The Centre for the Study of Internationalism had been planning a one-day workshop on the theme of ‘What is internationalism in 2020’, to take place on 26 June…
In light of the Covid-19 pandemic we decided to re-imagine the event as an online meeting that could, in fact, help us to think about some of the most crucial questions of our time. Indeed, we feel that the current crisis makes ever more pertinent the need to think critically about the study of internationalism, and what it can and can’t do for us today.
Of course, holding this online means having to rethink the format of discussions. Rather than structuring the day into panels, we have been inviting a number of colleagues to send us short (2-5 minute) responses to one of the questions below. We will post all recordings on the website in the run-up to 26 June, and then hold a live virtual discussion on the day itself, with speakers and other attendees who would like to ask questions/contribute.
Pandemic Internationalism: What is Internationalism in 2020?
The last decades have seen a series of challenges to the international organisations and international arrangements many people had long taken for granted. In the wake of the 2007 financial crisis, and again during the refugee crisis in 2015, voters in many parts of the world expressed nostalgia for a less connected, less global age. The pandemic of Covid-19 has highlighted both just how little multilateral action is currently favoured by states across the world, but also how much the successful management of the coronavirus requires a degree of international cooperation and global strategy.
Here is a phenomenon that interests us: just when the desirability and feasibility of international cooperation was being increasingly questioned, global, international and transnational narratives began to occupy an ever more prominent place in many academic disciplines. The challenges in the world around them seem to have sharpened many scholars’ awareness of internationalism and its often fraught history.
But what does it mean to study internationalism today, in a world shaken by a pandemic and about to go into a global recession? Internationalism has always been a protean concept. Some take it as a synonym for globalization; for others it means co-operation through multilateral institutions; and for the Left it is most often rooted in revolutionary, working-class and anti-imperialist traditions. In the context of ongoing changes to economies, national political consensuses and debates about the feasibility of international organisations, this is a pertinent moment to take stock of what internationalism means today, and how scholars can use it to make sense of the world and the big challenges of our time.
The workshop will consider the following key questions:
– What does internationalism mean today?
– How can the study of internationalism make sense of our world today?
– Is our existing toolkit for studying internationalism appropriate for thinking about today? Where are the blind spots?
– What roles is the study of internationalism likely to play in academic discourse in the next 5, 10, 20 years?
WATCH THIS SPACE! – we’ll be posting the video responses in the week beginning 22 June, and we would love for as many people as possible to attend and contribute to the online discussion on the 26th.
More details to follow!