Call for papers: Feminist International Relations and the ‘Science Question’: Positivism, Post-positivism, and Beyond. One Day Workshop

One-day workshop (20th October, 2018) at the London School of Economics and Political Science. 
 
KEYNOTE: Alison Assiter (Professor of Feminist Theory, University of the West of England)
 
The ascent of feminist approaches since the mid-1980s has resulted in a significant challenge to the character of the International Relations (IR) discipline. Arising out of the work of countless generations of feminist activists and campaigners, the force and vitality of these approaches became apparent especially during the third ‘Great Debate’ of IR. The debate, that is, between positivist and post-positivist approaches. By siding largely with the latter of these two camps, feminist IR scholars were able to challenge the very foundations of mainstream (‘malestream’) approaches to IR. As opposed to positivism, characterised above all in terms of its ‘masculinist’/ ‘androcentric’ emphasis on science, feminist scholars systematically argued that the methods and epistemological perspectives which they favour (1) facilitated greater recognition of the ubiquitous analytical significance of sex/gender, and (2) provided a superior basis for explicitly normative concerns like dismantling sex/gender-based hierarchies and forms of discrimination.
 
By challenging the androcentrism/masculinism of positivist philosophy in these ways post-positivist feminist scholars have significantly enriched numerous discussions within IR. Indeed, the analytical and normative contributions of these scholars have spilled over beyond the ‘ivory tower’ as well, resulting in meaningful contributions to the thinking and conduct of myriad non-profit/governmental organisations, activist groups, think-tanks, and formal political institutions.
 
By adopting a post-positivist strategy, however, feminist IR scholars have also tended to trade on a conflation of science with its theorisation by positivist thought. For instance, these scholars have commonly assumed that emblematic scientific practices (e.g. experimentation) are adequately theorised by positivism. More generally, they have largely failed to engage with alternative understandings of science, such as those that are provided by anti-positivist approaches like pragmatism, critical realism, and the new materialisms. Importantly, this state of affairs fails to do justice to the work of feminist scholars outside of IR. While some of these scholars have certainly subscribed to positions that are hostile/sceptical towards science – thereby adopting a viewpoint that was already apparent in Virginia Woolf’s famous claim that ‘science […] is not sexless’ but ‘a man, a father and infected too’ – other feminists have expressed significant enthusiasm with regard to its achievements and emancipatory potential.
 
This workshop therefore aims to (1) bring together scholars with an interest and expertise in the philosophy of (social) science and/or feminist IR, (2) explore the present-day relationship between (social) science and feminist IR, (3) reflect on the future of this relationship, and (4) stimulate the creation of a research community that explores this relationship.
Specifically, this call for papers invites abstract submissions that explore such questions as:
 
  • Is positivist IR androcentric/masculinist or have feminist IR scholars portrayed its philosophical and methodological orientation in inaccurate/misleading ways?
  • Is science only superficially or inadvertently androcentric/masculinist or does it inescapably silence and delegitimise feminist forms of knowing/knowledge-production?
  • How should feminist IR scholars relate to the knowledge-claims of natural scientists?
  • Should (evolutionary) biology play any role in our understandings of sex/gender-dynamics?
  • Is the philosophical orientation that has been adopted by feminist IR scholars genuinely post-positivist or does it inadvertently reproduce (or invert) a number of positivist positions?
  • Does the adoption of a feminist orientation towards IR mean that we should abandon rationality, rigour, neutrality, objectivity, etc. wholesale, just because these notions are conventionally associated with positivist philosophy of (social) science? Or is this akin to throwing out the proverbial baby with the bathwater?
  • Are the methodological and epistemological stances that are favoured by feminist scholars exclusively feminist or are they simply more suitable for their particular purposes (i.e. do they have broader applications as well)?
  • Do efforts to re-theorise/reclaim science by pragmatist, critical realist, new materialist, and other anti-positivist approaches hold any promise for grounding future forms of feminist IR?
  • Can broader feminist theorisations of science improve/re-vitalise discussions within feminist IR? What intellectual resources do these theorisations provide?
  • To what extent are positivist and post-/anti-positivist philosophical approaches capable of providing a basis for the normative aims of feminism? What kind of politics do these philosophical approaches suggest/imply?
  • Is feminism/feminist IR a political project, a scientific project, or neither/both?
 
Potential contributors should submit a 250-word abstract to iThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. by the 30th of June, 2018. Notifications of acceptance/rejection will be sent out by the 14th of July. This workshop is sponsored by the ‘International Relations as a Social Science’ (IRSS) Working Group of the British International Studies Association (BISA). Travel costs may therefore be covered. Priority in this regard will be given to graduate students and early career researchers. Please specify whether or not you are applying for funding when submitting your abstract.
 
