11th AGS International Graduate Student Conference: Call for Papers

Call For Papers

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.

Possible sub-themes:

  • Religion and International Relations Theory

  • Religion and International Law

  • Religion and Geopolitics

  • Religion and NGOs

  • Religion and Human Rights

  • Religion and Identity

  • Religion and Peace building

  • Religion as response to Humanitarian Crisis

  • Religion and Gender Politics

  • Religion and Media   

  • Youth Engagement in Religion 

About the Annual AGS Graduate Student Conference (+ Workshop)

This conference is a student-led event, which offers a forum that discusses timely issues and events in the disciplines of Political Science and International Relations (see past conferences here). The conference provides opportunities to analyze and examine contemporary issues in academia by inviting contribution from students, scholars and professionals on a new theme each year. The conference is held in English.

The first day of the conference, the 21st of April 2016, will include the presentation of the selected papers as well as a Keynote Panel comprised of specialists on the topic. In addition to the conference, AGS will also be organizing an applied workshop on the second day, the 22nd of April 2016. This workshop will be run by scholars and students with a wide range of backgrounds in International Relations. This workshop will provide a forum for discussing how religion has a role in contemporary international relations, and specifically focused on conflict resolution and peace building. The workshop will be tailored to the interest of the attendees and participants. A certificate of attendance will be provided at the conclusion of the workshop.


Who can submit?

Submissions will be accepted from graduate and doctoral level students, academics, and professionals in the fields related to the theme of the conference. Senior level undergraduate students can also apply along with a letter of reference from a professor/supervisor. Attendees are not restricted to those that submit papers. All are welcome to attend the conference.


-       Abstract Submission Deadline (extended deadline): 29 February 2016

-       Final Paper Submission Deadline: 27 March 2016

How to Submit

Abstracts are to be a maximum of 500 words and submitted electronically to conference@ags.edu as an attachment (Microsoft Word or PDF). The subject line should include the name of the candidate as well as “AGS Conference Abstract Submission.” Please also give a potential, if not finalized, title for your paper.

Additional Information (Abstract):

-       Research question

-       University affiliation (degrees earned and those in the process of concentration and completion)

-       Professional affiliation (if applicable)

-       If the applicant has prior conference presentation experience

-       Letter of reference from institution faculty (if applicable)

Fees and Conditions

All accepted candidates will be required to pay a non-refundable 50-euro registration fee (payable here) that will help pay for organizational and administrative costs. This fee does not cover personal costs to the applicant, such as transportation, accommodation, etc.  Fees are due from accepted candidates within 10 days of receiving acceptance letters. Please also indicate if you want to attend one, or both days. If you are interested in becoming a Panel Moderator, please indicate the same in your subject line “Panel Moderator AGS Conference Abstract Submission”. Moderators will be selected once panels have been organized by the end of February.


The conference committee will provide visa letters upon request to accepted candidates and moderators. In addition to verifying attendance to the conference, candidates may be asked to sign a visa liability agreement. Please note that participants are responsible for fulfilling the visa procedure according to their home country’s rules and regulations in connection to entering France.

For information on visa, transportation and housing please click here.

Contact Information

Graduate Student Conference Committee
American Graduate School in Paris
101 boulevard Raspail
75006 Paris
Telephone: +33 (0)1 47 20 00 94
Email: conference@ags.edu

For any questions about the conference, feel free to contact Aurora Nilsen and Sakshi Mishra, the Student Conference Coordinators, at conference@ags.edu.

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