The conference theme for the 2014 ISA West Annual Conference, September 26 & 27 in Pasadena, California, is “Interdisciplinary Approaches to International Studies”, addressing the opportunities and challenges of interdisciplinarity for the study of International Studies (IS) broadly defined. The debates revolving around the relationship among IS, neighboring social science and humanities disciplines as well as natural sciences have undergone remarkable changes over the last two decades. These dialogues reflect broader discussions about the potentials and pitfalls of new interdisciplinary approaches that combine social and natural sciences with the humanities. The goal is to move beyond mere multidisciplinarity, i.e. the investigation of phenomena from multiple discrete disciplinary perspectives, and instead promote interdisciplinarity, i.e. the integration of two or more disciplines, in order to explore ways to cross-fertilize concepts and approaches across disciplines.
A myriad of complexities in our world demand collaboration across disciplines. These challenges include the growing social, political, economic and cultural interconnections between individuals and societies around the planet, as well as the technological and environmental risks and opportunities often associated with “progress”. They have led to intensified calls by academics as well as practitioners and citizens for the development of new and open-ended approaches to the investigation of interdependent and complex problems, which must be dealt with and solved increasingly on the global level.
International Studies (IS) developed explicitly as an interdisciplinary approach to the study of global issues. It was born out of the observation that traditional (i.e. highly specialized) approaches faced increasing difficulty in conceptualizing and understanding transformative processes on the local, regional and global level that are – among other things – often summarized by terms such as “globalization”. These complex and multi-dimensional phenomena continue to require new modes of inquiry that incorporate other disciplines to investigate, understand, and address them.
Join us for discussions on this and more in sunny southern California. Our conference convenes at the Pasadena Westin on September 26 and 27, 2014. Theme-related papers, panels and roundtables are encouraged to assess interdisciplinary research in a focused manner by examining realized and potential contributions from diverse fields. We welcome other proposals as well, especially those that continue the ISA-West’s tradition of engaging gender, human rights, international security and ethics issues in international studies, as well as the challenges posed by synthesizing diverse theoretical and empirical approaches. Our conference continues its collaboration with ISA sections International Ethics and International Communications and welcomes this year the Active Learning in International Affairs section. In addition, this year ISA-West is proud to announce the creation of the Ole Holsti Distinguished Scholar Award, given annually to a scholar who has significantly influenced the ISA West region through an outstanding record of research, teaching and mentorship, as well as service to the International Studies Association West region.
Paper, panel and roundtable proposals are being accepted until the June 7th deadline. ISA-West continues to have paper awards and limited travel grants available to ISA members only. Any questions about the conference should be directed to the conference convener, Carolyn James.