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The Sea and International Relations

image of the speakers
Thursday, April 13, 2023, 3:30 pm – 5:00 pm

                                                 this event is co-organized with Webster Vienna Private University

The sea and International Relations opens up the conversation about the sea in International Relations (IR), and probes the value of analysing the sea in IR terms. While the world’s oceans cover more than 70 percent of its surface, the sea has largely vanished as an object of enquiry in IR, being treated either as a corollary of land or as time. Yet, the sea is the quintessential international space, and its importance to global politics has become all the more obvious in recent years. Drawing on interdisciplinary insights from IR, historical sociology, blue humanities and critical ocean studies, The sea and International Relations breaks with this trend of oceanic amnesia, and kickstarts a theoretical, conceptual and empirical discussion about the sea and IR, offering novel takes on the spatiality of world politics by highlighting theoretical puzzles, analysing broad historical perspectives and addressing contemporary challenges. In bringing the sea back into IR, The sea and International Relations reconceptualises the canvas of IR to include the oceans not only as travel time, but as a social, political, economic and military space which affects the workings of world politics. As such, The sea and International Relations emphasises the pressing need to think of the world with the sea rather than ignoring it in order to address not only the ecological fate of the globe, but changing forms of international order.

Halvard Leira is Research Professor at the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs (NUPI). He has been one of the key figures in the establishment of the subfield of Historical International Relations, and his research has covered diplomacy, foreign policy, conceptual history, international thought and international order. He has published extensively, both in English and Norwegian, in journals such as International Studies Quarterly, Review of International Studies, Cooperation and Conflict and Millennium, and held a number of international scientific positions of trust (e.g. being programme chair of the 2018 EISA Pan-European Conference). He has been PI of three major research projects financed by the Research Council of Norway over the last decade, most recently the ongoing (2019-24) A Conceptual History of International Relations. Leira is currently associate editor of both the Hague Journal of Diplomacy and European Journal of International Relations.

Benjamin de Carvalho is Research Professor at the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs (NUPI) in Oslo. He holds his Ph.D. from the University of Cambridge and has also studied at the New School for Social Research (New York) and the University of Oslo. His main work is in the intersection between history, sociology and IR, and he has focused on questions of state formation, nationalism, religion and sovereignty. He has also published on status in international relations, as well as peacebuilding and peacekeeping. Recent publications include The Routledge Handbook of Historical International Relations (co-edited with Leira and Costa Lopez) and The Sea and International Relations (co-edited with Leira).


                                                                                     --- Reception to follow ---