Workshop organiser: 
 
Dr Michiel van Ingen is a Guest Teacher at the London School of Economics and Political Sciences (LSE). His research draws on, and sits at the intersection of, a range of disciplines, including International Relations, conflict studies, the philosophy/methodology of science, (critical/global) political economy, development studies, and anthropology. The three main thematic areas with which his publications have engaged thus far are (1) violence (the study of civil war in particular), (2) the philosophy/methodology of science (critical realism and the new materialisms in particular), and (3) feminism and gender-studies.
 
Contact information: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
 

BISA Is Looking to Recruit A New Chief Executive

BISA Is Looking to Recruit A New Chief Executive

Location: London

Salary: £49,149 - £56,950

37.5 Hours per week

 

We are looking for a dynamic, creative and forward-thinking Chief Executive to steer one of Britain's leading political societies.

The British International Studies Association (BISA) is a learned society which develops and promotes the study of International Studies, Politics and related subjects through teaching, research and networking.  Founded in 1975, BISA is the leading organisation for researchers, policy makers, practitioners and students of International Studies in the United Kingdom. 

The association has over 1300 members. While most are based in the UK there are also members throughout Europe, North and  South America, Africa, Asia and Australia. New members are always welcome. 

We have an exciting opportunity for an ambitious and inspirational chief executive to lead the organisation at a time of change and opportunity. BISA has an ambitious new strategic plan and is in the process of transforming its management and operational functions.  We are looking for a forward-thinking leader who will help shape our strategic and operational direction and so  drive the organisation forward into its  next phase of development.

The successful individual will have experience of working strategically in a leadership role with evidence of an entrepreneurial mind-set and a positive ‘can do’ attitude to work. The ideal candidate will have a strong interest in academia, particularly in the fields of International Studies and Politics.

The key responsibilities for the role are:

·              To provide strategic leadership for BISA, working with Trustees to set, monitor and review the organisation’s strategic goals

·              To act as the public face and manage the reputation of BISA, ensuring the organisation is visible and highly regarded

 

If you believe that you have what we are looking for, we would love to hear from you. To apply, please submit a CV and covering letter (no longer than three pages) detailing how your skills and experience match the job description and person specification available here. The closing date is midnight on Thursday 7th June 2018. Applications to be submitted via This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Interviews will be held in central London on the 21st and 22nd June 2018.

 

European Journal of International Security: Call for Editors

The British International Studies Association (BISA) invites applications for the position of Editor of the European Journal of International Security (EJIS) from January 2020.

EJIS, published by Cambridge University Press on behalf of BISA, seeks to publish the best research across the range of sub-fields in security studies. The new editor and his/her team will succeed Professor Tim Edmunds and his team, whose editorial term will end on December 31st 2019.  The incoming Editor will serve a four-year term from 1st January 2020 through to 31st December 2023, with the opportunity to shadow the outgoing team during the course of 2019. 

It is expected that applications will be from lead editor(s) and an associated team, and will identify an institutional base and support. Applicants must be BISA members. It is recommended that at least one member of the editorial team be based in the United States. We also welcome applications from teams that include an associated editor based in the Global South.

The new lead Editor will have complete editorial responsibility for journal content, and for sustaining and building on the growing reputation of EJIS as a preeminent refereed journal in its field. He or she can expect to receive a considerable number of new manuscript submissions per year and should ensure that publication decisions are made in a reasonable and timely manner.

Applications must be sent by email to Richard Whitman [This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.] copied to Mark Webber [This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.] by the 31st October 2018. Two members of each of the short listed teams will be invited to interview in early December (likely to be December 6th) at a venue in central Birmingham. Applications will be considered by a committee comprising:

 

  • Professor Richard Whitman, BISA Chair
  • Professor Mark Webber, BISA Vice Chair
  • Professor Tim Edmunds, outgoing Editor, European Journal of International Security
  • Professor Ruth Blakeley, Editor, Review of International Studies  
  • One further member of the BISA Executive

A decision is expected by 31st January 2019 so that successful candidates have time to prepare for the transition. 

Applications must include material under the following headings:

  • The Team. Lead Editor and Editorial team; description of editorial experience and experience of working together as a team, as appropriate. Description of proposed editorial style.
  • The Vision. Describe goals for the journal, ideas for innovations or changes (if any).
  • Implementation. Description of institutional and resource support.
  • Budget. There is financial support from Cambridge University Press that can be discussed as below prior to completion of this element; but support from the home institution is also expected.

The total document should comprise no more than five pages (word or PDF format).

Enquiries about the position should be made to Professor Whitman [This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.]

