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47th Annual ISA Convention - San Diego, CA: 2006

The North-South Divide and International Studies

March 22nd - 25th, 2006
San Diego, CA, USA
Program Chair: Rafael Reuveny, Indiana University

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Call for Proposals

In the second half of the twentieth century, a good proportion of international relations was colored significantly by the East-West cleavage. The Cold War between the Soviet Union and the United States, and their respective allies, generated structural influences that were all-pervasive. Many, if not all, of these influences have now dissipated. Yet there is a good chance that the first half of the twenty-first century will be equally shaped by a North-South cleavage. The gap between North and South is hardly new but it is likely to become more prominent as intra-Northern disputes wane. Many of the processes of current interest to members of ISA – globalization, democratization, nuclear democratic peace, nuclear proliferation, the ascent of China, and terrorism, to name a few – all have strong links to the differential resources, opportunities, and challenges confronted by more affluent and lesser developed parts of the world.

Is the North-South gap receding or becoming more entrenched? What does it take to move from the South to the North? Are parts of the South descending into reinforcing traps of poverty, civil war, and state failures? To what extent is North-South conflict manifested in non-state terrorism? Is the North likely to become increasingly preemptive in its attacks on perceived Southern threats? If so, how is the South likely to fight back? Do North-South antagonisms reflect in some way the celebrated clash of civilizations thesis? Or, are we simply exaggerating the extent to which a new structural cleavage will predominate in coming years and/or how we might best interpret it? These are only some of the questions that are likely to dominate international relations discourse in the decades to come. We invite ISA members to tackle these questions, and others like them, for the San Diego meeting – a particularly propitious site given its location quite close to the U.S.-Mexican border for a consideration of the prospects for North-South conflict and cooperation.

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