Studies, of all persuasions and in all registers: theoretical, philosophical, empirical, historical, contemporary, policy-focused, ‘mainstream’ or ‘critical’. The section coheres around questions and examples of: a) how multiplicity informs our arguments; b) how to advance the shared IR conversation about multiplicity; and c) how multiplicity makes IR relevant beyond the discipline.