Call for Papers: Prague ICHST2021 Symposia Proposals

We invite paper proposals under the two panels proposed below for ICHST2021. If enough applications are received we will make multiple three/four paper panels under each proposal. Please submit an abstract of 200 words to Dr Sam Robinson at samrobinsonphd [at] gmail [dot] com by the 15th May 2020.

Proposed Panel #1: They Might Be Giants: Lesser Power and Alternative Channel Efforts in Science Diplomacy

The growing literature on science diplomacy is only now beginning to loosen itself from the grip of hegemony-dominated narratives. This symposium proposes to accelerate that process by examining carefully new accounts that focus not on leading nations dominating most accounts, but on actors from smaller countries, nations in geographical ‘peripheries’ and as well as grassroot organizations and outsiders. By doing so, we hope to discover histories that show science diplomacy not only as a tool for flexing hegemonic muscles and maintaining established order, but also one for subverting hierarchies, asserting independence, and building coalitions among other non-superpower or imperial actors. In doing so, this symposium aims to reconsider the structures and outcomes of science diplomacy, emphasising the agency and influence of those actors commonly considered to be on the receiving end or typically overlooked in the conventional portrayal of science diplomacy activities. It also challenges centre-periphery narratives and proposes other configurations in which science diplomacy can be observed, configurations in which international and non-governmental organizations figure as more central actors.

Proposed Panel #2: They Might Be Giants: Histories of Failed Science Diplomacy Initiatives

The growing literature on science diplomacy has tended to return repeatedly to canonical cases of success: for example, the creation of CERN, the management of IGY 1957-58, or, more recently, the series of Malta conferences. However, the history of science diplomacy also includes important examples of initiatives and the goals behind which went unrealized. Just as discredited or abandoned models or theories have proved highly valuable sites of exploration for historians of science examining the processes and dynamics of knowledge creation, so too can failed initiatives provide opportunities to further understand the nature of science diplomacy.

This symposium aims to examine such historical examples of “failure” and cases of “what might have been”, in order to enrich the historical picture of science diplomacy as well as to better inform today’s science diplomacy advocates and practitioners. 


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