WILNET Emerging Voices Workshop 2022 Call for Essays

by | Jan 19, 2022 | Uncategorised | 0 comments


Thinking the Unthinkable: Beyond International Law’s Imaginaries

The Women in International Law Network (WILNET) is holding a hybrid Emerging Voices Workshop on 25 & 26 April 2022 in Manchester, UK. The aim of the Workshop is to provide a platform to new voices in the field and showcase the important  research being undertaken that seeks to rethink international legal imaginaries. 

Law is a particularly powerful imaginary and we encourage submissions that unsettle orthodox thinking(/s) about international law, including thinkings that might present themselves as unconventional. Papers may adopt a variety of approaches, from doctrinal, theoretical, critical, empirical to historical perspectives. Applicants are invited to propose new imaginaries and go beyond well-established beliefs, languages, assumptions, or ways of thinking in international law, or else to critically reflect upon this call to think beyond current imaginaries. 

Papers might consider addressing, but are in no way limited to, questions such as: Does international law require a radical re-imagination today and if so, what would this look like? Can international law’s fundamental/basic legal categories make sense of contemporary institutional/ised practices, technocratic regulatory authority, and the deformalised and privatised exercise of power? Why do we persist with principles such as the ‘sovereign equality of states’ when much of the profession acknowledges the uneven distribution of power and resources, and where such principles serve only to hide imbalances? What is the power, if any, in challenging orthodox thinking? How does one go about thinking the unthinkable? Does the state-centricity of orthodox international law virtually secure its eventual decline/insignificance in a de-centred world or are there merits in sticking to formal law-making and state-centric conceptions of international law? What should come after critical scrutiny of orthdox thinking(/s) and is this exercise performative or useful at all to act upon the world? 

Participants will receive substantive tailored feedback on their research from commentators. If the proposal is accepted, participants will be asked to submit a 3,000 essay by 15 April 2022. These will be circulated among the workshop participants in advance to facilitate an in-depth discussion. Further guidance on the essay format will be sent to participants.

There is funding that can be made available to participants to cover local travel and accommodation for those attending in person. When submitting your application, please indicate whether you would be interested in receiving financial support to attend in person. Decisions about funding will be made by 24 February 2022. 

We welcome submissions from anyone who identifies as a woman. We define a ‘new voice’ inclusively, openly, and broadly. It includes anyone who is 5 years post-PhD, but we also take into consideration periods of leave, for example maternity, care, or sick leave.

Key Dates:

  • An abstract of no more than 750 words, together with a small biography of no more than 250 words, should be submitted by 18 February 2022 to wilnet@manchester.ac.uk
  • We will respond to the submissions by 28 February 2022. 
  • The authors of selected essays will be required to submit a 3,000 extended paper by 15 April 2022.
  • The hybrid workshop will be held on the 25 and 26 of April online and in Manchester.

This workshop was made possible thanks to support from the University of Manchester’s School of Social Sciences Small Grants Competition 2021/22.

Organising Committee

  • Dr Işıl Aral (Koç University)
  • Dr Rumyana van Ark (T.M.C. Asser Instituut)
  • Dr Gail Lythgoe (University of Manchester)
  • Dr Rebecca Mignot-Mahdavi (University of Manchester).


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