British International History Group 31st Annual Conference Report

In its 31st year, the British International History Group (BIHG) conference showed that the BIHG itself, its membership (which exceeds 700 worldwide) and the fields of history related to international affairs, are in robust health. Over 100 delegates attended the annual conference held at Lancaster University from 5 to 7 September 2019. 
Across 29 themed panels, 79 speakers presented research from the early modern period to contemporary international affairs. Attendees came from 30 UK universities and 14 international universities (in China, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Poland, Russia, South Africa, Turkey and the USA). Representatives from FCO Historians, the German Historical Institute in London and The UK National Archives also gave papers.
This year’s roundtable considered the fields of international and military history. Dr Juliette Desplat (TNA), Dr Michael Hopkins (Liverpool) and Professor Michael Hughes (Lancaster) reflected on the evolution of the historiography of these approaches in parallel with the wider disciplines of history. They argued that clichéd depictions of them had been outdated for some time as the diversity of the papers delivered at the conference indicated. 
Patrick Finney
Professor Kathy Burk (UCL) gave the annual BIHG lecture, ‘Lubricating Diplomacy: The Uses of Wine’, which brought food and drink history to the conference. She surveyed diplomatic practice across centuries and continents to explain how central alcohol has been to international affairs.
High levels of empiricism and methodological innovation were recognised in the 2019 Michael L. Dockrill Thesis Prize winner’s research. It was awarded to Dr James Southern, formerly of the School of History, Queen Mary University of London, for his thesis entitled “‘Our people’: Recruitment to the British Diplomatic Service, 1945-1995”. 
PGRs and ECRs received formal career guidance at the BIHG’s annual PGR/ECR workshop and informal encouragement in the panels and over refreshments. As ever, the BIHG’s original objective was apparent in the atmosphere created by the conference and in the interchanges between scholars at different career stages, from diverse backgrounds and universities.
As a working group of the British International Studies Association, the BIHG received financial support for its conference, for which its members are grateful. Lancaster University and its Department of History provided an excellent setting and exceptional organisation for the conference. Much of the smooth running across the three days was due to Dr Marco Wyss and Amy Harding, both of whom receive the BIHG’s thanks, as do Dr Sophie Ambler and two MA students, Zhengya Gan and Sophie Merrix. 
The BIHG is now looking forward to its next annual conference, details of which will soon be announced on this website. Thereafter, there will be a call for papers and invitations to apply for the 2020 Thesis Prize for the best thesis of 2019. 
James Ellison
Vice-Chair, BIHG 

Call for Papers: Postgraduate Research Workshop on International Migration Politics

Organisers: Paul Goode (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.), Maria Koinova (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)
The BISA working group on International Politics of Migration, Refugees and Diaspora is organising a research workshop for postgraduates. We welcome paper proposals from postgraduate researchers in the area of international migration politics. The workshop will provide selected participants with feedback on their papers as well as career and publishing advice from the working group’s convenors.
This workshop is sponsored by BISA and the University of Bath’s research group on Nationalism, Populism, and Radicalism. It will be held in the Pall Mall (London) office of the University of Bath on Monday 21 October 2019. Limited travel support for selected participants will be provided. 
The deadline for proposals is Monday 23 September 2019.
Proposals should include name, affiliation, and paper abstract (100-250 words). Please email your proposal to the organisers in word or pdf format by 23 September. Selected participants will be expected to submit their papers two weeks prior to the workshop.
For more information, please contact either Paul Goode (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) or Maria Koinova (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.). 

BISA Conference 2020 Call for Papers - The Future of International Studies

We’re delighted to bring you the call for papers for the BISA 2020 conference to be held on 17-19 June 2020 in Newcastle-upon-Tyne.
If you’ve followed BISA for a while you’ll know that we usually open proposal submissions in September each year. This year however, submissions will open a little later at the end of October. This is because, following feedback from conference participants and our working group convenors, we’re redeveloping both our website and the functionality behind it. This includes proposal submission and review. We hope that the short delay won’t deter you from submitting a proposal. The extra time will allow us to make sure that your experience of proposal submission and review improves on previous years.
Call for papers
Where lies the future of international studies as a field of inquiry, mode of learning, and site of politics?
As the discipline enters its second century in the UK, there is an opportunity to engage critically with how we envision the future possibilities of international studies. Are the fundamental contours of world politics changing as challenges like the Anthropocene, populism, and ongoing inequalities potentially reconfigure power and governance in the international system? Or, is the theory and practice of British international studies stuck in its ways, embracing modes of scholarly investigation and forms of nostalgia associated with a mythical bygone era? 
Thus, at a time of competing tendencies and tensions, BISA 2020 provides an opportune moment to further investigate how we ‘do’ international studies and how the field both shapes, and is shaped by, the pressures of contemporary higher education, societies in deep crisis, and worlds in flux. Where might the field turn for new forms of inquiry, engagement, and understanding to better grasp what is at stake in contemporary world politics and better discern how our answers to this question will influence future trajectories for international studies? Moreover, how might international studies more robustly investigate its pasts, presents, and futures? And might it do so with a normative commitment to producing more equitable, diverse, and inclusive worlds?
These questions and their challenges for international studies are not conducive to simple answers. They demand a re-invigoration of inquiry within international studies. But in doing so, to what extent must they also engage with cognate disciplines like geography, history, law, and sociology or even further afield in conversation with the arts, humanities, and sciences? Similarly, how might different ways of knowing, different forms of knowledge, different ways of teaching, and different ways of being a researcher produce alternative futures for international studies?
To pursue answers to the questions, the conference programme committee seeks individual papers, panels, and roundtables that engage with the themes identified above or any other topic that advances the understanding of international studies widely defined. It also encourages the inclusion of multiple perspectives, diverse panels, interdisciplinary collaboration, and innovative formats. Please note that members and non-members of BISA are warmly invited to submit proposals.
We hope this call whets your appetite for the 2020 conference and we'll let you know as soon as submissions are open.

