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PIIRS Conferences and Workshops

PIIRS provides funding and administrative support for conferences and workshops in international studies that are organized by Princeton faculty and held on the Princeton campus. The PIIRS Conference Fund  will provide up to $15,000 toward the projected costs of PIIRS-sponsored conferences and workshops, as well as staff support for conference organizers. The PIIRS director also provides smaller sums (in the range of $1,000-$5,000) to faculty as a conference cosponsor. There is no restriction on subject matter as long as the meeting engages international studies (specifically, the human dimensions of issues in global, comparative or regional perspective). PIIRS does not fund meetings simply because they involve participants from abroad.

The following are PIIRS-supported conferences scheduled for this year or supported by PIIRS in the recent past.

FALL 2014

SEPTEMBER 12-13, 2014

Workshop - Participants in Globalization and the Social Sciences
Sep. 12 (300 Wallace Hall) | Sep. 13 (219 Aaron Burr Hall)

Directors: Jeremy Adelman, Princeton; Olivier Bouin, Fondation Maison des Sciences de l'Homme-Paris; Michel Wieworka, Fondation Maison des Sciences de l'Homme-Paris

How have global processes and global histories shaped the social sciences? While social scientists have thought a great deal about globalization, few how asked how the scales and depth of interdependence between societies have shaped the models and techniques – the cognitive styles – of the social sciences. This symposium aims to discuss the past, present and future of the social sciences from an international perspective. With hubs in Princeton and the Fondation Maison des Sciences de l'Homme-Paris, we plan to explore how new global scales remap disciplinary inquiry. This event will likely evolve into a working group and yield an anthology of future-oriented essays that chart alternative pathways for social science research.

View Program.

Co-sponsored by PIIRS and the University Center for Human Values.


FEBRUARY 7, 2014

"Workshop on India's Maoist Insurgency" 
216 Aaron Burr Hall

Director: Jacob Shapiro, Assistant Professor of Politics and International Affairs, WWS; Oliver Vanden Eynde, Visiting Associate Research Scholar, WWS

India's Maoist conflict has claimed more than 6,000 lives over the last 6 years. It has been coined the “the single biggest internal security challenge ever faced by our country” by the Indian Prime Minister Manhoman Singh. While the conflict has long escaped domestic and international attention, a number of recent, high-profile attacks by Maoist rebels have brought the challenge of resolving India’s Maoist conflict to the center of the public debate. Still, there is no clear-cut answer to the key questions that surround the conflict: What are the root causes of the Naxalite movement? Which development outcomes and economic sectors should be targeted to reduce violence and address grievances driving both active and passive supporters of the insurgents? What is the economic logic of the conflict? And, how do the state's development efforts interact with its security operations?  This meeting will bring together scholars who work on the Naxalite movement and civil conflict in India to provide an opportunity for the participants to exchange insights about the conflict, obtain feedback on current research projects and discuss priorities for future academic work on the topic. 

March 2, 2014

Symposium poster

"The Modern Spirit of Asia: A PIIRS Symposium on Peter van der Veer’s The Spiritual and the Secular in China and India" 
1:30-6 p.m.

219 Aaron Burr Hall

Director: Stephen F. Teiser,  D. T. Suzuki Professor in Buddhist Studies, professor of religion, and director of the Program in East Asian Studies

The symposium assesses Peter van der Veer’s new book on religion and nationalism in Asia, The Modern Spirit of Asia: The Spiritual and the Secular in China and India (Princeton University Press, 2013), from different disciplinary perspectives. It begins with an address by van der Veer, director of the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity, Göttingen, followed by responses from Richard Madsen, Distinguished Professor of Sociology, University of California, San Diego; Joseph Ananda Josephson, chair and associate professor of religion, Williams College; Saskia Sassen, Robert S. Lynd Professor of Sociology, Columbia University; and a roundtable discussion.The symposium is free and open to the public.

