Due to the ongoing global health crisis, the second annual Amsterdam Graduate Conference in Political Theory will take place on the planned dates of May 28–29, 2020 in an entirely virtual environment. Please read the welcome address by the organisers, check out the conference schedule, and the conference booklet, and join us for two days devoted to exciting developments at the intersection of political theory and philosophy and economics.
Welcome from the Organisers
Dear Political Theorists,
To begin, we hope that you and your loved ones are in good health and spirits, and that you all are dealing with the present situation we all find ourselves in as best as possible.
While we would have loved to meet you physically in Amsterdam at the start of—what already looks like—a beautiful summer, the present global crisis would unfortunately not allow this. Nonetheless, and albeit in a virtual environment that is necessitated by the aforementioned crisis, we—Akshath, Marina, Sanne, and Stefano—take great pleasure in welcoming you to the second annual Amsterdam Graduate Conference in Political Theory. Over the two days of the conference we hope that we can, in our own limited way, address two issues that the crisis has highlighted for us. First, while thinking seriously about politics has always been important, a crisis is as good a time as any to be reminded of the centrality of politics to our lives. Especially the centrality of thinking carefully, and deeply, about political theory. We hope to do this together over the two days of the conference. Second, even with norms of physical distancing in place, it does not follow that we need to maintain great social distances between us. Indeed, over the two days of the conference we hope that we will get to know each other over discussions about our papers, our more general academic and non-academic interests, and yes, make new friends with fellow graduate students over food and drinks as well.
Finally, we would also like to emphasise our gratitude to each and every one of you for agreeing—at a very short notice—to still be a part of the conference after we made the call to move to a virtual environment. Thank you very much, and here’s hoping that we all have an exciting conference!
Akshath ∙ Marina ∙ Sanne ∙ Stefano
About the Conference
The Amsterdam Graduate Conference in Political Theory is a joint enterprise of Ph.D. students from the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (John Stuart Mill College), and the Universiteit van Amsterdam (Departments of Philosophy and Political Science).
The conference offers graduate students and postdocs the opportunity to present their research in a vibrant intellectual environment and receive feedback from dedicated discussants. Giving participants the opportunity to engage with faculty and students from the Universiteit van Amsterdam, the Vrije Universiteit as well as the keynote speakers. Another explicit aim of the conference is to build a community and a network among those Ph.D. candidates and postdocs interested in interdisciplinary research. The conference therefore aims to create an intellectually stimulating environment in which Ph.D. candidates and postdocs can interact with their peers from around the world who share this interest.
The first edition of the conference—organised by Uğur Aytaç, Gerrit Schaafsma, Lea Klarenbeek, and Alex Thinius—took place on May 23–24, 2019 at the Universiteit van Amsterdam with Simon Caney (Warwick), and Lisa Herzog (TU München) as keynote speakers.
The second edition of the conference—the present edition—was scheduled to take place on May 28–29, 2020 at the John Stuart Mill College, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. Given the global health crisis, and the measures that have been put into place as a response to this, a physical conference could not have taken place as scheduled. We have therefore decided to go ahead with the conference in a virtual environment, with Laura Valentini (KCL), and Karuna Mantena (Columbia) as our keynote speakers.
Professor Valentini's work is situated in the field of contemporary political theory and political philosophy. Her research interests include: global justice, democracy, freedom, human rights, political obligation, the methodology of political theory, and the relation between political theory, social ontology and the social sciences more broadly.
Professor Valentini holds a first degree (“laurea”) in Political Science from Pavia University (Italy), and an M.A. and a Ph.D. in Political Philosophy from University College London. She has been a Junior Research Fellow at The Queen’s College (Oxford University), a postdoc at the Center for Human Values (Princeton University), a Lecturer in Political Philosophy at UCL, and till recently an Associate Professor of Political Science at LSE. She is now Professor of Philosophy, Politics and Economics at KCL.
Professor Karuna Mantena specializes in political theory with research interests in the theory and history of empire, South Asian intellectual history, and postcolonial democracy. Professor Mantena holds a B.Sc. (Economics) in International Relations from the London School of Economics (1995), an M.A. in Ideology and Discourse Analysis from the University of Essex (1996), and a Ph.D. in Government from Harvard University (2004).
Her first book, Alibis of Empire: Henry Maine and the Ends of Liberal Imperialism (2010), analyzed the transformation of nineteenth-century British imperial ideology. She is currently finishing a book on M. K. Gandhi and the politics of nonviolence, tentatively titled Gandhi’s Realism: Means and Ends in Politics. She is also co-director of the International Conference for the Study of Political Thought.