Call for Expressions of Interest to Host the BISA Annual Conference in 2021 or 2022

We are seeking statements of interest for serving as the Host for the annual BISA conference in June of 2021 or 2022. The BISA conference draws an international group of researchers and practitioners who are dedicated to the free exchange of scholarly opinions and evidence-based research for the purposes of advancing the field of international studies.
We seek expressions of interest from groups, departments, schools, and/or organisations. The Conference Host is a group or organisation who serves as a liaison to BISA, assisting in the identification of conference spaces, hotels, catering and reception options, sponsorships, and ways to engage with the local community in order to raise the visibility of BISA and the field of international studies.
The BISA Chair, Director and staff will manage the conference programme and planning, including negotiating contracts with hotels, meeting venues, catering, and handling all administrative details of the conference, including registration, reception(s), AV, Wifi access and the organisation of exhibitors. The role of the conference Host is to advise on this process and provide crucial local knowledge and connections.
Individuals, organisations, or consortia who may be interested in serving as conference Host should contact the BISA Chair, Professor Mark Webber: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., cc’ing in the BISA Director, Ms Juliet Dryden: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with a letter outlining an expression of interest. 
The letter should include the following information:
  • a list of the members of your hosting group
  • your connections to BISA and the field of international studies
  • a description of any prior experiences you have had with hosting conferences and the role(s) members of the hosting group have played
  • your preference (if any) on the year – 2021 or 2022
  • thoughts on venue options including cost estimates that could accommodate up to 700 delegates and 200 panels over 3-4 days and why these would be good spaces for holding the conference. (Please note BISA is open to a variety of venue spaces, including universities, conference centres, and hotels).
  • initial thoughts for a programme of events around the conference that will engage with the local community to raise the visibility of BISA and advance the understanding of international studies (for example links with schools, local community venues)
  • an assessment of the potential for additional institutional support (if available)
The deadline to submit expressions of interest is 15 November 2019 by 17.00 UK time and should be send to Professor Mark Webber on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. cc’ing in the Director on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Short listed applications will be contacted by the end of 2019 and site visits carried out by the Director in early 2020. 

Call for Papers: Interrogating the Nuclear Condition: Past, Present and Future

11th November 2019
Aspex Gallery, Portsmouth, UK
Organised by the BISA Global Nuclear Order Working Group
We’re pleased to announce that proposals are invited for the seventh annual conference of the BISA Global Nuclear Order Working Group. The conference theme is Interrogating the Nuclear Condition: Past, Present and Future.
We invite proposals for papers and panels that investigate conceptual, empirical and/or policy aspects of global nuclear politics. Papers/panels can also reflect on methodological or theoretical debates in the field. We welcome papers that examine all aspects of the nuclear world we inhabit, including but not limited to:
  • Theoretical/interdisciplinary/activist/practitioner approaches to engaging with the nuclear condition
  • New thinking on contemporary and future nuclear challenges, such as deterrence and strategy in the third decade of the 21st century, and the relationship of nuclear and other technologies
  • Reflections on international nuclear politics at the ‘end of arms control’
  • Disarmament, the humanitarian initiative and global nuclear governance
  • Reconsidering and contextualising our nuclear past
  • Proliferation, nuclear security and nuclear risk management
We will also be holding shorter, informal five minute ‘pitch’ sessions for those with ideas at an earlier stage looking for feedback, advice or potential collaborators.
The BISA Global Nuclear Order Working Group was founded to bring together a diverse range of scholars, practitioners and professionals and so submissions from post-graduate students, non-academics and those working in other disciplines are particularly welcome.
Please send an abstract of no more than 200 words and/or 50 word ‘pitch’ idea by 30th September 2019 to Dr Laura Considine: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
The Conference is hosted by the University of Portsmouth with a contribution from the University Security and Risk thematic area. Security and Risk research at Portsmouth concerns the physical and electronic security of individuals, organisations and societies. A number of travel bursaries will be available for graduate students and early career presenters who are BISA members and will be allocated based on individual need and distance travelled.

