CfP: University of St Andrews 8th Annual Graduate International Political Theory Conference

The future of (International) Politics in times of uncertainty: Insights from (International) Political Theory. 24th September 2021 (online/ potentially hybrid- more info TBA)

In 1989, in his widely celebrated essay The End of History and the Last Man, Francis Fukuyama declared the End of History. With obvious references to Hegel, Fukuyama’s wager was that liberal democratic capitalism is the final mode of human government. However, the political landscape and developments in recent years have yet again challenged Fukuyama’s claim. Since the alleged End of History, the Western world has seen an all-time high rise in anti-liberal, anti-globalist and nationalist rhetoric. The rise of far-right populist parties in Europe and the alternative (alt) right in the United States of America are symptomatic of the slow decline of the liberal consensus. (Radical) Leftist movements are also challenging the hegemony of the (neo)liberal order, with the recent protests in Latin America being another indication for the growing international desire for change.  

            However, change in our contemporary political lives is already happening. We find violence manifest itself in ways never thought before. With the development of technology and methods of surveillance, biopolitical means are changing and new techniques of governmentality are arising. If successful, the current research in neurotechnology would mean the end of human freedom as we know it. However, the last year shown us the most significant threat to our life is nature itself. The COVID-19 pandemic has swept through our lives, creating a new normality and causing a re-evaluation of our current governmentality. This has become evident through the spread of COVID-19 throughout the world. For many, the pandemic pales in comparison to the potential ramifications of Climate Change.  The pandemic is a symptom of the inability of the structures of our society to deal with the heavy blows of nature and for many the years to come open up the space for radical social transformation. 

In times of uncertainty about the future, only one thing is certain and that is things cannot go on as they are now. Whether that future is going to be dystopian or utopian is entirely contingent on the decisions that we take in the next couple of decades. This, we strongly believe, can only be done effectively through theory. It is our task to understand and interpret the threats and emancipatory potentials of the present, engage in praxis of changing the world or prescribe normative arguments of what the future ought to be.  

With a pluralist understanding of the purpose of theory and full acknowledgement of the need for multi-disciplinary engagement with those questions we would like to invite participants from the Social Sciences and Humanities to present papers on the following (but not limited to) topics: 

·                     Populism and reactionary politics 

·                     The study of the far right and alternative right 

·                     Critique of (neo) liberal capitalism 

·                     Resistance 

·                     Political Violence 

·                     Technology  

·                     Biopolitics 

·                     Governmentality 

·                     Climate change and/or climate change activism 

·                     Revolutionary politics 

·                     Dystopia/ Utopia and Dystopianism/ Utopianism 

·                     COVID-19 related research 


Keynote Speaker: 


Prof Gregory Claeys, Professor Emeritus, University of London 

‘After Consumerism: Utopianism for a Dying Planet’ 


Abstract Submission: 


Please submit your abstract for a 15-minute presentation to by the 10th of September. Each submission should include the title, an abstract of no more than 300 words, name and affiliation. For any questions, please do not hesitate to ask.