Call for papers: Postgraduate and Early Career Research Conference 2020

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Paper and panel submissions are invited for the BISA Postgraduate and Early Career Research Conference 2020: The unseen of international studies: expanded visions for the ‘second century of IR’.
Wednesday 15 – Thursday 16 April 2020, Aberystwyth University Department of International Politics
Keynote Speaker: Dr Victoria M. Basham (Cardiff University)

In the last five years, we have witnessed a number of prominent events which have come to dominate headlines as well as the International Relations research and policy agenda. These have included the rise and decline of ISIS amid continuing tensions in the Gulf region, Western fears around Russian and Chinese ‘expansionism’, the rise of populism, Brexit, and the presidency of Donald Trump, among others. Meanwhile, robust responses to the climate crisis are still absent from the policymaking agendas of most liberal democratic states. 
Whilst these are issues of pivotal importance, researchers must also turn their attention to the less visible corners of ‘the international’ in an effort to examine the other processes and events which drive global change and have potentially significant consequences for human organisation—and indeed survival—during the next hundred years. 
Following last year’s celebrations marking the centenary of disciplinary IR, the BISA PGN Annual Conference 2020 returns to Aberystwyth in search of important lesser-seen trends in global politics—and the obscured aspects of more prominent topics. We invite contributions which address (but are not limited to) some of the following subject matters:

  • Security challenges of a new decade: war, peace, and the spaces in between (e.g. frozen conflicts, insurgencies, and civil war);
  • New areas and modes of global development and cooperation;
  • The emerging mainstream and (previously) marginalised approaches to disciplinary IR (gender, queer, race, practice temporal, animal, inter alia);
  • Non-Western approaches to IR;
  • Methodological and conceptual innovations;
  • Non-Governmental actors in world politics;
  • Alternative narratives and retellings of international history;
  • Broadening the scope of International Studies: inter/multi-disciplinary perspectives outside of disciplinary IR which enhance our understanding of the global condition;
  • Existential threats to global communities: ecological? technological? ontological?; and
  • Artificial intelligence and post-humanism.

The conference will provide PhD and early-career researchers with a space to present their research in an inclusive, collegial, and supportive setting, and present excellent networking opportunities. It also offers the chance to take part in a wide range of panels and activities aimed at enhancing research quality, presentation skills, and important qualities for career development. Roundtables will be delivered by experienced guest speakers and published researchers who will answer questions and offer guidance to the next generation of global scholars.

BISA working groups

Programme space will be set aside for BISA Working Groups to hold their own panels or roundtable discussions. Submissions for panels (minimum three participants) are invited from postgraduate or ECR Working Group members. Groups may also be offered space to display promotional materials, literature and sign-up sheets. 

Remote participation

We aim to hold an accessible conference. Although we are unable to fund overseas travel, we encourage submissions from non-UK scholars, from our Global South membership, and from any other members who may have difficulty travelling. Accordingly, a video conferencing option will be offered to increase accessibility, enabling members to present and participate in discussions. Please indicate in your application if you would like to use this facility. Please note that remote participants will still need to be BISA members.

How to apply

Abstracts for papers and panels, not longer than 250 words, should be submitted to BISA PGN ( by 10 February 2020 at 5pm.

Important information


  • Eligibility - There are no registration fees to take part in the conference, but BISA membership is required to participate. Become a member to benefit from many other upcoming events and opportunities at
  • Bursaries - A limited number of £80 grants for travel and accommodation are available. Should you wish to apply, please add a short paragraph (200 words maximum) after your abstract, explaining why the grant is required. Priority will be given to applicants who cannot cover costs with their own research funding, such as a PhD studentship.
  • Light breakfasts, lunches and refreshments for all attendees will be provided throughout the conference. Further options regarding dietary requirements will be offered when acceptance e-mails are sent in January 2020.
  • Details of roundtables, activities, additional guest speakers, and an informal dinner gathering will be confirmed by January 2020.
  • Attending the BISA Annual Conference in Newcastle (June 2020) does not preclude participation in this conference.

The conference will be held at Department of International Politics, Penglais Campus, Aberystwyth University, Aberystwyth, Ceredigion, SY23 3FE.
Aberystwyth is accessible by rail directly from Birmingham New Street and Birmingham International stations. Daily coach services run from large cities including London, Cardiff, and Bristol. Birmingham and Manchester are the nearest airports. There are several options available for affordable hotel or B&B accommodation.