UQ International Relations Theory Forum

UQ

International Relations

THEORY FORUM

‘Because ideas matter’

 

This November the School of Political Science and International Studies (POLSIS) at the University of Queensland will launch a major new initiative to build a network of outstanding young Australian and New Zealand IR theorists. Highly innovative theoretical ideas are being pioneered by emerging junior theorists, and the Theory Forum will enable them to connect with each other, air their evolving ideas, and get support and feedback from leading scholars in the field.

The central theme of this year’s Theory Forum is ‘Wrestling with Concepts’. All theory relies on concepts as basic building blocks, but concepts can also be a theorist’s curse: they are often heavily contested, and there is no way to ‘prove’ concepts empirically. So how can theorists deal with this indeterminacy and move forward to construct compelling theoretical arguments?

This year’s Theory Forum will be held at the University of Queensland on 23-24 November 2017. In addition to leading theorists from UQ, Professor Robyn Eckersley (University of Melbourne) and Professor Colin Wight (University of Sydney) will join the Forum as distinguished theorists, providing feedback and mentoring.

The Theory Forum will involve 20 junior theorists, and is open to all IR students currently enrolled in doctoral programs in Australia and New Zealand. Students can be working in all areas of IR theory, and need not be writing purely theoretical theses. The Theory Forum is also open to students who are developing innovative theoretical arguments in otherwise empirical theses. The main thing is that participants must be working on such an argument, and be willing to present their ideas at the Forum.

The Theory Forum will be organized around formal student presentations, seeding discussion and debate among participants, junior and senior. The aim is to provide an affirming and constructive environment for the development of new ideas and the building of on-going intellectual relationships. Accepted participants will be asked to provide in advance of the Forum a five page memo outlining their nascent theoretical argument and drawing out the conceptual challenges they are wrestling with.

We are pleased to offer 12 bursaries to support students attending the Theory Forum. Eight bursaries are reserved for doctoral students, and four for outstanding honours or master students who are doing interesting theoretical work and who hope to go on to doctoral studies. The bursaries are worth up to $500 each, reimbursed on the basis of receipts for travel and/or accommodation.

Applications to attend the Theory Forum should be submitted by 1 October 2017 to polsis.theoryforum@uq.edu.au.

Applications should include:

  • Your current CV
  • A one-page abstract of your thesis, which should include:
    • Thesis title.
    • How far you are into your PHD studies.
    • The questions animating your thesis, and a summary of the theoretical argument you are developing.
    • The theoretical resources you are drawing on.
    • And for this year’s theme, the concepts are you currently wrestling with.
    • And, if you are a UQ applicant, if your application to present is unsuccessful, would you like to be a discussant?

We look forward to receiving your applications. If you have any questions, contact us at c.reussmit@uq.edu.au or jacinta.ohagan@uq.edu.au.

Associate Professor Jacinta O’Hagan

& Professor Chris Reus-Smit

Convenors