The Results Are In - Conference Survey 2019

Following the BISA 2019 conference in London we asked attendees for feedback on what worked well and what we could improve for Newcastle 2020 and beyond. The results are in and we wanted to share some highlights. We rely on your suggestions to improve the conference year on year and, most importantly, to give you as members a productive and worthwhile conference experience that represents value for money.
The most important statistic for us is that 96% of you said that the conference delivered on our aim to provide an intellectual atmosphere that is respectful and open to all levels of debate and opinion. This was our principle aim for the conference and we are pleased with this strong result.
Other aspects of the conference which scored well included:
  • 87% of you thought the satellite events were a useful addition to the programme
  • 85% gave a positive response on the special panels, for example CPD and mentoring
  • 88% rated the diversity of panel topics ‘excellent’ or ‘good’
  • The ‘Meet the Editors’ event organised by the BISA Postgraduate Network (PGN) was a particular favourite with requests to repeat it next year
Common themes for improvement included:
  • A later start time each day to ensure better attendance at the first panels
  • More consideration to be given to the choice of venue and use of space – for example to have seating and work areas, more signage and better wifi
  • Provision of training for panel chairs
  • Greater diversity of panellists - this is very important to us and we are continually looking for ways to improve in this area
  • Better promotion of the PGN events
We’ll be discussing all the conference feedback at the next conference committee meeting in September, with a view to ensuring that we can act on as many of your suggestions as possible for Newcastle 2020. Look out for announcements on what we’ve improved when the conference programme is released early next year.

Call for Papers: ‘Gangsta’s Paradise’? Tackling Serious and Organised Crime post-Brexit - journal special issue

Journal special issue – Trends in Organised Crime
Against a background of continuing growth in the volume of serious and organised crime (SOC) in the United Kingdom (UK), the 2019 report of the National Crime Agency points to a systemic failure of the police in tackling this issue, as well as to increasing concerns with the current impact on UK society: 
“SOC affects more UK citizens, more frequently than any other national security threat. It has a daily impact on citizens, public services, businesses, institutions, national reputation and infrastructure. SOC is estimated to cost the UK economy at least £37bn a year” (NCA, 2019: 4). 
Given the transnational nature of SOC and the level of international security cooperation currently in place to address this phenomenon, the departure of the UK from the European Union (EU) is only expected to worsen the situation. Since the Maastricht Treaty, the UK has been developing a system of opt-ins and opt-outs that has allowed it to substantially benefit from and contribute to the development of European measures aimed at tackling organised crime, at the same time as it has enabled the country to avoid taking part in measures which are perceived as not aligned with its national interests. Well-known examples of instruments and mechanisms the UK takes part in include the European Arrest Warrant – aimed at harmonising extradition procedures-, the Schengen Information System – a database for the purpose of border management and law enforcement-, and Europol – the EU’s law enforcement agency. Brexit has the potential to substantially reduce the capacity of the UK to address organised crime by limiting its access to crucial instruments and databases, as well as decreasing its influence over EU decision-making in this area.
Bearing this background in mind, the present call for papers invites expressions of interest covering one or more of the following topics for the purpose of submitting a special issue proposal to the journal Trends in Organised Crime:  
  • How is Brexit likely to shape SOC trends?
  • How are policy and legal responses likely to be impacted?
  • What form and depth of cooperation could be achieved in future negotiations covering the issue of serious and organised crime? What political, legal and operational obstacles do you foresee?
  • How can the fight against SOC be conceptualised and imagined beyond EU Justice and Home Affairs' instruments and policies? 
  • How can the UK continue to serve as an influential actor in the fight against SOC from an external position?
  • How is the governance of Brexit impacting on the current security relations between the UK and the EU?
Expressions of interest should be submitted to the editors of the special issue, Helena Farrand Carrapico, Alex Hall, and Ekaterina Gladkova (Northumbria University) via the following e mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. They should include the author’s name, institutional affiliation, e-mail address, and a 200-word abstract. The deadline for submission of expressions of interest is 15th September 2019.

International Political Theory Essay Prize – Submit Now!

