11th AGS International Graduate Student Conference

The Complexity of Religion in International Relations:

Theoretical, Legal and Geopolitical Perspectives

Paris, 21-22 April 2016

Conference Theme

The American Graduate School in Paris invites submissions for its 11th annual AGS Graduate Student Conference. The theme for this year’s conference is titled “The Complexity of Religion in International Relations: Theoretical, Legal and Geopolitical Perspectives”. The links between religious beliefs and global politics was not extensively explored before 9/11 and the ‘war on terror’. Today, we know that religion can change the basic patterns of how international relations is done, raising crucial questions about who the main actors are, what they want, and how they change the landscape of politics, law and diplomacy in contemporary IR. As Ikenberry states, “religious movements can reinforce state authority or undermine it, and religion can reinforce the territorial boundaries of state or mobilize loyalties that cut across borders.”

The function of religion in international relations might seem like a challenging topic, but nonetheless a crucial one. As scholars of IR, it is imperative to constantly analyze influences that impinge on world politics. There has been prominent focus on how religious differences create barriers to peace, and leads to war. However, all religions have deep roots in peace and have subtle conflict resolution mechanisms rooted in their scripture. Religion, like nationalism, allows its followers to rationalize peace or war depending on a variety of variables.

Theoretically, it is interesting to assess how religion asserts influence on the various levels of analysis i.e. individual, societal, state and international. It pushes the need for definitions and redefinitions and forces us to identify ‘a nouveau’ our choice of problems in IR, redefine our theoretical starting points, hypotheses and conclusions

Legally, the treatment of religion in national and international laws, as a human right, as a factor leading to the responsibility to protect, in theocracies as well in secular states, are dynamic topics to explore, among several others.

Geopolitically, the evaluation can deal with the interaction between the different religions – the various ways in which they influence each other, the identity politics of, and in between, religions – giving a richer and fuller understanding of international conflict and collaboration.

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See information on keynote panelists

 
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