Materialism and World Politics

20-21 October, 2012

Abstract proposals due: 23 April, 2012

The annual conference for volume 41 of Millennium: Journal of International Studies will take place on 20-21 October, 2012 at the London School of Economics and Political Science.

The theme of this year’s conference will be on the topic of materialism in world politics. In contrast to the dominant discourses of neorealism, neoliberalism and constructivism, the materialist position asks critical questions about rational actors, agency in a physical world, the role of affect in decision-making, the biopolitical shaping of bodies, the perils and promises of material technology, the resurgence of historical materialism, and the looming environmental catastrophe. A large number of critical writers in International Relations have been discussing these topics for some time, yet the common materialist basis to them has gone unacknowledged. The purpose of this conference will be to solidify this important shift and to push its critical edges further. Against the disembodied understanding of International Relations put forth by mainstream theories, this conference will recognize the significance of material factors for world politics.

Proposed panel topics include:

    • Affect
    • Biopolitics
    • Complexity Theory / Self-Organising Matter
    • Discourse and Materiality
    • Environmental Crisis
    • Historical Materialism / Marxism
    • Neuroscience and Politics
    • Philosophical Materialism
    • Political Geography
    • Scientific Realism
    • Technology
    • The Body / Gender

Individuals interested in presenting a paper are requested to submit a 300 word abstract to: by 23 April, 2012. Submissions for panels are also welcome.

Keynote speakers will be announced in the coming months.

A selection of the conference papers will be published in Millennium: Journal of International Studies, volume 41, no. 3.

Photo credit: Robert Rauschenberg, ½ Gals. / AAPCO (Cardboard), 1971.

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