Call for Papers | Aesthetic Cities



An EWIS workshop proposal for the European International Studies Association

Groningen, 06-09 June 2018


Deadline for paper proposals: 10 January 2018



Dr Matt Davies, Senior Lecturer in International Political Economy, Newcastle University and Visiting Professor, International Relations Institute, Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Rio de Janeiro


Dr Delacey Tedesco, Lecturer in Critical International Relations, University of Exeter


Workshop Topic

Political geographers and political economists have recently highlighted the importance of cities and of urbanisation for International Relations, while the aesthetic turn in International Relations has extended the domain of international politics to recognize the increasing salience for IR of issues such as gender, ethnicity, poverty, citizenship, or consumption, long relegated to politics at other “levels” or to entirely different disciplines (sociology, anthropology, or economics). This workshop examines the methodological challenges of identifying and engaging urban spaces and times as they articulate everyday life with everyday aspects of political life such as visual, sensory, affective, embodied, and intimate experience – in other words, the aesthetic dimensions of the urban international. international processes, forces, and relations. The workshop asks: how do artists in various fields or media investigate the city as a space where the international and the everyday come together to confront each other, reproduce each other, or transform each other? What new forms and practices of research can scholars of global politics develop in order to investigate how ‘the city’ emerges as a site where the local, the intimate, and the global come together to transform both each other and the field of political possibilities? This workshop engages the urban not only as site of a domination through geopolitical insecurity or violence, but also as a site of residual and emergent everyday rhythms, practices, and affective atmospheres rendered as objects to be managed or as obstinate tendencies of subjective resistance. It engages aesthetics as a site to learn from existing but marginalized political methodological skills and approaches, rather than as a field through which scholars gain conceptual insights into the ‘real’ political work at hand. Finally, it challenges conceptualizations of aesthetics as existing independently of politics.


Papers will respond to questions such as:


  • How do artists (e.g., photographers, performers, designers, musicians, graphic artists, etc.) investigate urban space for their work?
  • How do they perceive – or make perceivable – urban encounters between everyday, lived experience and international processes or forces?
  • How (if at all?) must we modify our understanding of specific problems in IR (such as warfare, conflict, financialisation, migration) in light of the “aesthetic city”?
  • What forms of political action or intervention become possible in spaces of urbanisation? Are these related to tendencies of, processes in, or changes to contemporary forms of international relations?
  • How does ‘the urban’, as a spatialized and aesthetic political category, shape everyday life and artistic practices in places that are not easily categorized as ‘urban’ but may be understood as sites of urbanization?


Thus topics may include:

  • How the city becomes an aesthetic subject
  • How urban subjects may engage, reconfigure, or resist ‘urban aesthetics’ as politicized processes
  • How urban entanglements shape perceptions of political possibility
  • DIY, underground, and scenes and alternative mobilisations of the urban
  • Filming, sounding, drawing, and performing urban aesthetic subjects
  • How cities curate urban possibilities for local/global encounters
  • Events, mega-events, and cities as projects for development
  • How urban scale mediates cities in the international
  • Different internationals, different politics through aesthetic openings
  • Northern, Southern, or Planetary urbanization shaping perceptual fields
  • How the specific approaches to and processes of Northern, Southern, planetary,  assemblage, or colonial/decolonial urbanization may shape perceptual fields and methodological practices


General Information & Deadlines

  • Abstracts MUST be submitted electronically via the online submission system
    by the given deadline January 10, 2018. Abstracts received via fax, e-mail or received after the deadline will not be accepted and therefore will not be considered for the programme or publication.
  • One author can only submit 1 abstract.
  1. Please note that “Aesthetic Cities” is topic WS P


  • WS P – Aesthetic Cities: Everyday, International, Urban


  1. The presentation type should be confirmed during the submission:
    • Paper presentation
  1. Abstracts could be amended in the online submission system until the submission deadline of January 10, 2018.
  1. All abstracts will be reviewed by the EWIS 2018 Scientific Committee – Workshop Conveners in consultation with the Programme Chairs. They will decide which abstracts will be accepted and rejected but may also recommend that your abstract is considered in a different workshop.
  1. All presenting authors will receive an acceptance/rejection notification via e-mail by February 10, 2018.
  1. All presenting authors are obliged to register by March 16, 2018.

Abstract Formatting

  1. All abstracts must be written in English.
  1. When submitting your abstract, consider and select the best suitable workshop – and one alternative workshop should your first choice not accept your submission.
  1. The abstract title is limited by 20 words.  Please capitalise your abstract title in the following way – This is my Abstract for EWIS 2018: For Presentation in Groningen.
  1. Up to 10 authors can be included (incl. presenting author). The person, who submits the abstract is automatically considered to be the contact person for all future correspondence. Authors order could be changed if needed by swopping the names at the list of the co-authors. The first name is considered to be the main author. Presenting author could be amended in the online submission system while managing co-authors.
  1. The maximum abstract length is 200 words, which is approximately 2/3 of A4 page. Pictures/charts/special formulas are not allowedwithin the abstract text.
  1. Each author should submit from 3 to 6 keywords matching /his/her abstract content. Please insert the keywords in alphabetical order.
  1. The submitter is required to include presenting author’s short biography (up to 100 words).

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