Co-sponsored by PIIRS, the Program in East Asian Studies Program, the  Program in South Asian Studies, the Department of Religion, and the Center for the Study of Religion.

APRIL 26-27, 2014

Conference poster

"The Mediterranean City and Its Rulers: A Comparison of Byzantium, Islam, and Western Christendom in the High Middle Ages"
216 Aaron Burr Hall

Director: Teresa Shawcross, Assistant Professor of History

The High Middle Ages were a period of profound transformation for the Christian cities of the central and western Mediterranean. However, it has generally been thought that the urban centers of the Islamic and Byzantine worlds to the south and east did not share in the same economic, political, and cultural developments. Most interregional studies carried out so far have promoted this understanding of the period by considering the "classic example" of the cities of northern Italy solely in the context of the situation on the other side of the Alps. Otherwise, attention has tended to be focused on specific polities within each of the three Mediterranean macro-regions, to the neglect of the picture across macro-regions. There has been no in-depth comparison of how cities were ruled in the various lands encircling the Great Sea, despite the existence of a strong common Roman heritage, as well as evidence for extensive interaction through long-distance trade, pilgrimage, diplomacy, and warfare. This conference will begin to undertake such an analysis, highlighting similarities and differences in governmental institutions, civic identity, and revolutionary activity throughout the Mediterranean.  The event is intended as a pilot establishing a network of scholars. The next meeting will be held at the University of Edinburgh in 2015 and is being organized by Dr. Gianluca Raccagni, Chancellor's Fellow in History.

View Agenda and Abstacts>>

MAY 16-17, 2014

Making and Justifying Territorial Claims poster
Making and Justifying Territorial Claims
216 Aaron Burr Hall

Director: David Carter, Assistant Professor of Politics, and Anna Stilz, Associate Professor of Politics

A massive empirical literature explores how territorial claims affect states’ international relations as well as the organization of their internal politics. However, only recently has this research begun to theorize the basis of territorial claims and the related question of why a state makes one particular claim rather than the infinite set of alternative possible claims.  What gives the state a right to certain geographical boundaries, and how far do the state’s territorial claims extend? Existing states make a number of territorial claims. First, they claim exclusive jurisdiction over their territory: the right to make and enforce law within their borders. Positive theorists tend to assume states have exclusive jurisdiction over uncontested territory, while normative theorists have only recently begun to work on the justification of spatial jurisdiction. Second, states generally claim resource rights in their territory: the right to regulate the use and extraction of oil, minerals, and other valuable natural resources found there, and to profit from their sale. Finally, they claim the right to control borders and to regulate the movement of people and goods across their territory. This conference will bring together empirically-oriented political scientists, political theorists, and international lawyers to consider the topic from perspectives that are informed by both normative and positive theory, and also by international legal doctrine and practice. The goall is to advance the agenda on this topic by connecting scholars with diverse methodologies and approaches who can learn from one another’s work. It will also be an opportunity for graduate students working on related topics to engage with top scholars. 

FALL 2013

September 20-22, 2013

“The Mashriq in the Age of Late Imperialism: The Mandate in Perspective"
Emergence of Risk in the Global System”
Director: Cyrus Schayegh, Assistant Professor, Near Eastern Studies
Two-thousand fourteen will mark the 100th anniversary of the beginning of the First World War. Far from simply the European conflict of common perception, this was a truly global conflagration, whose effects were felt throughout the world. Perhaps among the most significant of these was the transformation of the Middle East in the long wake of the war, as Britain and France redrew the map of the region and initiated changes in government and economy the effects of which continue to reverberate in the present age of revolution and civil strife. The last decade has seen a flurry of pathbreaking research on the Mandatory Middle East that has increasingly sought to link the region to broader trends in world history. This conference brings together leading scholars of the Middle East, and experts in international, transnational, and global history to take stock of recent developments, suggest new fields of inquiry, and help bring the study of Middle Eastern history into conversation with other fields.

