Annual AGS Graduate Student Conference: Past Editions


2013: Identity and Gender Politics within International Relations

From a growing number of individuals in policy forming positions who operate beyond the constraints of traditional hegemonic masculinity, to an increase in gendered political groups responding progressively to cultural and governmental structures and policies, the discourse on identity and gender politics has had a resurgence in recent years. As a result, this theme has become one of necessity for academics and practitioners to re-evaluate when contributing to a contemporary discourse in International Relations.

This was the focus of the 8th Annual AGS Graduate Student Conference: “Identity and Gender Politics within International Relations.” This conference analyzed the impact of identity and gender—often conditioned by class, race, biology and sexuality—within the social and cultural framework of International Relations. Commonalities and intersections between these areas, as well as their impact on interstate and state governance, international conflict, and public awareness were the main concerns of conference contributors.

Scholars, practitioners in the field, and graduate students from countries around the world presented and discussed such themes regarding gender and identity as it relates to social movements, violence, leadership, education, poverty, culture, etc.

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2012: The Roles and Challenges of Diplomacy in the 21st Century: Inclusion and Exclusion in a Globalized World

The fields of international relations and diplomacy have seen a shift from bilateral to multilateral diplomacy along with the growing role of non-state actors and countless pressing transnational challenges in an increasingly interdependent and globalized world. What does "diplomacy" mean in a world of multinationals, global NGOs, instant communications and special interests? Addressing this question requires an interdisciplinary debate and analysis.

Scholars, practitioners in the field and graduate students from countries around the world gathered to debate and discuss how diplomacy should address the new shifts and changing needs in the international system.

The highlight of this conference was a keynote panel features four Ambassadors and career diplomats from the United States, Germany, Switzerland and Lebanon, who shared their expertise and their combined 120 years of experience to discuss the recent evolution and future challenges of diplomacy.

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2011: The Mitigation, Management and International Response to Environmental Crises

Environmental disasters have been afflicting mankind for millennia. Earthquakes, floods, volcanic eruptions, drought, and in modern times, industrial calamities number only a few of thedestructive forces that have continually plagued life on Earth. In the ensuing months and years following these crises communities, governments, aid agencies and NGOs have banded togetherto assist in the relief and recovery process. As a result, questions arise as to the efficacy and frequency of the fiscal, environmental and social responses to these disasters. As the world'spopulation continues to grow exponentially, the instances of natural and man-made disasters are increasing in both size and scope.
The goal of this conference is to explore the myriad of historical responses, as well as the potential theoretical solutions to future crises. The impacts of these crises are broad, as arethe disciplines that explore their consequences. The organizers seek a wide range of topics and faculties that will contribute to this discourse. Topics may include, but are not limited to legal/arbitrative responses, environmental/ ecological impacts, state and non-state relief efforts and the development movements present during these events.

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2010: Evolving Borders: Identity and Affiliation in a Volatile International Landscape

As a field of inquiry which took for granted the centrality of the state in world affairs, no issue has so agitated contemporary International Relations as the possible decline of state relevance. The major IR debates of the 20th Century focused on the relationship between the state and the individual, between hegemonic and peripheral states, and between blocs of states linked together in political superstructures. However, as states authority declines, and new post-state forms of organization arise, it seems inevitable that other modes of human affiliation must also arise. Transportation, communications, migration, and evolving economic and legal structures all tie humanity together across national borders. Religion, language, ethnicity, ideology, geography, culture, trade relations, and countless other constructions provide means by which people can understand themselves and form identities, and by which groups can include some people and exclude others. If the borders of the 20th century separated the territory of nation-states, what will new borders separate? Will national citizenship remain a valuable piece of identity, or will new affiliations take precedence? If states retain their central role in IR, how will they cope with interstate and non-state forces, and how will borders and state identity be affected? Along what fault lines, if any, must world affairs ultimately be re-organized? How will we think of ourselves, and what will be the future of “us” and “them?” The volatile 21st Century world demands answers to these pressing questions.

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2009: Democracy in the 21st Century: Relevant, Redundant or Risk?

Democracy as a form of governance has a tumultuous history. From the American and French revolutions, two models emerged. And throughout the following two centuries plus, a multitude of democratic style governments emerged, flourished, failed, or were forgotten.

The 21st century was inaugurated by an almost complete lack of other dominant forms of governance on the world’s stage. Democracy became the catchword not only for aspirations of peoples but also for foreign policy goals of western governments.

If history is to teach us anything, it is that nothing is static and nothing is stable. What does this historical lesson have to teach us about the present and future formations of democracy? Is Democracy as we have known it still relevant in our present world? Is the form of governance born from revolution redundant in a world where revolution seems more and more impossible because of greater interdependence or merely concentrated power? And as more governments across the world sign on to the ideological front of the spread of Democracy, what are the risks for self-determination, independence, and the demos?

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2008: Searching Beyond the State: Intercultural Dialogue and Alternative Approaches to International Politics

The new problems arising in world politics are veering away from the state-centric perspective into an as of yet undefined post-modern situation. This new scenario demands unique approaches to the present and emerging problems, relying upon new actors, new institutions and new strategies. Exploration of intercultural dialogue, the emerging role of NGOs, MNCs and other non-state actors, and the changing role of traditional political players is crucial to understanding and forming the new structure of the international system. What possibilities arise? What hope?

See Conference Program

 

 
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