A one-day interdisciplinary workshop exploring the crossover between IR and Art History, common concerns, and interdisciplinary advances with a view to establish a productive conceptual, methodological and analytical agenda for IR and Art Historical research. With the support of the BISA Poststructural Politics Working Group.


30th June 2018; Department of War Studies, King’s College London, UK

Event rationale:

The nexus between the study of International Relations (IR) and Art History is ripe with conceptual, analytical, and empirical opportunities for critical understanding. Art History has long counted on and developed methods and concepts for the study of specific aesthetic functions, including conflict and identity. Likewise, areas of IR scholarship have addressed in various forms the relevance, function and power of the aesthetic, and has long sought to account for the role of such expression in politics. The ‘Aesthetic Turn’ literature has sought to make this crossover productive. However, scholarship between these fields suffers from a lack of aggregation, particularly examination of clear conceptual links and reflection on analytical objectives shared and contested by both disciplines, and the tensions therein. Though valuable contributions have been made, its analytical promise needs to be revisited. How do IR and Art Historical analyses differ and what are the conceptual and methodological reasons for this? Where can they meet? What might such an interdisciplinary crossover look like in the specifics of each discipline and concrete research and analytical goals?

This one-day workshop seeks to open an interdisciplinary space for new dialogue between IR scholars and Art Historians working on issues of art and conflict. The core objective is to understand and map what constitutes the shared space between art and IR, its tensions, and the concepts and methods necessary for its interdisciplinary engagement and analytical research productivity. The event will bring together key scholars that have experience of this interdisciplinary space and a range of IR and art practitioners.  We are grateful to the BISA Postructuralist Politics Working Group for the grant that made this event possible.


Submissions will be sought that relate to

  • Theory, methods, and analytical strategies in both IR and Art History
  • aesthetics and ethics
  • knowledge, power, categorisations and aesthetics
  • images and the dilemma of ‘high art’
  • sites of art and conflict
  • conflict over visibility/invisibility
  • nexus of transnational art world, institutions and its localities
  • aesthetic analysis and its development
  • gendered aesthetics
  • hierarchy and power in aesthetic analysis
  • locating the politics of art as theory and methodology
  • examining aesthetic language
  • postcoloniality in aesthetics and decolonising aesthetics
  • making art international
  • practices and institutional as well as individual power
  • agency between art and IR
  • the body and art in IR and/or conflict


Selected papers presented at the workshop to be developed and submitted as a special issue to Review of International Studies. This special issue is to be edited by Vivienne Jabri (KCL), Laurie Benson (SOAS) and Pablo de Orellana (KCL).


Event format:

Convenors: Dr Pablo de Orellana, King’s College London,, Co-Chair of the KCL Research Centre in International Relations; Dr Laurie Benson, School of Oriental and African Studies, London,; Prof Vivienne Jabri, King’s College London

Funding: There is some limited funding available to contribute towards travel expenses, priority will be given to postgraduate students and early career scholars. Please note that BISA will only reimburse the travel expenses of BISA members. Please detail your funding needs in your submission.

Submissions: All submissions to attend the workshop either presenting a paper or for attendance to be emailed to by 1st March 2018. Abstracts for papers (200 words max) due 1st March 2018 (midnight) — Applications for attendance due 1st March 2018 (midnight) — Papers due 10th June 2018 (midnight)


Book Launch: The International in Security, Security in the International

Prof. Pınar Bilgin, Bilkent University
When: 16 February 2017, 17.00-19.00
Where: War Studies Meeting Room K6.07, King’s College London, Strand, London WC2R 2LS
Speakers: Prof Pinar Bilgin in conversation with Dr Claudia Aradau and Prof Vivienne Jabri
Free registration:

Seeking to further debates surrounding thinking beyond the ‘West/non-West’ divide, this book analyzes how scholarship on, and conceptions of, the international outside core contexts are tied up with peripheral actors’ search for security. Accordingly, Bilgin looks at core/periphery dynamics not only in terms of the production of knowledge in the production of IR scholarship, or material threats, but also peripheral actors’ conceptions of the international in terms of ‘standard of civilization’ and their more contemporary guises, which she terms as ‘hierarchy in anarchical society’.