October 3, 2013

Workshop poster

“Fortunately, There Were Rebels: A Workshop on Constituent Assembly Debates”
Director: Rahul Sagar, Assistant Professor of Politics

Between 1946 –  49 the Constituent Assembly of India drafted the Constitution of India. The proceedings of the assembly, B. R. Ambedkar observed, “would have been very dull if all members had yielded to the rule of party discipline. Fortunately, there were rebels.” Who were these rebels? What political positions did they represent and what intellectual currents did they owe their ideas to? And how were their challenges rebutted? This workshop seeks to examine these and other. Its objective is to recover voices, positions, ideas, and claims that have been forgotten, transformed, or obscured by the passage of time.

Participation by invitation only.

Co-sponsored with the Program in Law and Public Affairs and the University Center for Human Values.

November 1-3, 2013

“Semaphores and Surfaces: Reading the New African Cinemas”
Director: Wendy Belcher, Assistant Professor of Comparative Literature and African American Studies, and Robert K. Root University Preceptor

African cinema, and its study, is experiencing a florescence. Not only is the continent producing as many films as Hollywood and Bollywood, but African films and filmmakers are regularly winning international awards and African film festivals are springing up in many countries. Nevertheless, due to the general underfunding of African humanities research, scholars in the field have few opportunities to gather to discuss the state of the field or to theorize new ways forward. This conference gathers twelve of the leading African film studies scholars to identify new approaches in scholarship and teaching, using an emerging humanities conference format that is based on advance readings by participants and discussion rather than paper presentations.

November 8-9, 2013

“Owned by China: Economic, Political, and Security Risks and Opportunities of Chinese Direct Investment in the World”
Director: Sophie Meunier, Research Scholar, Woodrow Wilson School

From “Made in China,” the globalized world economy is now turning to the phase of “Owned by China.” Chinese foreign direct investment (FDI) has exploded over the past decade, first in resource-rich developing economies, then in resource-rich developed economies, and now in technology-rich developed economies. Reactions to the novelty and scale of this investment have been quite different between host countries and even within host countries. For some, Chinese FDI represents welcome opportunities and an influx of capital to be encouraged. For others, Chinese FDI is fraught with risks: economic risks (such as technology stealing, “asset stripping,” and “barrier jumping”); security risks (such as technology transfers and strategic investment by state-owned companies); and political risks (such as implicit conditionality regarding foreign and domestic policies). This workshop will gather a group of scholars who work on these issues in different regions, including North America, South America, Europe, Africa, Asia and Oceania, and in different disciplines (political science, economics, business, law, and private sector) in order to explore the theoretical and practical questions raised by this new phenomenon and its potential implications.


November 21-23, 2013

“The Itinerant Languages of Photography”
Directors: Eduardo Cadava, Professor of English, and Gabriela Nouzeilles, Professor of Spanish and Portuguese Languages and Cultures and Chair, Department of Spanish and Portuguese Languages

This symposium, organized by Eduardo Cadava and Gabriela Nouzeilles in conjunction with an exhibition at the Princeton University Art Museum of the same title, will bring together scholars, curators, artists, and photographers from around the world to think about the various means whereby photographs not only “speak” but also move across historical periods, national borders, and different mediums. The symposium will open with a keynote lecture by the Catalan photographer Joan Fontcuberta on November 21, 2013, at 6 p.m. in McCormick 101, which will be followed by a reception in the Art Museum from 7:30 – 9 p.m. It will continue the next two days; speakers include Ariella Azoulay, Geoffrey Batchen, David Ferris, Marcelo Brodsky, Eduardo Gil, Christopher Pinney, and Salvatore Puglia, among others. The symposium is cosponsored with the Department of English, the Department of Spanish and Portuguese Languages and Cultures, and the Program in Latin American Studies.


Deadlines for Proposals

September 30
January 17
April 15


MAY 16-17, 2014

Conference poster

"Making and Justifying Territorial Claims "
216 Aaron Burr Hall