For many across the world, 2020 has been a year of unprecedented flux and uncertainty. COVID-19 has dominated the global agenda, with the pandemic now responsible for over one million deaths and millions living under varying degrees of state-sanctioned ‘lockdowns'. 2020 also saw a wave of Black Lives Matters' protests highlighting ongoing issues of anti-Black racism, injustices against Indigenous populations, and the historical legacies of colonialism and imperialism. And, while COP26 – the UN’s 26th Climate Change Conference – may have been postponed in light of COVID-19, the real and present danger of global climate change remains undiminished, with the US, Australia and the Amazon region experiencing record-breaking fires. #BISA2021 – our first fully virtual conference – asks how well-equipped is the discipline of International Studies to respond to this turbulent time? In what ways can our discipline contribute towards a truly transformed (and transformative) global society? Or, rather, do its exclusions and failures render International Studies antiquated at best, or violent at worst?
Taking the provocation of ‘forgetting’ International Studies, #BISA2021 offers an opportunity both to critically engage with this period of global change and to reflect upon the possibilities and limitations of the discipline in confronting it. How far have the events of 2020-21 (re)shaped the field and what we study? How relevant is what we research and teach? Furthermore, to what extent has ‘forgetting’ the international – or forgetting what constitutes the international –exacerbated these issues? What, in other words, is at stake for International Studies at this present moment? Such questions not only demand an interrogation of disciplinary boundaries, borders and exclusions but also call for a critical appraisal of the contemporary academy within which International Studies resides. Oftentimes driven by market imperatives, structured by gendered, racialised, heteronormative, ableist and classed inequalities – is the academy capable of facilitating the collective intellectual labour required at this present moment?
To address these questions, we seek individual papers, panels and roundtables that engage with the themes identified above, or any other topics, that advance our understanding of International Studies, broadly defined. We encourage the inclusion of multiple perspectives, diverse panels, interdisciplinary collaboration and innovative formats. Space will be given to issues of pedagogy as well as research.
We are committed to ensuring the conference is a welcoming, supportive, and intellectually stimulating place for all. We intend to use the fully virtual setup of 2021 to ensure the conference is our most diverse, inclusive and accessible to date. Please note that both members and non-members of BISA are warmly invited to submit proposals. Moreover, while BISA 2021 will feature a new programme, participants who were accepted onto the 2020 programme are strongly encouraged to resubmit their papers, panels and roundtables, with a short note indicating their inclusion in the 2020 programme.