University of Guadalajara
October 24-25, 2019


As the United States’ titular position in the international system retreats, questions regarding the value of the post-World War II liberal order have surfaced. In this emerging multipolar world, two distinct constellations of power are forming. One camp is composed of states largely supportive of the current global governance structure; the other finds states wishing to upend or refashion the US-led superstructure. It is a perhaps classic case of status-quo powers inhibiting the rise of upstart powers or, to couch it the opposite, states wishing to extend their writ of power and associated international structures rather than cede them to unknown or ill-defined alternatives.

Nowhere is the division between these two constellations more apparent than in the “Indo-Pacific” –a vast, largely maritime region and its littoral states. The Indo-Pacific region and its states are increasingly used by governments and leaders as a central organizing idea around which choices are made about their position in the future global order. Although, as a concept, the Indo-Pacific means, and will mean, different things to different people, the number of nascent state strategies tethered to this neologism indicates the term’s powerful salience. Nowhere is this truer than in the Southern Oceans, stretching from the west coast of Latin America across hundreds of Pacific
island states to Australia and New Zealand and westward from there all the way to the eastern coast of Africa. As strategies are crafted under the banner “Free and Open Indo-Pacific,” in response to the general “threat” of a China-dominated world, large and small states alike are brought into the orbit –or actively associate themselves with– two constellations of power. It is precisely thesegeopolitical shifts, with all the ramifications associated therewith that is the central theme of the proposed conference. More specifically, the political economy of affiliations and alliances across this vast region will be explored with a focus on sharing and reducing costs. Additionally, given the blue water realm at the heart of opposing constellations of power, a particular focus will be paid to maritime governance in a shifting and changing world.

The Centre for North American Studies of the Pacific Studies Department, University of Guadalajara, Mexico, and the Australian and New Zealand Studies Association of North America (ANZSANA) therefore propose hosting a conference on October 24 and 25, 2019 devoted to this dynamic subject and associated topics. Submissions of abstracts for the conference will be solicited from top scholars in the field from across the globe. The research and associated conference presentations will necessary explore this exciting, but admittedly still nascent strategy. While much has been written about the perceived and real competition in Northeast and Southeast Asia between a rising
China and status quo powers such as Japan and the United States, much less attention has been paid the ferment, opportunities and upheavals occurring in the vast geographies further to the south. This proposed conference, therefore, is a first attempt to make sense of what an Indo-Pacific Strategy may mean to the citizens, leaders, strategies and economies of states stretching from eastern Africa across the strategically located islands that dot the Indian and Pacific Oceans as well as the sizeable powers such as New Zealand and the continent-sized state of Australia, onward to Latin America.

Conference presentations will necessarily grapple with how states and polities in these geographies will react and/or take advantage of new external forces, to either consolidate or potentially upturn existing socio-political and geoeconomical orders. For international relations scholars, particularly those focusing on international security, the contested zones of the southern oceans offer particularly rich sources of theory-testing and case studies. Equally, this special conference holds out an exciting offer to scholars who focus on the grand sweep of high politics and balance of power issues or, in the alternative, opt to explore the region and its interplay with Japan, China, Australia,
the US, and India on the micro scale with a focus on civil society, grassroots movements or micro-supply chain case studies.

The following issues/themes/problematics are encouraged, as well as other innovative areas of empirical and conceptual concern proposed by conference presenters:

• Maritime domain awareness
• Maritime foreign policies of small states
• Fisheries management in an Indo-Pacific context
• Exclusive economic zones in an Indo-Pacific context
• Military-to-Military cooperation across two oceans
• Contested spaces lacking hegemons: The Indian and Pacific Oceans
• ASEAN’s role in maritime governance in an Indo-Pacific context
• Power projection across vast space: Linking Australia’s disparate military strategies
• Indian power in the Pacific?
• East African maritime governance in an Indo-Pacific context
• South Pacific economic/political interdependence in an Indo-Pacific context
• Regional institutional arrangements
• Naval convergence
• The US strategy towards the Indo-Pacific
• India and China in the Southern Oceans
• The political economy of port development
• Divergent perspectives on the “Indo-Pacific” in the Southern Oceans as a geopolitical space
• The Southern Indian Ocean in Indian Strategic discourse
• Japan’s perspectives on the Southern Oceans
• Australia’s foreign policy: from Perth west
• BRI and Indo-Pacific in the South Pacific
• France, the UK and the Indo-Pacific Strategy
• The geoeconomics of the Southern Oceans in the context of the Indo-Pacific
• Economic integration in the Southern Oceans
• Eastern African states and the Indo-Pacific
• Global South dynamics and prospects in an Indo-Pacific context in the Southern Oceans

Please submit your abstract of 200 words prior to March 29, 2019. Decisions will be made on the abstracts by April 29, 2019. Notification of the status of each abstract will be sent to all submitting conference presenters. Final conference papers will be due by September 1, 2019.

*Selected conference papers will be submitted in total as an edited book volume.

All proposals will be reviewed by the conference organizers:

Brendon J. Cannon
Assistant Professor of International Security
Institute of International & Civil Security
Department of Humanities and Social Sciences
Khalifa Univerisity of Science & Technology
Abu Dhabi, UAE

Miguel A. Híjar-Chiapa
Associate Professor of International Relations
Centre for North American Studies
Department of Pacific Studies
University of Guadalajara
Guadalajara, Mexico

Are you ready?

Call for Papers