The BISA Contemporary Research in International Political Theory (CRIPT) working group are delighted to announce that we have set up an essay prize for the best submission in international political theory, as part of the activities of this academic year.
The essay prize is aimed at postgraduate students and early career researchers, and you could receive not just monetary reward but the chance to increase your recognition within the international studies community. The winner of the prize will receive a £100 Amazon voucher and the chance to deliver their paper at the conference on the International Thought of Judith Shklar, taking place on 10th October 2019 at the University of St Andrews. The working group will also offer a contribution to travel or accommodation expenses for the conference.
To participate, submissions must:
  • be authored by a BISA member;
  • not exceed 16,000 words;
  • be authored by a current postgraduate student (at any level), early career researcher (holding a position within a higher education institution for a maximum of three years prior to submission), or PhD holder (to have graduated a maximum of three years prior to submission);
  • be emailed to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. before September the 1st.
Submit your entry now or circulate to any colleagues or students. Should you have any questions please email Flaminia and Christof at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Good luck to all entrants.

BISA appoints new Communications Manager

We’re delighted to announce that BISA has recently appointed a new full-time Communications Manager, Chrissie Elliot-Duxson.
Chrissie has replaced Maximilian Lempriere who has done a fantastic job of looking after BISA’s communications on a part-time basis over the past few years.
Chrissie has worked in marketing/communications for around 10 years across a range of different sectors including several positions in Higher Education at the University of Warwick. She graduated in 2008 with a first-class degree in Law from the University of the West of England and has professional qualifications in marketing and accountancy. Chrissie is also a former Chair of her local branch of the Federation of Small Businesses and Coventry and Warwickshire First Young Professionals. In her spare time Chrissie enjoys travelling, reviewing gigs for Birmingham Live and is a singer/songwriter.
BISA Chair, Mark Webber, said “Following the success that BISA has enjoyed over the past few years, we are now in a position where we need a full-time member of staff to look after our communications. We want to make significant changes to our website and member communications, as well as increasing our offer to new audiences such as schools, and this just couldn’t be achieved on a part-time basis. I’ve really enjoyed working with Max and wish him all the best in his future endeavours.”
Over the next six months Chrissie will be working on developing a new BISA website and refreshing the BISA brand, as well as continuing the great work done by Max. She is looking forward to getting to know as many BISA members and Working Group convenors as possible. Should you have any member or working group-related news/events please get in touch with Chrissie and she will be happy to help you disseminate these via our communications channels. Her email address is This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
We’ve taken on the web development and rebrand work following analysis of the results from the member survey we conducted in the Spring, and we hope the results will address some the things you asked for. We’ll be bringing you more information on this over the course of the next few months.
Welcome Chrissie and good luck for the future Max.

Call for Papers: The West and the Rest? Challenging the Emotions Research Agenda

Monday 9 December 2019
London South Bank University (K2-V709, 9am-5pm)
Organised by the BISA Working Group Emotions in Politics and IR
The workshop
Emotions research in Politics and International Relations is now a well-established and rich field, illuminating the political, cultural, and social work of emotions in a variety of global processes including war, peace and conflict resolution, trauma, security, social movements, public opinion, and diplomacy. Recent studies on the everyday politics of emotions have shed light on who gets to express emotions, which emotions are perceived as (il)legitimate or (un)desirable, and how and when emotions are circulated. Emotions and their expression do not, therefore, ‘float freely’; their articulation, perception and reception are contingent on where one is located. Why, for example, is ‘America’s anger’ toward China’s trading practices treated as more rational and legitimate than Afghan women’s anger at the presence of US military forces in Afghanistan? What role do emotions play in legitimating or resisting the forces of white supremacist politics? What role do emotions play in perpetuating or contesting the historical and racialised dynamics of power represented by the ‘refugee crisis’?  This workshop seeks to explore some of these questions with the aim of engaging with critical, non-Western, and postcolonial perspectives on emotions. The discipline of IR is increasingly under the microscope for its role in reproducing global inequalities and violence, and is being asked to look beyond the West to understand and study the world. This workshop seeks to explore: the ways in which the everyday politics of emotions is shaped by gender, race, and class; the extent to which emotions research to date has contributed to a more pluralist and radical vision of IR, and the ways in which (non-)Western perspectives on emotions shape the production of knowledge.
Questions we seek to address include (but are by no means limited to):
- To what extent have emotions studies included a variety of perspectives and empirical cases beyond the West?
- How do emotions intersect with race, sexuality and gender?
- How can decolonialism/postcolonialism inform the study and research of emotions in IR?
- How might the everyday politics of emotions contribute to our understanding of International Relations from non-Western perspectives?
Please send your title and 200 word abstract by no later than Friday 13 September to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and copying This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  
Please note that there is small amount of money available for travel that can be awarded to participants (who are BISA members) but priority will be given to PhD students and unwaged participants.
British International Studies Association


Charity No:1151260
Company no: 8422260
Registered office: University Of Birmingham Room 650, 6th Floor, Muirhead Tower, Edgbaston, Birmingham, England, B15 2TT