The British International Studies Association (BISA) has just opened up submissions for its annual conference, which will take place in London in June 2019. At this conference BISA will be contributing to the celebrations of the centenary of the institutional founding of international studies in Britain, marking the one hundredth anniversary of the creation of the Woodrow Wilson Chair in International Politics at Aberystwyth – an anniversary that my colleagues and I will be doing our own bit to mark over the next twelve months or so.
In its call for submissions, BISA invites us to reflect on the discipline of IR, asking us to think about what it is and what kinds of stories we tell ourselves and others about it. I am confident that there will be many scholarly papers delivered at the conference that discuss the way that academics have developed, established and challenged disciplinary boundaries (and continue to do so) through their research, But it strikes me that this conference also provides us with a wonderful opportunity to reflect on how we create and re-create this discipline (including how we pose questions about whether ‘discipline’ is even an appropriate term to use) through our teaching. Although our research published in academic presses and journals clearly advances ideas among scholars, it is through our teaching that we are most likely to have a wider impact on the ideas and ways of thinking of many more of the citizens who make the world we all live in.
I am therefore very keen to see at least one session at the 2019 BISA conference devoted to this topic, and invite others who share that desire to get in touch with me. My aim is to have enough expressions of interest to submit a proposal for a roundtable – a roundtable requires four to six presenters and a chair, and represents a lesser commitment than a panel. Contributors to a roundtable are not expected to produce a written paper, only to prepare some reflective comments and to engage with the other contributors and the audience in discussion of the topic. Conference participants can also combine an appearance on a roundtable with giving a research paper – BISA rules limit appearances on the programme to three, with no more than one research paper in that number.
If anyone reading this would like to produce something more substantial on this topic, as part of a learning and teaching panel, please let me know because that is also a possibility. BISA makes an exception to the one paper per person rule for learning and teaching papers, so again someone can contribute a paper to a learning and teaching panel and still present a paper about their research.
If you are interested in being part of either a roundtable or a learning and teaching panel submission, please contact me (email: firstname.lastname@example.org) no later than 31 October 2018, to give me time to put the submission/s together and upload everything onto the BISA website. Please tell me whether you would like to be part of a roundtable or learning and teaching panel submission. For the roundtable I only need a sentence or two about the ideas you want to discuss. For a panel proposal I will need a full title and abstract of the paper, but we can discuss that by email.
I hope to receive some expressions of interest during the month of October!