Bridging the Gap Project

2010 ISA Conference Activities


Drawing upon the research agendas developed during the 2009 New Era Foreign Policy Conference, the Bridging the Gap Project organized 4 panels for the 2010 International Studies Association (ISA) annual conference in New Orleans.

The Bridging the Gap Project will be hosting a reception at ISA for conference alumni and other interested parties at the Prince of Wales room on the 2nd floor of the Hilton Riverside at 7pm on Thursday, February 18th.

Panel #1: Wednesday, February 17th, 10:30AM


Power Transition Theory and U.S. Foreign Policy Strategy

In the literature on the origins and explanatory power of norms in the international system, a significant gap exists: scholars discuss how and why norms are created, but do not address how they evolve, wither, and die. This panel aims to begin the process of systematically addressing this literature in two ways. First, using a number of instances of norm devolution and disintegration, the authors explore the different mechanisms (and explanations) by which norms disappear. Examining norms that exist in both domestic and international realms, the panel provides a sense of how these mechanisms operate in different mediums. Second, the authors attempt to build a more comprehensive framework of understanding norm death by reviewing the literature and consciously teasing out the causal mechanisms that have been previously observed. In this way, the panel attempts both inductive theory-building from empirical examples and to establish a more comprehensive understanding of how these mechanisms interrelate.

Chair: Ely Ratner

Discussant: Stephen Walt

 

Panel #2: Wednesday, February 17th, 3:45PM


The Flipside of Norm Development:
Exploring How Norms Evolve, Devolve, and Die in the International System

In the literature on the origins and explanatory power of norms in the international system, a significant gap exists: scholars discuss how and why norms are created, but do not address how they evolve, wither, and die. This panel aims to begin the process of systematically addressing this literature in two ways. First, using a number of instances of norm devolution and disintegration, the authors explore the different mechanisms (and explanations) by which norms disappear. Examining norms that exist in both domestic and international realms, the panel provides a sense of how these mechanisms operate in different mediums. Second, the authors attempt to build a more comprehensive framework of understanding norm death by reviewing the literature and consciously teasing out the causal mechanisms that have been previously observed. In this way, the panel attempts both inductive theory-building from empirical examples and to establish a more comprehensive understanding of how these mechanisms interrelate.

Chair: Steven Weber

Discussant: Naazneen Barma

 

Panel #3: Friday, February 19th, 10:30AM


Non-state Actors and the Threat of Unconventional Weapons

This panel will present different perspectives on the possession and dissemination by non-state actors of nuclear, biological and chemical (NBC) technologies and unconventional weapons. The emergence of this phenomenon represents a challenge both to policymakers and for our understanding of theories of international relations, particularly deterrence. Relevant issues include the effects of private security forces on state-to-state relations, and the effects of WMD proliferation among private actors. Many NBC technologies are developed and disseminated through the private sector, leaving states and international organizations to catch up and determine appropriateness. How do norms emerge not just on biological weapons, but also genetically -modified organisms (GMOs) that impact trade, human security, and health research? Just how significant is the acquisition of NBC capabilities by terrorist groups or private security companies? What does warfare mean in the 21st century when states can attack each other with GMOs, and can states claim to own particular pathogens? What impact do corporations make through the acquisition of unconventional weapons technology? The panel will address these questions and suggest areas that merit particular consideration in both theory and policy.

Chair: David Malet

Discussant: Jim Goldgeier

 

Panel #4: Saturday, February 20th, 10:30AM


Human Capital in International Relations

This panel examines the role of human capital in international relations (IR). What are useful ways to conceptualize the role of human capital in international relations? What does an analysis of human capital tell us about key issue areas in IR: globalization, violent conflict, post-conflict reconstruction and institution building, and economic reform and development? The papers in this panel marshal empirical data from various countries and regions of the world. The panel contributes to an up and coming literature on human capital in IR and offers recommendations for policymakers thinking about human capital programs and policies in their respective countries and issue areas.

Chair: Steven Weber

Discussant: Steven Weber