 

Review of International Studies: Call for Editors

The British International Studies Association (BISA) invites Applications for the position of Editor of the Review of International Studies as from January 2020.

 The Review, published by Cambridge University Press on behalf of BISA, seeks to publish the best research across the range of sub-fields in international studies. The new Editor and his/her team will succeed Professor Ruth Blakeley and her team, whose editorial term will end on December 31st 2019.  The incoming Editor will serve a four-year term from 1st January 2020 through to 31st December 2023, with the opportunity to shadow the outgoing team during the course of 2019. 

It is expected that applications will be from lead editors and an associated team, and will identify an institutional base and support. Applicants must be BISA members. It is recommended that at least one member of the editorial team be based in the United States. We also welcome applications from teams that include an associated editor based in the Global South. 

The new lead Editor will have complete editorial responsibility for the content of the Review, and for sustaining and building on its status as one of the preeminent refereed journals within the international studies community. He or she can expect to receive a significant number of new manuscript submissions per year and should ensure that publication decisions are made in a reasonable and timely manner.

Applications must be sent by email to Richard Whitman [This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.] copied to Mark Webber [This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.] by the 31st October 2018. Two members of each of the short listed teams will be invited to interview in early December (likely to be December 6th) at a venue in central Birmingham. Applications will be considered by a committee comprising:

  • Professor Richard Whitman, BISA Chair
  • Professor Mark Webber, BISA Vice Chair
  • Professor Ruth Blakeley, outgoing Editor, Review of International Studies  
  • Professor Tim Edmunds, Editor, European Journal of International Security
  • One further member of the BISA Executive

A decision is expected by 31st January 2019 so that successful candidates have time to prepare for the transition. 

Applications must include material under the following headings:

  • The Team. Lead Editor and Editorial team; description of editorial experience and experience of working together as a team, as appropriate. Description of proposed editorial style.
  • The Vision. Describe goals for the journal, ideas for innovations or changes (if any).
  • Implementation. Description of institutional and resource support.
  • Budget. There is financial support from Cambridge University Press that can be discussed as below prior to completion of this element; but support from the home institution is also expected.

The total document should comprise no more than five pages (word or PDF format).

Enquiries about the position should be made to Professor Whitman [This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.]

 

Message to BISA and PSA Members from Professor Charlie Jeffery, Political and International Studies REF Sub-Panel

I’m really pleased that the initial membership of the Politics and International Studies (and all the other) sub-panels for the next REF has now been published. I realise it has taken quite a while to get from when nominations were made to this point. I’m grateful to PSA, BISA and the other organisations that nominated potential members – and for their patience since.  
The process of setting up sub-panels this time has been different, with the sub-panel being put together in two phases. An initial group will meet this year in the first, criteria-setting phase to consider, recommend and put out to consultation any nuances to the general REF criteria it thinks the sub-panel might need. This group will be joined in 2020-2021 by additional panel members for the assessment phase. Some of the assessment phase members have been identified now, and others will be in 2020 to ensure full coverage across the discipline – including in areas not fully covered by the initial round of nominations – and to bring in full user expertise. 
 
My approach has been to bring together as big a group of criteria phase members and to identify as many assessment phase members as HEFCE would accept, so as to establish as inclusive a sub-panel as possible from the outset. A number of those selected for both the criteria-setting and assessment phases have not yet responded, so more names should be added to the list shortly. My intention is to have a sub-panel for both phases which gives a wide subject coverage across politics and international studies, draws in members spread across the UK with no more than one from any single department, includes a good mix of past and new sub-panel members, is fully gender-balanced, and includes people from different ethnic backgrounds.
 
Those different dimensions of inclusion are important. The stakes in the REF process are high, both for what its outcomes say about the relative strength of the discipline as a whole, and for the standing of departments in their institutions. It is vital that the sub-panel has a membership which can engage across the discipline with credibility and authority. The sub-panel also needs to be as open as possible as early as possible about how it will go about its work, not least in the consultation on criteria that will take place this autumn. That means you should see quite a bit of me and other sub-panel members in the coming months. I’m looking forward to it!
 
- Professor Charlie Jeffery
 

Professor Charlie Jeffery appointed chair for REF sub-panel

The Political Studies Association and the British International Studies Association welcomes the appointment of Professor Charlie Jeffery, senior vice-principal at the University of Edinburgh, as the chair of the sub-panel for Politics and International Studies in the 2021 Research Excellence Framework assessment exercise. Professor Jeffery is a widely respected political scientist and senior university manager with the full range of knowledge and skills necessary for this challenging role. The PSA and BISA are confident that under Professor Jeffery’s chairship the panel will be well placed to review all areas within the panel’s remit; to assess the wider impact of research in politics & international studies and to ensure that full recognition is given to considerations of equality and diversity.

