Lecturer in European Foreign Policy

09. 1. 2023

Dear colleagues,

We would like to bring your attention to the workshop “Bridging emotions and memory politics: A new angle on European Foreign Policy” that we will be co-chairing in the framework of the 2023 ECPR Joint Sessions and that will be held virtually in April 2023 (25-28 April 2023).

The papers in this workshop will address questions, such as:
• How does the legacy of the past and its emotional governance favour or hinder European foreign policy?
• How do the EU and its member states engage with the politics of memory and emotions vis-à-vis third countries? With what consequences?
• How do the politics of memory and emotions affect the diplomatic action of the EU in multilateral fora, such as the United Nations?
• How does the politics of emotions influence the politics of the memory of colonialism and vice versa in the European context?
• How does the politics of emotions and memory (and their intertwinement) contribute to the reproduction and normalization of European superiority in international relations? And how does it contribute to challenging it?
• How can actors contest and subvert existing emotional and mnemonic international hierarchies, challenging Europe’s dominance in particular?

Please find the detailed call for papers here and below.
Paper proposals (500 words maximum) should be uploaded directly to the ECPR website by January 9, 2023.

We look forward to hearing from you and if you can, please spread the word!

Best wishes,
Emmanuelle Blanc (University of Haifa) & Benedetta Voltolini (King’s College)

This Workshop intends to combine the literatures on the politics of emotions and on the politics of memory to shed light on power relations, hierarchies, and contestation in international politics. Scholars agree that memory of significant past events plays a role in international politics by shaping foreign policy choices, diplomatic relations, and states’ ontological security (e.g., Bachleitner 2021; Subotic 2020). Similarly, the ‘emotional turn’ in IR (e.g., Clément & Sanger, 2018; Hall 2015; Koschut 2020) has demonstrated convincingly that not only emotional responses can shape political processes and outcomes, but that political actors can also use emotions strategically to achieve different political goals. Yet, how memory and emotions are intertwined in shaping foreign policies and diplomatic relations and in affecting power relations, has only recently started to be explored (Subotic and Zarakol 2020; Gustaffson and Hall 2021). The need to focus on the legacy of the past has become more prominent with the invasion of Ukraine, featuring the (mis)uses of the past by Vladimir Putin, and the historical and emotional resonance this attack has triggered across Europe, reviving traumatic past experiences. Moreover, feelings of resentment and injustice are frequently expressed by non-Western countries vis-à-vis the West for its past wrongdoings. Amid tectonic geostrategic shifts, successive crises, and the recrudescence of identity politics, we have entered a turbulent era of contestation. Not only does contestation target existing (liberal) norms, it also challenges the historical roots of the present Western-dominated system and the rights to display memories of past events. This contestation expresses itself in different discursive and material forms, all of which are permeated by emotional facets, from anger to resentment through pride. Against this backdrop, it is no surprise that the EU and its member states are in the eye storm of these forms of politics of memory and emotions, given their past and present role on the international stage. While emotional battles of narratives are being fought within the EU itself, the wider international contestation of historical legacies related to the response to it by the West and the EU, have far-reaching consequences for the EU’s legitimacy and external action. However, scholars of European foreign policy have only recently started to pay attention to these matters (e.g., Pace and Roccu 2020; Klymenko and Siddi 2020; Smith 2021) and, most often, they have treated emotions and memory separately (see Pace and Bilgic 2018 for an exception). Thus, a thorough exploration of the relationship between memory and emotion politics is crucial to fully comprehend and accurately assess the prospects of the EU fulfilling its ambition to be a relevant geopolitical and diplomatic actor in an age of growing contestation. This Workshop intends to bridge the literature on memory and emotions in IR in the study of EU and member states’ foreign policies, thus developing a new angle to understand European foreign policy and the conduct of its diplomacy. It also aims to foster theoretical and methodological diversity in studying this topic.