Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Copenhagen Workshop CfPs - Trading the World: Routes, Resources, Realignments | 22-23 August

Trading the World:  Routes, Resources, Realignments 

Workshop – 22-23 August 2019 – University of Copenhagen

Convened by: Ravinder Kaur (University of Copenhagen) and Engseng Ho (Duke/NUS) 

The hyper-expansion of trade routes and the relentless "opening up" of continents and oceans, again, is a world-historical event in the early twenty-first century. At the heart of this phenomenon is the seemingly insatiable demand for natural resources driven by a growing world population and a strengthened economic muscle of emerging economies in the old third world. A particularly ambitious iteration of this trend is China's Belt and Road Initiative – the New Silk Road – that has raised both hopes and anxieties across the world. A vast network of actual and projected infrastructure projects, BRI seeks to connect ever-new territories, resources, people with markets, and in the course capitalizing upon surplus financial, material and human resources available in he emerging economies. The move has raised not just geo-political anxieties but also concerns about ecological damage brought about by the unchecked quest for economic growth. To be sure, BRI is the most visible of several large-scale infrastructure development projects across Asia, Africa, and Latin America. Many of these projects are less spectacular, and steered by national governments within national boundaries that seek to make nations competitive as "investment destinations" in the world economy. These projects do not always entail concrete infrastructures of brick and mortar, they also focus on human development programs aimed at creating skilled labor for new economic structures. In short, the push to expand markets in ever-new territories is not just reconfiguring the national societies and ecologies but also the transnational geo-economic axes of influence and strategic power.


We invite scholars and policy experts to address the concrete and the abstract, material and immaterial forms, and the new geographies of the ongoing phenomenon of "opening up" the world for trade. The suggested themes include, but are not limited to, the following

  • New infrastructures of trade and mobility – physical and virtual
  • Commodities and processes of commodification
  • Barriers, choke-points, and limits to trade and mobility
  • Re-alignment of strategic geo-political power and new spheres of influence


Funding: While the call for papers is open to all we especially invite graduate students and postdoctoral scholars to contribute. All selected participants will be offered partial travel funding. Senior scholars and intellectual leaders at the forefront of their field will also be present. This is an interdisciplinary conference and we welcome scholars of all disciplines who study global capitalism in the past or present.

How to Apply: Please send paper abstracts (300 words) addressing one or more themes outlined above. The abstracts should be sent to Louis Peinow Pedersen

Deadline: 31st May 2019

The workshop is the final closing event of the Emerging Worlds research program funded by the Danish Council for Independent Research – Humanities. It is located at the University of Copenhagen 

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