Pınar Bilgin is Professor of International Relations at Bilkent University. She is the author of Regional Security in the Middle East: A Critical Perspective (2005), The International in Security, Security in the International (2016) and co-editor of Routledge Handbook of International Political Sociology (With Xavier Guillaume, forthcoming in 2017), Asia in International Relations: Unthinking Imperial Power Relations (with L.H.M. Ling, forthcoming in 2017). She was a Woodrow Wilson Fellow at WWIC, Washington DC in 2006-07 and a Visiting Senior Research Fellow at King’s College London in 2013-14. She was a visiting professor at the Center for Contemporary Middle East Studies of the University of Southern Denmark and a visiting scholar at the Center for the Resolution of International Conflicts (CRIC) at the University of Copenhagen during 2015-16. She served as Associate Editor of Security Dialogue during 2008-2013 and Associate Editor of International Political Sociology during 2012-2017. She is the co-editor (with Monica Herz) of the new Palgrave book series, Critical Security Studies in the Global South.

Photo Exhibition Launch: Humans of Calais: Migration from the Perspective of Migrants – 11 November 2016

This photo exhibition of daily life in the refugee camp in Calais is the result of the research project Humans of Calais, which gives migrants a voice in order to understand their experiences from their own perspective. Residents of the Calais camp were given disposable cameras to record their daily lives in the camp. These visual snapshots, and the migrants’ narratives that accompany them, offer a unique insight into the ways in which migrants build their lives under difficult and makeshift circumstances, whilst also showing their ideas and dreams.

The exhibition launch will be an opportunity to view the exhibition and to learn more about the research project from the researchers, who will also present their research report. Refreshments will be provided.

Researchers: Signe Sofie Hansen, Tara Flores, Ishita Singh and Layla Mohseni

Friday 11 November 2016, 17:00-19:00

War Studies Meeting Room, K6.07, King’s College London



New Directions in Critical Security Studies Workshop organised by Dr Claudia Aradau and Dr Lucile Maertens 18 November 2016 – London

Critical Security Studies (CSS) have been a major development in the analysis of security since the 1990s. This workshop intends to foster discussions to identify key areas and directions for future CSS. It proposes to bring together doctoral students and academics working on new theoretical directions and empirical interrogations of (in)security to both question and prompt new developments in critical approaches to security.

We invite contributions that address conceptual, methodological and empirical perspectives from different disciplinary perspectives. We aim to reflect on emerging themes – such as digitization of security and surveillance, political ecology and security, gender and (in)securities, borders and mobility, etc. – and key conceptual and political question about the relation between security and politics, security and justice, security and critique. We also invite participants to discuss ways of doing research and of questioning security actors and practices.

The aim of this one-day workshop is to develop a network on critical security studies at KCL and build links and intellectual conversations around critical approaches to (in)security across disciplines and boundaries.


Call for abstracts

Send us a brief outline of your research highlighting major conceptual, methodological and/or empirical questions you address (200 to 250 words) by 15 October 2016.



Seminar with Salvatore Palidda: Governance of Security and Ignored Insecurities in Contemporary Europe

Salvatore Palidda (University of Genova) and Didier Bigo (KCL and Sciences-Po Paris)

Monday 6th June 2016, 5pm, K0.17, King’s Building, Strand Campus

In this small seminar, Prof. Salvatore Palidda will be exploring some aspects of his latest edited volume, Governance of Security and Ignored Insecurities in Contemporary Europe (Routledge 2016) in conversation with Prof. Didier Bigo. Continue reading

The Production of Knowledge in/of Migration Studies

Dace Dzenovska (COMPAS, Oxford), Bridget Anderson (COMPAS, Oxford), Nicholas De Genova (Geography, KCL)

