2022 ESIL Research Forum, Glasgow 31 March – 1 April 2022
Call for Papers

International Law and Global Security: Regulating an Illusion?


The 2022 ESIL Research Forum will take place on 31st March-1st April 2022 and will be hosted by the Glasgow Centre for International Law and Security (GCILS) at the University of Glasgow.

The ESIL Research Forum is a scholarly conference that promotes engagement with research in progress by members of the Society. It has a small and intensive format. The Forum targets scholars at an early stage of their careers. Approximately 20-25 paper submissions will be selected. During the Forum, selected speakers will receive comments on their presentations from members of the ESIL Board and invited experts.

ESIL Research Fora are aimed at early career researchers to ensure ECRs have an opportunity to present and discuss their work every year at a dedicated ESIL conference’.  As a guideline, we understand this to include candidates for a PhD or other postgraduate degree; or researchers within 3 years of their doctoral defence.  In applying this guideline, we will not be technical, but take into account career breaks, time spent outside academia and other relevant circumstances on a case-by-case basis. If these circumstances might apply to you, please indicate so when submitting your abstract. If you are unsure whether you qualify, please do not hesitate to be in touch with us at esilforum2022@glasgow.ac.uk .


The 2022 Research Forum addresses the topic:
“International Law and Global Security: Regulating an Illusion?”

Global Security is one of the major themes of international law in the 21st century. While traditional security concerns such as armed conflict and the risk of nuclear confrontation continue to present challenges for international law, the ‘security dimension’ of various other challenges is increasingly appreciated. Issues such as social inequality, climate change, displacement and pandemics are now often viewed through the security lens, making the contemporary global security order look more complex than ever before. At the same time, the ‘securitization’ of ever broader fields of international relations is met with skepticism and concern.

Both the sources and consequences of the challenges facing the global security order have become ever more interdependent. As UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres pointed out at his speech delivered to the World Economic Forum in Davos in 2019: “[…] we are in a world in which global challenges are more and more integrated, and the responses are more and more fragmented, and if this is not reversed, it’s a recipe for disaster.” There is a widespread sense that global security policies and institutions are failing to create sustainable security conditions and are increasingly unable to keep pace with the changing global security environment in the 21st century.

Against this backdrop, the Glasgow ESIL Research Forum will seek to explore (i) the role(s) and function(s) of international law in maintaining and promoting global security in a volatile global security environment; and (ii) the transformative effects and practical manifestations of contemporary global security dynamics on international law. This will include inquiries into trends that are shaping the global security order such as the transnationalization of security, global power transitions and dysfunctional power relations, as well as the challenges resulting from technological innovation, growing social inequality and climate change.

Through a mix of invited keynote speakers and a call for papers we hope to be able to bring together a wide range of different approaches to global security law. Above all, we are hoping to attract new and different thinking about the recalibration of contemporary approaches to global security law.

The Organisers of the 2022 ESIL Research Forum invite the submission of papers on aspects of ‘International Law and Global Security’, including on the following themes:

  1. The role and relevance of public international law in global security discourse
  2. The concept of security in international law; critical approaches to security; and the promise and perils of securitization
  3. Actors shaping global security law (states, non-state actors, IOs, NGOs) at the global, regional and local levels)
  4. Territorial and resource disputes and their impact on global security
  5. The human dimension of global security law and the impact (if any) of human rights on global security
  6. Law-making in the field of global security
  7. Environmental security
  8. Security and new technologies
  9. Economic and financial security
  10. International institutions (including courts and tribunals) as guardians of global security?

To apply, please submit an abstract of not more than 750 words to esilforum2022@glasgow.ac.uk by Thursday, 30 September 2021. Please include the following information with your abstract: your name, affiliation, email address, whether you are an ESIL member, plus a one-page curriculum vitae. Successful applicants will be notified by email by 22 November 2021.

The organisers particularly encourage applications from any under-represented groups within ESIL. In selecting abstracts, relevant factors will include the academic merit of the individual abstract and its fit with the theme of the Research Forum. The final decision will also be guided by our commitment to diversity and inclusion; candidates who identify with under-represented groups within the Society are encouraged to apply.

Complete paper drafts (8,000-10,000 words, in your chosen formatting) will be required by Friday, 11 February 2022. Papers may in due course be published in the ESIL Conference Paper Series.

The organisers are proceeding on the assumption that the 2022 Research Forum will be held in Glasgow as an ‘in person’ event. This assumption will be revisited in light of future developments relating to the Covid19 pandemic, and participants will be kept informed.

Speakers whose abstracts have been selected will be expected to attend the Research Forum in Glasgow. They will be expected to bear the costs of their own travel and accommodation. Some ESIL travel grants will be available to offer partial financial support to speakers who have exhausted other potential sources of funding. Further information on financial support will be distributed to speakers in due course. All those who take part in the Forum are expected to be ESIL members at the time of their participation.

Speakers will also be informed of several hotels that offer preferential rates to Research Forum participants. Lunch on both days will be provided, and a dinner for presenters, commentators and ESIL Board members will be hosted on the evening of 31 March 2022.