Local Roots of Global Peace: Global Development and Security Studies 4th Annual International Conference

June 26-27
Eurasia International University
Yerevan, Armenia

Conference Theme: Negotiating Sovereignty

The legal sovereignty between states, a cornerstone in international law, has always been contested.  In the modern world, global forces of trade, capital mobility, epidemics and cyber-attacks have left national governments unleveraged with regard to their domestic policies. The outbreak of the corona virus in China, as well as the persistent proxy wars in the Middle East, are only the most vivid and recent examples of challenges to state sovereignty. The “race to the bottom,” manifest in weakening regulations on labor and environmental conditions, has engendered inequality among and within states. The rise of populism in the US and Europe, growing inequality within states, and state capture by global capital are only some of the factors that have made democracies vulnerable and state governance rather weak. They have also exposed the limits of the legal sovereignty of states and the myth of its indivisibility.

Indeed, the concept of sovereignty itself has undergone many changes over time. The strengthening of human rights law during the past few centuries has steadily eroded the absolute power of governing authorities over their societies.  “Popular sovereignty” has emerged as an important legal doctrine in international law, albeit with much weaker political protections and enforcement.  States with the weakest accommodative capacities towards their minorities have been particularly vulnerable to ethno-nationalist movements, secessionist conflict, and communal violence. Authoritarian states and hybrid regimes, with centralized and coercive institutions, have also been hit with a wave of mass protests and democratic movements–such as in Hong Kong, Algeria, Sudan–despite parallel democratic declines elsewhere, such as Poland, Hungary and Turkey. In some cases, the erosion of state sovereignty is involuntary, subject to shifting economic and political forces. In others, referred to as “sovereignty bargains,” states voluntarily accept limitations on their sovereignty in exchange for certain benefits. How can we assess and differentiate such cases? Can such “bargains” be sovereignty? Do they enhance, erode, dilute, or curtail?

The roundtables on the conference theme will engage with the historical and geopolitical contours of sovereignty.  Papers and programs will address the following themes and questions, broadly conceived: the actors and the agency of sovereignty; the perception of sovereignty as an indivisible, sustainable concept in current scholarship; and the impact of historical legacies of sovereignty on contemporary politics and culture. What are the specific challenges to state sovereignty in the West and the rest? How do we conceptualize popular sovereignty in the 21st century in social science, history, and the humanities? Particular emphasis will be placed on understanding the process of sovereignty bargains by smaller states, relative to their geopolitical patrons. How do such sovereignty bargains emerge and evolve in an increasingly multilateral world? What do they mean for small states and their statecraft?

Professional Development

The conference features a variety of opportunities for professional development, including panels emphasizing the scholarship of teaching and learning (SOTL), practitioner workshops, networking and community building, mentoring for students and junior scholars, and resources for building a professional / academic profile and online presence by participants.  Professional development panels will focus on: (1) qualitative research methods; (2) writing effective graduate theses at the Master’s and Doctoral levels; (3) designing syllabi that work; (4) developing learning assessment tools; and (5) digital instruction and effective use of technology in the teaching process.

Paper abstracts are invited on the topics and themes listed below: 

  • Global security studies, old and new
  • Armed conflicts, active or frozen
  • Small powers and their statecraft
  • Beyond great power politics
  • People power in world politics
  • Contemporary authoritarianism and hybrid regimes
  • Mass movements and contentious politics
  • Human rights in a multipolar world order
  • Women’s agency and rights
  • Genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity, and international law
  • Climate change and environmental degradation
  • Peace processes and peacebuilding practices
  • Terrorism, regional and global
  • Corruption (local, national and global) as a security threat
  • Energy security
  • Globalization, market economy and global security
  • Politics of gender, in war and peace
  • Media and propaganda, in war and peace

Area focus is open but papers on post-Communist Eurasia and the Middle East are particularly welcome.

Application and Deadlines

English is the working language of the conference. Proposals should be submitted electronically to Ms. Mariam Jilavyan at mariam.jilavyan@eiu.am, no later than March 15, 2020. The world limit for abstracts is 300. Successful proposals will include clearly defined research goals and should be accompanied by a brief bio with the current institutional affiliation of the applicant and full contact information.  Proposals will be reviewed by faculty members at Stonehill College (USA). Decisions will be announced by March 30th. If accepted, full papers must be submitted by June 10th toMs. Mariam Jilavyan at mariam.jilavyan@eiu.am.


Upper-level undergraduate and graduate students, from the Caucasus region, Iran, Russia, and Turkey are particularly encouraged to apply. (For accepted presenters from Azerbaijan who are unable to attend the conference, on-line/skype delivery of their presentations will be arranged.)

Additional Contact Information

Anna Ohanyan, Professor of Political Science, Richard B. Finnegan Distinguished Professor of Political Science and International Relations aohanyan@stonehill.edu
Todd S. Gernes, Associate Professor of History, Writing Program Director tgernes@stonehill.edu
Piyush Chandra, Associate Professor of Economics pchandra@stonehill.edu

Full call: https://www.stonehill.edu/offices-and-services/lion/call-for-proposals/