 

Response to CHH letter

The British International Studies Association reaffirms the importance of academic freedom for the work of its members and for academics and teachers in UK universities.
 
The letter sent by Chris Heaton-Harris MP (read text of letter here) to UK university vice chancellors, and especially its request to name academics involved in teaching European affairs, is unclear in its motive or in the use to which the requested material was to be put.
 
The protection of the free speech and academic independence of our members within UK universities is enshrined in law. Academic learned societies, like BISA, promote the free exchange of ideas to further knowledge and understanding. Academics can only contribute to the understanding of complex and controversial issues, to the benefit of government and society, if their freedoms to research, teach and engage the public are preserved.
 
 
 
 

BISA and PSA Open REF Sub-Panel Members Nominations Process

The PSA and BISA welcome nominations to the REF Sub-Panel 19 Politics and International Studies. If you are interested in serving as a sub-panel member, please send a one page letter of application and a one page CV to either the Chair of PSA or BISA via the emails below. Given the work/time commitment of the sub-panel membership, your application letter should include a clear endorsement by your Head of Department/School.
 
 
The deadline for applications is Friday November 17th, 2017.
 
Applications will be considered by the Trustees of each organization and a long list passed onto the PSA/BISA REF Joint Working Group. This group will collate the applications and produce a thorough, long and diverse nomination list. Following a final endorsement by PSA and BISA Trustees, the list of nominations will be sent to Higher Education Funding Council for England.
 
Please send applications to either of the addresses:
 
Angelia Wilson, PSA Chair, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 
 
Richard Whitman, BISA Chair, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 
 
 
The PSA/BISA REF Working Group has set out the following criteria for nominations:
Criteria for nomination of REF sub-panel members
We note that there have been considerable efforts to promote equality and diversity in the higher education sector. While the REF process is focused on the institutional conduct in higher education, equality and diversity needs to be recognised in the constitution of the REF panels and sub-panels themselves.
 
The sub-panel membership should reflect the excellence and diversity of politics and international relations scholarship in the UK. We are supportive of the two stage recruitment process for sub-panels to ensure representativeness on the panel. However, representativeness in terms of plurality in the discipline and equality and diversity need to be reflected throughout the process.
 
The nomination process should be guided by the overall objectives of excellence and diversity, as defined by:
  • An international recognition in politics and international relations as identified by publications record, membership on editorial boards/journal editorship and/or research funding bodies.
  • A recognition and understanding of the excellence in scholarly work that is conducted in politics and international relations across fields and methodologies.
  • A recognition that the panel membership needs to reflect the goals of equality and diversity in scholarship in terms of gender, sexuality, region, race and ethnicity, scope and focus of their home institution and geographical location.
  • A recognition of the importance of collegiality in terms of promoting the breath of politics and international relations scholarship in terms of research and institutional settings, as indicated by contributions to institutional and professional bodies, as well as the promotion of equality and diversity.
From HEFCE 
You can find out more about the HEFCE recruitment process here.
 
We would like to draw your attention to a few points therein:
 
“In general we expect that candidates nominated to be sub-panel members at this stage, but not appointed in 2018, would also be considered as potential sub-panel members or assessors at the next round of appointments.  During 2020 we will also invite a further round of nominations for sub-panel members and assessors.”
 
“The four UK higher education (HE) funding bodies recognise that diversity of perspective and experience contributes fundamental insight and value to the work of the REF panels, and that this insight and value comes not only from academic achievement but also from other aspects of panel members’ lives. We have introduced several measures to the recruitment process for panel members, which are aimed at increasing the representativeness of the REF panel membership. This reflects the funding bodies’ wider commitment to supporting equality and diversity in research careers.” For more on E&D in the nominations process please follow the link.
 
 

Early Career Small Research Grants

Early Career Small Research Grants

In celebration of the 40th anniversary of BISA in 2015, the association launched of the BISA Early Career Small Research Grants scheme(EC-SMRs). The grants are open to applicants in their early career (five years maximum between the date showing on the PhD certificate and the application deadline). Applicants must be based within a UK higher education institution (HEI) and must be a current, early career member of the BISA and throughout the duration of the grant.

The deadline for Stage 1 applications: 14th November 2017

The deadline for Stage 2 applications: 12th January 2018

Find out more here

BISA Signatory of WISC Letter in support of the Central European University

BISA is a member organisation of the Worldwide International Studies Committee (WISC) and is signatory to a letter sent by the Committee to the Hungarian Government and other related agencies in support of the Central European University. Read the letter here. 
 
British International Studies Association
 
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