Call for Papers
Theme: The Boundaries of Belonging
Type: 2020 WPSA Annual Meeting
Institution: Western Political Science Association (WPSA)
Location: Los Angeles, CA (USA)
The Western Political Science Association will host its 2020 annual
meeting at the J.W. Marriott, L.A. Live, in Los Angeles, California.
Belonging, a sense or feeling that you are an important member of a
group, or the lack thereof, is a fundamental component of political
engagement. Attitudes and behavior of politicians and institutions
shape the extent to which individuals and groups feel part of the
larger whole. Unquestionably, the rhetoric and policies of the Trump
administration have exerted pressure on the ways people, groups, and
nations feel about their place in the U.S.; this has also led other
nations to re-examine their relationship with the U.S. government.
Some have argued that while the U.S. president pushes to build a
physical wall to delineate clear boundaries, he is also building a
figurative wall (or series of walls) in society. Others argue that
Trump’s approach provides much-needed clarity about who belongs and
who does not. Division abounds.
While there is nothing new about political disagreement and division
or about defining who does or does not belong, some say the depth and
breadth of this change in our current context is unique. Hate groups
are on the rise, as are voices that are anti-immigrant,
anti-intellectual, and anti-government. These trends are political in
and of themselves, and they have political consequences. At the same
time, these challenges do not appear to be a concern for some who
posit we live in a post-racial society, or that immigration reform
and walls are about the economic health of the nation – not race and
ethnicity. How can we address and reconcile these two different
worldviews in our politics?
Social scientists – political scientists specifically – have made
important contributions to our understanding of political
incorporation and alienation, yet the attention devoted by the field
as a whole remains inadequate, and the subject often receives limited
coverage in undergraduate and graduate curricula. The question of
belonging engages all subfields of our discipline.
We invite proposals that investigate and expand our understanding of
the politics of belonging – why have we seen this question about
belonging rise at this particular time in our collective history? Who
decides who belongs and what are the consequences of those decisions?
What is gained or what might be achieved when the question of
belonging is engaged?
The deadline for submission of paper proposals/program participation
forms will be September 20, 2019.
Please note: All participants in the program are required to
preregister for the 2020 WPSA meeting by December 31, 2019.