Remapping the Critical: Imagining Anti-Hierarchical Futures for International Studies
19-20 October 2023 | London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE)
The current world order finds itself re-polarised: the rise of the far right and populism, political parochialism, the war in Ukraine and its militarising consequences, the aftermath of the COVID pandemic with its rival approaches to health governance, and so on. This demonstrates a deepening of global inequalities and power asymmetries. In light of these dynamics, how do we situate critical theory? What is an appropriately critical response to increasing fragmentation, confrontation and entrenchment of extreme political, ideological and cultural positions? How do we respond coherently to global challenges while respecting the contextualised experiences of entangled cultures, histories, and communities?
This year’s Millennium Symposium seeks to resignify the ‘critical’ as radical historicisation. It will foster a discussion on enmeshed histories and identifications, and how they can be brought to the fore together and not as compartmentalised or hierarchised entities. The issue of power dynamics remains central: whose histories, struggles, and experiences warrant incorporation within critical IR? The themes of the Symposium will echo calls to provincialise certain strands of theory construction within IR to distil complexities and address global and interconnected challenges.
While we propose to double down on critical theory, we also wish to foster a critique of the ‘critical’ itself. In recent years, it has frequently been argued that Critical IR has been co-opted by the academic establishment. Simultaneously, the term critical is being increasingly appropriated and deployed in mainstream political discourse – either as a challenge or distortion – to serve particular political agendas. In this context, how can critical theory envision and work towards anti-hierarchical futures? Against a polarised world, are relational perspectives of rhizomatic identities (race, gender, sexuality, class) the way forward?
We invite submissions for the 2023 Millennium Symposium. Suggested themes for contributions include:
● What is the role of critical theory today?
● What does it mean to radically historicise critical theory?
● Is the notion of the Critical divorced from the Radical tradition? Is there an opposition? If so, based on what?
● Does critical theory still hold emancipatory potential? Can critical theory help us think innovatively about current global problems such as climate change, migration, and global inequalities?
● How do we develop innovative – or ‘decolonial’ – ways of resisting dominant power structures?
● How do we materialise emancipatory politics in a fragmented and polarised world?
● Can concepts of intersectionality be repurposed beyond essentialist and neoliberal mainstream approaches, back to a position of radicality?
The Millennium Symposium is a small two-day event with completed preliminary versions of papers circulated to all participants in advance. The papers and presentations will provide the basis for a sustained conversation amongst a select group of scholars around the above themes. The Symposium will take place in-person on 19-20 October 2023 at the London School of Economics.
If you are interested in participating in the Symposium, and potentially contributing to the special issue, please submit an abstract of no more than 250 words by 31 May, 2023 (23:59 BST).
If your abstract is selected, a first draft of 8,000-10,000 words should be ready to be sent out for peer review by 15 September, 2023 (23:59 BST). Papers will be circulated with fellow panellists at the start of October.
Millennium especially welcomes submissions from early career researchers and scholars in the Global South. A number of bursaries are available, which can cover costs associated with attending the symposium. Please indicate in the submission form if you would like to be considered for a bursary.
Please upload your abstract to this submission form. For any questions or inquiries about the symposium, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
A selection of contributions will be published as part of a special issue in Millennium: Journal of International Studies vol. 52 (3) following the Symposium and a successful peer-review process.
We look forward to reading your submissions.
Albert Cullell Cano, Eva Leth Sørensen, and Shreya Bhattacharya
Editors, Vol. 52
Millennium: Journal of International Studies