The increasingly fluid state of global leadership has become a major point of concern in international studies, both in light of seismic developments within several influential countries and growing uncertainty in general regarding how nation-states and international organizations are positioning themselves for the years ahead. The ‘America First’ line taken by United States President Donald Trump has opened up questions about whether the United States is abandoning its role, dating back to the aftermath of the Second World War, as the guarantor and guardian of the liberal international order. The United Nations, with its second consecutive low-profile secretary general, appears to sliding into diminished status and relevance, while the very survival of the European Union – hailed by many, not long ago, as the prototype for regional community building and more cohesive global governance – at times appears in jeopardy. In East Asia, it remains unclear if China’s recent foray into international institution formation will herald the start of a new multilateralism or merely serve as a vehicle for the projection of its own power. Meanwhile, in national political arenas, scandalous revelations, seismic shifts in public opinion and surprises at the ballot box have brought about many abrupt and unexpected leadership changes, from the impeachment of South Korean Park Geun-hye to the hung parliament in the (not yet post-Brexit) United Kingdom.
The ninth annual conference of the Korea International Studies Association will take up all these unsettling factors now weighing on the question of global leadership. How are national governments across Northeast Asia, in particular, responding to the changing dynamics and uncertain prospects for global leadership? Is the United States surrendering its role as keeper of the liberal world order, and if so, what are the accompanying challenges and opportunities, especially here in East Asia? What will it take to bring about more robust and trenchant channels of global governance, especially as the existing arena of international organizations remains in a period of stagnation? How are civil society organizations, advocacy groups, transnational corporations, universities, sports leagues, arts and culture outlets, and, lest we forget, individual citizens all positioning themselves either as venues or as instruments of global leadership, especially in the absence of more decisive global leadership in conventional political arenas? Is global leadership even desirable in the first place, and if so, what kind of global leadership is worth pursuing? We especially welcome papers that engage with these sorts of questions, and as always, we plan to organize panels across a wide range of topics beyond the conference theme.
KISA is the academic association devoted to the study of international affairs in Korea in English. Scholars and students of international studies as well as practitioners in the field of international affairs are invited to the conference.
Paper proposals from professionals and advanced students are invited. Papers that tackle the conference theme are particularly invited, but proposals on other International Studies topics will also be considered very seriously. Student presentations will be grouped together in separate, student-only panels. Please forward proposals to either Matthias Maass (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Hans Schattle (email@example.com). The deadline for proposals is Sunday, October 15.
We look forward to your proposals and your participation at the upcoming KISA convention.