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Call for papers - International relations and the Commonwealth of Nations

Date: Friday 29th November 2024

Venue: St Mary's University

This year 2024 marks the 75th anniversary of the Commonwealth of Nations. While some scholars see it as an embarrassing legacy of the British Empire that should be allowed to wither away, the modern Commonwealth of Nations has grown in membership from seven in 1949 to 56 member states today. This includes countries that were never part of the British Empire or had no constitutional links with the United Kingdom. In addition, more countries have expressed an interest in joining.

The modern Commonwealth has a combined population of 2.5 billion people, more than a third of the world's population and covers more than a quarter of the world’s land mass. Despite this, the Commonwealth has received little interest recently from international relations scholars, with only a few notable exceptions such as Shaw and Ashworth (2010) or McDougall (2018). Much has changed since then, with a Commonwealth charter signed in 2013 and an ever-expanding membership.

This is a call to revive the International Relations scholar’s interest in this unique international organisation in both its intergovernmental and non-governmental guises. The theme of the conference will therefore be “Emerging issues, old dilemmas: international relations perspectives on the Commonwealth of Nations at 75 years old”. We encourage submissions that interpret this theme broadly, including methodological, epistemic, theoretical, and thematic perspectives on it. Contributions that explore underrepresented topics and multidisciplinary perspectives are also encouraged.

Topics of Interest include (but are not limited to):

  • Different IR/IPE theories’ perspectives on the Commonwealth.
  • Innovative theoretical frameworks in Commonwealth studies.
  • Interdisciplinary approaches to issues affecting the Commonwealth as a whole or its member states (including, but not limited to, climate change, democratisation, cultural exchange, education, human rights, development, civil society, business development, and international trade.
  • Comparative studies that bring the Commonwealth as an organisation into dialogue with each other, or non-Commonwealth countries.
  • Research applying innovative or historically grounded methodologies, ideologies, or epistemic principles.
  • Investigations into the role of the Commonwealth within global contexts.

Submission guidelines:

  • Please send an abstract of no longer than 250 words that explains how your research focuses on the Commonwealth.
  • Additionally, please include a brief biography (up to 150 words), considering your academic affiliation, research interests, and contact information.
  • Please send your proposal to (subject line: IR perspectives on the Commonwealth) no later than July 1 2024. Notification of acceptance will be sent by August 1, 2024.

We hope to select papers for inclusion in a book or special edition of a journal and look forward to receiving your research proposals.

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