Tuesday 17 May 2016, 4pm, War Studies Meeting Room (K6.07)

Dace Dzenovska is an Associate Professor in the Anthropology of Migration at COMPAS and the Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology (ISCA). Prior to this, she held a Marie Curie Fellowship at COMPAS and a three-year research and teaching position in social anthropology at the University of Latvia. She received a PhD in sociocultural anthropology from the University of California, Berkeley. Dace has turned her doctoral dissertation on tolerance promotion and postsocialist democratization in Latvia into a book manuscript entitled Complicit Becoming: Tolerance Work and Europeanization After Socialism. Her second book project is on outmigration from Latvia and is entitled The Great Departure: Staying and Leaving as Tactics of Life After Post-Socialism.

Bridget Anderson is Professor of Migration and Citizenship and Research Director at COMPAS. She is the author of Us and Them? The Dangerous Politics of Immigration Controls (Oxford University Press, 2013) and Doing the Dirty Work? The Global Politics of Domestic Labour (Zed Books, 2000). She co-edited Who Needs Migrant Workers? Labour Shortages, Immigration and Public Policy with Martin Ruhs (Oxford University Press, 2010 and 2012) The Social, Political and Historical Contours of Deportation with Matthew Gibney and Emanuela Paoletti (Springer, 2013), and Migration and Care Labour: Theory, Policy and Politics with Isabel Shutes (Palgrave Macmillan, 2014)

Nicholas De Genova <> is Reader in Urban Geography and Director of the Spatial Politics research group at King’s College London. He is the author of Working the Boundaries: Race, Space, and “Illegality” in Mexican Chicago (2005), co-author of Latino Crossings: Mexicans, Puerto Ricans, and the Politics of Race and Citizenship (2003), editor of Racial Transformations: Latinos and Asians Remaking the United States (2006), and co-editor of The Deportation Regime: Sovereignty, Space, and the Freedom of Movement (2010). He is currently writing two new books — one on The Migrant Metropolis and another on The “European” Question: Migration, Race and Postcoloniality — and has also edited a new book on The Borders of “Europe”: Autonomy of Migration, Tactics of Bordering (forthcoming, Duke University Press).


This event is part of the Borders, Citizenship & Mobility workshop, co-organised by RCIR and the Department of Geography, King’s College London

Frontiers of Mobility: Migration and Control in an Age of Securitisation

Dr Ruben Andersson, London School of Economics 

Tuesday 15 March 2016, 3pm, War Studies Meeting Room (K6.07)

Amid the political panic over the migration or refugee ‘crisis’, the capability to control cross- border movement has emerged as a holy grail for anxious politicians in Europe and elsewhere – just at a time when the capability to regain such control looms large for well- connected refugees and migrants themselves. This paper sketches some initial thoughts on how to analyse and research this tense juncture, characterised by a growing mismatch between states’ vast resources to control movement and the equally unprecedented resources at migrants’ disposal, as well as by the increasing securitisation of mobility that attempts to ‘paper over’ this very mismatch. One way of approaching this juncture from an anthropological perspective, I suggest, is to build an ‘ecological’ approach that explores interactions in a ‘complex system’ of mobility control. Complex systems analysis may help bridge historical and empirical scales, reaching an ethnographically grounded account of today’s perennial ‘mobility crises’ that joins up the microphysics of mobility with meso/macro structures and longer historical shifts. In the same vein, an ecological perspective may also allow for analytically treating what are often seen as separate ‘mobility problematics’ within the same frame, from the heavily patrolled European borderlands to the control of air travel and the perennial refugee encampments outside the West.

Ruben Andersson is an anthropologist at the Civil Society and Human Security Research Unit, London School of Economics and Political Science, and the author of Illegality, Inc.: Clandestine migration and the business of bordering Europe (University of California Press, 2014).

This event is part of the Borders, Citizenship & Mobility workshop, co-organised by RCIR and the Department of Geography, King’s College London