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Neighborhoods and Regionalisms: Shifting Borderlines of Inclusion and Exclusion in Central Asia

Date: April 4-5, 2019

Deadline for proposals: February 15, 2019

Place: Dushanbe, Tajikistan

Workshop announcement

This workshop will be co-organized by the World International Studies Committee (WISC) in cooperation with the Johan Skytte Institute of Political Studies at University of Tartu. It intends to give an analytical perspective on the dynamics of different types, forms and modalities of regionalism unfolding in Central Asia where local agency intersects with policies of major power holders. These cooperative and conflictual encounters can be conceptualized as a series of neighborhoods that differently link and relate major actors – China, Russia, Turkey, and Iran - to each other and thus shape these interconnections as areas of inclusion and exclusion, bordering and debordering, securitization and desecuritization.

The workshop plot draws upon a rich legacy of studies in region-(un)making that became one of the buzz words after the end of the Cold War, with the EU being widely considered as a pioneer and a locomotive of regional integration in those spaces where EU-centered normative order could be projected. However, in recent years a new set of questions is being raised: how feasible might be alternative regional projects beyond the West? How important regional dimensions could be for a “post-liberal” and apparently “multi-order” world? Can illiberal political regimes develop their own visions and conceptualizations of regionalism and policies of neighborhood?

Against the backdrop of these main questions, the organizing team wishes to focus on the following landmarks:

  • to discuss the variety of regionalisms and neighborhoods in the light of the most recent trends in – and factors of - major actors’ international policies (authoritarian devolution in Turkey and Russia, new economic projects launched by China, different conceptualizations of Eurasianism, etc.);
  • to unpack the logic behind the ‘old’ and ‘new’ (emerging) models /forms of regionalism developing at the intersections / meeting points of major actors’ zones of interest and influence;
  • to look at these regionalisms and neighborhoods as phenomena of their own, capable of fostering political changes beyond the West, and in particular in the “global South”.

Thus, the structure of the workshop will reflect the basic points we seek to elucidate and understand:

  • What Central Asia can tell us about the post-liberal international order and its prospects?
  • What are the major factors of change in the region in course of the post-Cold
  • War decades, how predictable / unpredictable they were?
  • How Central Asia might fit in a new type of international order viewed through post-liberal lens?
  • Are regional actors to adapt to the dominant structures of power, or to generate / amplify the post-liberal momentum?
  • How the concepts of regionalism and regionalization can be applied toward China’s economic policies and projects in this region?
  • Can Central Asia be considered as a meeting point for regionalist strategies developed by external powers?
  • And, in a wider sense, how can we look at some other regions (in particular, the Mediterranean, North Africa, the Middle East and the Black Sea area) from a post-liberal perspective, and how the securitization momentum can be related to post-liberalism?

Since these questions are explicitly multi-disciplinary in their conceptual underpinnings, we are eager to bring together a team of contributors coming from various academic backgrounds – comparative politics, foreign policy analysis, international political economy, and cultural studies and sociology. This combination of variegated approaches might be instrumental in uncovering different sides and angles of regionalism and spatiality in Central Asia and beyond, and thus giving more multidimensional vistas to all participants. The workshop will serve as a key point in the process of publishing a special issue in a well reputed peer-reviewed international journal, or an edited volume with one of the leading global publishers.

Contact:
Prof. Andrey Makarychev, Tartu Ülikool
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Tags: Neighborhoods, Regionalisms, Borderlines, Inclusion, Exclusion, Central Asia, Dushanbe, Tajikistan