Political Existentialism: A new section on EISA-PEC conference, Athens (1-4 Sept)

Uriel Abulof Announcement
United States
Subject Fields
Humanities, Political Science, Psychology, Social Sciences, Contemporary History

Looking forward to sunny days, I am delighted to invite you to propose papers for a section that I am co-chairing with Bahar Rumelili on Political Existentialism at the EISA-PEC conference (1-4 Sept) in Athens.
Here’s information about the conference, and S14 is our section. It should be a wonderful opportunity to exchange ideas on anything existential(ist) with excellent scholars, so there’s much fun to be had! I think there might also be a possibility for a virtual panel, so if you’re interested, that’s another option. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to email me: ua42@cornell.edu. Deadline is fast appraoching (March 21)!

Best wishes,

S14 Political Existentialism: Fear, Anxiety and Freedom in the face of the Apocalypse

Section Chairs: Bahar Rumelili & Uriel Abulof

A spectre is haunting humanity—the spectre of a global ruin that is very much of our own doing. The mounting dangers that we face are not only existential in scope -meaning threatening humanity’s existence in totality, but also existential in the sense of putting our very humanness at stake.

To help address and redress these existential problems, theoretically and empirically, this section introduces existentialism to political science, and explores its merits and limitations. We broadly define Political Existentialism (PolEx) as the study of politics which foregrounds the distinct features of our humanness, including the existential anxieties that stem from our living in awareness of our mortality and in search of meaning for our existence.

We seek to explore in this section how these distinct features of humanity condition the responses of individuals, groups, and states to lurking dangers, ranging from climate change and pandemics, through AI and nuclear weapons, to populism and overpopulation. We invite panels that theoretically and empirically assess

whether, why and how existentialism may offer a fresh agenda for political science in general, and IR in particular.

We especially welcome contributions that explore the intersection of political existentialism with critical approaches to security in IR, focusing on the evolving constructions of risk, threat, and danger and the multiplying ontological insecurities in the face of growing existential uncertainties. Additionally, we are interested in contributions that draw on political existentialism to identify new grounds of subjectivity and agency which transcend the ideological impasse of liberalism versus populism.

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