Call for papers 41st GKS Conference 'Political Orders' (Feb. 14th, 2020)

41st Annual Conference of the Association for Canadian Studies in German Speaking Countries (GKS)

Call for Papers:

“Political Orders”

February 14 to 16, 2020 in Grainau, Germany

The Association for Canadian Studies in German-speaking Countries aims to increase and disseminate a scholarly understanding of Canada. Its work is facilitated primarily through seven disciplinary sections, but it is decidedly multidisciplinary in outlook and seeks to explore avenues and topics of, and through transdisciplinary exchange. For its 2020 annual conference, the Association thus invites papers from any discipline that speak to the conference theme ofPolitical Orders” with a Canadian or comparative focus. (Papers may be presented in English, French or German.)

The 41st annual conference will focus on the causes, nature, and consequences of key transformative periods and central patterns in Canadian political development(s). By concentrating on the concept of ‘political orders,’ the idea is to synthesize different research traditions (culture, institutions, ideas, and agency) and disciplines into a coherent understanding of political development(s) in Canada. Political orders will be understood as a coalition of governing state institutions, non-state economic, social, and cultural actors that are bound together by broadly similar or competing ideas of goals, rules, roles and boundaries. If we try to track the rise and fall of distinct political orders and their contestations, we have to look at specific and competing mutually supportive bundles of ideas, actors, and institutions that build the core of a political order. The concept of political order must invariably be plural: understood not as one political order but an intercurrence of multiple orders across time and space.  

Papers may address a whole range of topics, in the following specific areas and dimensions:

1.      Citizenship and Belonging: In this first area, mechanisms of inclusion and exclusion may be addressed. The meaning of what citizenship entails is multilayered and has changed over time in Canada. How is citizenship connected to cultural identity? What kind of status and rights are granted with citizenship? What competing concepts of citizenship have been debated? How is citizenship related to the idea of human rights? Papers may also focus on immigration and integration. Questions that address ideas and policies of how to integrate newcomers, immigrants, and Indigenous people into the Canadian society are of interest here. Those concepts have constantly changed over time from assimilation to integration, accommodation and recognition to multi- (Canada) and interculturalism (Québec).

2.      Ideas and Concepts of Political Orders: Political orders and developments are embedded in sets of central ideas and concepts of how societies are structured and organized. The initial idea of Anglo-dominance in Canada has been strongly challenged by internal nations and nationalisms – First Nations and Quebecers – and by the contestations among and between Catholics and Protestants, English and French, white and Aboriginal, and Black and Asian Canadians, among others. This complex interplay of different interests and identities has constantly challenged the idea of the Canadian nation and its meaning. Specific groups and their claims for recognition may be analyzed here as well in terms of how these groups address state policies that fostered specific ideas of what it means to be Canadian. This moves us away from discussions of specific state policies on recognition toward a broad conception in which other types of state practices and policies beyond multiculturalism or cultural policy are viewed as part and parcel of the political processes that produce, reinforce, or mitigate unequal social, economic, and political relationships, thereby connecting cultural recognition to specific historical, material, and institutional contexts.

3.      Developments and Institutional Change: Political orders are shaped, maintained, and changed over time by political, societal, and economic actors and at the same time stabilized by specific institutional arrangements and interest-based actor-coalitions. Forces of change and stability include dominant and constantly changing cleavage-structures in Canada. These relate to forms of Regionalism, Federalism, and specific nation- and state-building processes. Conflicts in societies are grouped around specific cleavages (gender; capital and labour; French and Anglo; church and state; urban and rural; and center and periphery; settler and Aboriginal people; First Nations and immigrants) that on the one side build up stable patterns of interest representation, but on the other side change massively over time. In some cases, those cleavages build the foundation of the party system and they might be reflected in and structured by specific forms of regional or federal interest accommodation, as well as specific patterns of state and nation-building processes.


Contact and abstract submission:
Paper proposals/abstracts of max. 500 words should outline:

·         methodology and theoretical approaches chosen

·         content/body of research

·         which of the three main aspects outlined above the paper speaks to (if any).

In addition, some short biographical information (max. 250 words) should be provided, specifying current institutional affiliation and position as well as research background with regard to the conference topic and/or three main aspects.

Abstracts by established scholars should be submitted no later than May 31, 2019 to the GKS at:

Abstracts by emerging scholars should be submitted no later than May 31, 2019 directly to the Emerging Scholars Forum: