Skip to main content

Themed Tracks

A List of Themed Tracks for UACES 2023

Find below a list of themed tracks for the UACES 2023 Annual Conference. To submit your proposal to a themed track, follow the link on the right and select the appropriate track under 'Your Submissions'.

Themed Track List

Click on the titles to find out more about the Themed Tracks available at this year's Annual Conference. There are 10 themed tracks, plus an open track for those whose work does not fit clearly into the track themes.

Open Track

The Open Track welcomes proposals on all aspects of contemporary European Studies from across academic disciplines including (but not limited to) law, economics, geography, history, sociology, public policy and politics. We accept proposals from established academics, practitioners and well-prepared doctoral students. Proposals can take the form of panels, individual papers or 'non-traditional' panels which may be roundtables, workshops or other alternative formats. We will not accept all-male panels.

(En)countering Europe as Global, Othered, and Transperipheral Voices (EUROGLOT)

Our proposed track aims to provide an open yet critical space for scholars working on Europe outside the main disciplinary currents of European Studies, with a particular attention to contributing to current conversations around decentring,[1] decolonising,[2] and diversifying[3] ways of knowing on Europe, including but not limited to the European Union (EU). EUROGLOT asks how we might come to ‘speak’ differently about Europe and its many entanglements in the social and political world.

As such, we welcome submissions from all researchers interested in anti/de/neo/post-colonial, critical, feminist, interpretive, Global East,[4] Global South, non-Eurocentric, intersectional, queer, and other heterodox perspectives on Europe, broadly understood. Gesturing to different disciplinary approaches and ontological and epistemological groundings, we would like to particularly welcome and host panels addressing the methodological implications of these research frameworks and to create a kind of kaleidoscopic epistemic opening where we can dialogue with, and learn from, each other across ‘peripheries’.

Thus, we envision panels and papers on various thematic areas, such as:

1. Europe’s dark legacies: From colonialism to coloniality

Chairs: Tiffany G. Williams, Rahel Weldeab Sebhatu & Antonio Salvador M. Alcazar III

This panel engages with theoretical and empirical contributions on Europe’s (hi)stories of colonialism and the ways in which hierarchical relations of power persist today between Europe as a ‘garden’ and the rest as ‘jungle’ as conjured up in the colonialist euro-imaginaries in Brussels.

2. Critiquing EU policies: Interpretation and (method)ology

Chairs: Szilvia Nagy, Alvaro Oleart & Antonio Salvador M. Alcazar III

This panel foregrounds alternative methodological approaches to (re)searching the policy entanglements of the EU in a world in flux and full of ‘wicked problems’. We are particularly interested in contributions that work with critical-interpretive methods and methodologies in studying distinct EU policies, such as on borders, climate, cultural diplomacy, cyberspace, development, environment, foreign relations, gender, (im)migration, outer space, security, social inclusion, and trade, amongst others.

3. Shifting the subject: Global East and Global South voices in the academy

Chairs: Izabella Wódzka, Szilvia Nagy & Antonio Salvador M. Alcazar III

This panel thinks through the problem of Eurocentrism in the academy by explicitly centring Global East and Global South voices on Europe, not only as researchers self-identifying with these positionalities but also from the perspectives of Europe’s presumed ‘others’ in geopolitically situated sites of struggles both within and beyond Europe.

In the context of Russia’s war against Ukraine and a huge amount of misunderstanding around it, especially by Western/Global North media, thinkers, academics, and general public, it is urgent to ‘de-westernise’ European Studies and centre previously marginalised voices.

In addition, we invite scholars working with indigenous/minority communities within Europe, like the Saami, Greenland’s Inuits, the Basques or Roma and Traveller populations. We also welcome discussions around Madina Tlostanova’s call to forge alliances—academic, cultural, and otherwise—between the Global South and Global East as one of the possible methods for ‘shifting the subject’.

4. EU in the world: actors, networks and tools of foreign policy and diplomacy from a critical perspective

Chairs: Rahel Weldeab Sebhatu & Szilvia Nagy

This panel addresses the EU foreign policy and diplomacy tools from a critical perspective. How does the EU address and approach ‘the other’ countries and regions? Who are the main actors of foreign policy implementation? What is the role of intermediary actors? What are the ‘soft tools’ of EU foreign policy and diplomacy? The panel invites papers to explore the implications of various policy approaches in the wider field of foreign policy, looking for intersections with trade policies, migration policies, security policies and cultural diplomacy among others. The panel equally welcomes theoretical papers as well as case studies.

5. Theorising EU/Europe

Chairs: Jan Orbie & Alvaro Oleart

This panel invites contributions that advance critical theories on how we understand European politics, including decolonial and postcolonial perspectives on EU integration theories.

6. Rethinking the curriculum in European Studies

Chairs: Izabella Wódzka & Jan Orbie

This panel questions dominant curricular thought and praxis in European Studies in the context of the growing ‘globalisation’ of the field. As more and more (im)migrant, racialised, othered, and historically marginalised academics study Europe in and beyond European educational contexts, we welcome contributions that rethink received modes of learning and teaching Europe and how we might concretise critical pedagogies that move away from Eurocentrism and towards other ways of knowing in the academy.

We ask whether knowledge generated in the Global East/South is disseminated and discussed at Global North universities. It might be useful to mobilise concepts such as critical pedagogy and post-critical pedagogy to rethink our attitude to education in general and whether traditional academic taxonomies (European Studies, African Studies, Literary Studies, etc.) still make sense in our globalised and hyperconnected world. Post-critical pedagogy also asks whether we can destabilise the position of educator/teacher as a superior figure of power to students. Similarly, how can we destabilise the assumption that (Western) Europe is superior to the rest and centre of everything—could it be a starting point for rethinking European Studies curricula?

7. Legacies of imperialism in Eurasia

Chairs: Izabella Wódzka & Tiffany G. Williams

This panel looks at the neglected legacies of colonialism and imperialism in the broader region of ‘Eurasia’. In the anglophone, western-centric academia, colonialism is often equated with the Western European colonial projects outside of Europe. However, this optic has omitted the often hidden and entangled ways in which racism, colonialism and imperialism worked, and still do, in Eurasia. Inviting postcolonial, decolonial, Global East, eco-feminist, queer and other anti-hegemonic perspectives, the panel aims to foster an interdisciplinary and transnational debate on the histories of various colonial/imperial projects in Eurasia, their contemporary manifestations, the ways in which we can counter these narratives, and modes of building new coalitions.






Track Convenors: Szilvia Nagy, Antonio Salvadaor M. Alcazar III, Rahel Weldeab Sebhatu, Alvaro Oleart, Tiffany Williams, Jan Orbie, Izabella Wódzka

Europeanization of “non-common” policies in times of polycrisis: from grey areas to sensitive public policies

This track is addressing scholars who are working on EU action in policy areas that have originally not been at the competence of the European Union, but where especially the European Commission has over time extended its influence. Notably, the European Commission also engages in policy areas which remain Member State responsibility through the shaping of policy ideas, through the support of Member State coordination and the nourishing of policy communities at EU level, together with the provision of organisational leadership and the “power of the purse”. These areas for example include policy domains such as education and vocational education and training; culture; gender; pensions; employment; health; digital policy and R&I.

Despite sovereignty concerns and domestic pressures, processes of EU action expansion have been particularly encouraged by aligning sector specific policies with overarching governance objectives since the Lisbon Strategy. At the same time, the various crises the EU has been facing have accelerated joint action and has led Member States either to accept the European Commission as a broker for seeking solutions or to even entrust supranational bodies with the task of crisis resolution. From the 2008 financial crisis, Brexit, migration and asylum crisis, until the more recent Covid-19 crisis, the EU has switched to a status of permanent crisis.

Since governing by objectives is one central mode of European Commission action, this track is guided at uncovering (unintended) European integration processes that unfold gradually and rely on the force of ideas. Moreover, this track is concerned with research on the events and actors that have furthered the involvement of the European Commission in areas that traditionally have been the concern of (sub)national policy making.
Understanding how the current EU polycrisis has affected the role of the EU in non-common policy areas is of paramount importance for capturing what type of EU is emerging and whether this will lead to a deeper integration in policy areas that are the domain of Member States. How have crises influenced processes and outcomes in the Europeanization of non-common policies? Which leading dynamics and actors can be identified? What are the key modes of governance at EU level that can be detected? To what extent is the EU increasing its role in areas whereas there is no legal mandate and with which consequences and implications for the whole EU integration process?

Panels and papers which address these core questions or other related questions from different disciplinary angles (e.g. political science, history, sociology, law, among others) are more than welcome to this themed track. Theoretical and methodological models on how to better capture the topic of Europeanization of non-common policies in times of multiple crises for the EU as well as empirical case studies (single, comparative, and cross-country) are welcome.

Track Convenors: Alina Felder, Marina Cino Pagliarello

'Green' Europe at 50 - tacking stock of the environmental leviathan and its future prospects

2023 marks 50 years since the adoption of the EU's first Environmental Action Programme and the unofficial birth of EU environmental policy. This themed track hopes to bring together, amongst other, political scientists, lawyers, historians, environmental scientists and practitioners to take stock of how far the EU has come in becoming an environmental player and (contested) leader, and what it still needs to do to address the twin climate and biodiversity emergencies.


Environmental studies in and of the EU are thriving – all the while the state of the environment, in and outside Europe keeps deteriorating. This themed track hopes to gather exciting interdisciplinary scholarship on the environmental dimension of European integration.  While it welcomes proposals across this whole area of study, it is particularly interested in the following themes: the European Green Deal and the broader sustainability agenda, thinking environmental issues (especially climate and biodiversity) beyond the EU’s borders, the EU’s role in the respective international processes, and international influences on the EU;  early decades of EU environmental policy and governance, critical engagement with the idea of a Green Europe, assessing the success or failure of EU environmental policy, the changing nature of EU environmental/climate law and policy, politicisation of environmental issues across Europe, polycentric and multi-level governance, challenges to exercising environmental rights in the EU (from the Aarhus convention to EU infringement), methodological and theoretical innovations in studying EU environmental action and how 50 years of EU environmental policy have reshaped the EU. We are particularly keen to foster interdisciplinarity and to fuel, through this themed track, a constructive dialogue between natural and social scientists working on the state of the environment. This themed track will welcome submissions for both traditional and non-traditional panels to fulfill these aims, as well as individual papers. Paper and panel proposals can be for both the face-to-face main conference days in Belfast, or for the online day.

Track Convenor: Viviane Gravey

Health and the EU

Health is an increasingly important aspect of EU governance, policy, and law. The COVID-19 pandemic has shown that the Union can play a pivotal role in health security, pandemic response and preparedness. But the relationship between public/global health and the EU predates this pandemic and is multifaceted

‘Health and the European Union’ is a broad and topical theme concerned both with the EU’s involvement in/impact on health, and how health crises have shaped and are shaping the EU.

We welcome work - from across scholarly disciplines and methodologies - engaged with how the EU shapes health and is shaped by health crises. Some of the kinds of work that we hope to see presented in this track include (but are not limited to):

  • EU governance after/during Covid
  • EU public health law and policy
  • The EU as a global health actor
  • The health implications of EU economic and fiscal governance
  • The health implications of EU trade and/or Single Market (including, for example, in pharmaceuticals, but also in health-harming products such as tobacco)
  • EU institutions, member states, and health
  • Environmental health and the EU

Track Convenors: Eleanor Brooks, Mary Guy, Charlotte Godziewski

Inclusive Growth in 'Real' and 'Virtual' Europe

'Inclusive Growth' has been a buzzword in many European documents from Horizon Europe to some of the recent Directives. Economically, it can spell out further (i.e. wider and deeper) integration with cohesion, directed at less developed regions within the EU. Uneven impacts of COVID recovery, the War in Ukraine (and subsequent shifts in trade and energy politics), and yet-present Brexit, challenge policymakers on both the European and national levels in implementing pre-crises policies. Politically, these socio-economic challenges fuelled many types of antagonisms, spreading votes on the far ends of political spectrum. On top of this, the advancement of information and communication technologies (including blockchain, AI, IoT) opens up new areas of growth, for example, retail investment. The recent incident of GameStop short-squeezing has been characterised as 'democratisation of finance', hence more 'inclusive' in a virtual world.

This track therefore invites panels and papers addressing the new challenges we face in Europe with 'Inclusive Growth' as a guiding concept. While some panels review the evidence in 'real' Europe, other panels analyse how 'virtual' Europe become inclusive. Together, we envision to provide a realm to discuss our 'next step' in both policymaking as well as research agenda-setting.

Track Convenors: Tom Hashimoto, Maik Huettinger

Ireland and the EU: in a changing world

This themed track session proposes to investigate the challenges and opportunities facing the island of Ireland and the EU relationship towards changing regional and global contexts. It will explore - among other aspects - how Brexit alters power and policy dynamics in both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland; global frameworks of defence and security policy, taxation policy, and approaches to climate change within and outside the island. Each of these fields currently present significant challenges for the EU, with Ireland playing an important role in each one of these matters. This themed track will be organised following two contextual settings (the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland) and with four thematic strands (politics, economics, law and sociology). It will also seek to include involvement from key-practitioners (politicians and policymakers) in its events and activities. The track builds on a strong record of Ireland and EU strands across many past UACES conferences, and other events. It also develops and deepens the existing framework of IACES-UACES cooperation.

Track Convenors: Giada Lagana, Michael Holmes, Kathryn Simpson

Small States and European Integration

Small states have attracted ever more attention over the past years. While European studies focused predominantly on the big actors, particularly Germany, France and the United Kingdom, traditionally, the smaller member states have proven to be surprisingly influential in shaping the EU and steering the direction of EU integration. Despite being structurally disadvantaged, small states in the EU have managed to use their power to block (Cyprus, Hungary) and advance (Sweden, Estonia) various policies, often despite strong opposition. As the latest example, the EU's reaction to the Russian invasion of Ukraine in 2022 has been largely driven by smaller member states.

This track aims to discuss the role of smaller member (and not yet member) states in the European integration processes. It will embrace a wide range of disciplinary, theoretical and methodological approaches and welcome contributions on the small states' policies, narratives and strategies, their dealings with the European institutions and larger partners, their domestic contestations of European integration, use of political, economic and legal instruments in searching for their position in Europe and, more generally, efforts to overcome their limited capabilities in European policymaking.

Track Convenor: Tomáš Weiss

The EU as a Value-Driven International Actor

This track aims to discuss the European Union's (EU) external policy, particularly the concept of a value-driven external policy. The guiding questions ask whether the EU is legitimate in this endeavour and what is the most appropriate role for the EU’s international action. Can the EU effectively utilise its value-driven politics to become a "stronger Europe in the world"? This track, therefore, welcomes discussion papers from diverse social science disciplines considering all areas of EU external action (e.g., international trade, sustainable development, security, and ocean governance) and key geographical regions (e.g. Eastern Neighbourhood, MENA, and Indo-Pacific).

Track Convenors: Justine Muller, Tine Deschuytere, Nicholas Ross Smith

The New Mutilateralism versus Democratic Peace? Stability, Sovereignty, Security After Ukraine

The meanings of “multilateralism” are set to change globally and dramatically following Russia’s military incursion in Ukraine in 2022. Though the effects of this foundational change will only be understood properly in hindsight, 18 months after the start of the war, this themed track invites contributions to reflect upon and anticipate the challenges to ideas about societal stability, state sovereignty, responsibility to protect, conflict resolution, and the entanglements of democratisation and economic development in the wider Europe.

The lasting impact of this war on political, economic, infrastructural, societal, and human perceptions of the cost of earlier stability on the European continent is likely to challenge positive perceptions of, especially the EU’s earlier reliance on political economy to promote “liberal democratic values”. Over the past three decades, states’ and the Union’s economic dependency on Russia and China has not been of central concern as long as it allowed the EU to consolidate its role in global affairs. Yet, domestic frictions over the societal compact have been vocalised by domestic populist parties and nativist leadership challenging many common norms that the European states have been building up and upon over decades. The intertwined agendas of economic growth and promotion of liberal democracy sat unchallenged at the heart of Europe’s peace project since the end of WWII; now, Russia and China strive to assert a more, genuinely “multipolar” global politics. Whether this will consolidate their domination over dependent regions in the future depends on the effectiveness of response by the international organisations (the UN, CoE, and the EU among others) to the challenge of core principles of the post WWII world order.

This themed track invites contributions from both EU and non-EU perspectives on: peace and stability, democracy and rule of law, political economy and socio-cultural agendas observed in Europe, broadly conceived after the start of the war in Ukraine. We welcome papers assessing recent adjustments to mechanisms of resolving challenges to state and block security in the multilateral world; constraints on state sovereignty from the global political economy, and the trade-offs between stability and democratisation; identity politics and individualisation in the EU; candidate and neighbouring states, as well as in democratising contexts across the globe. We particularly invite contributions by non-EU scholars, especially from Ukraine, Asia, Africa and the Americas (outside the Global North). Which adjustments have been made by governments since 24 February 2022 to entrench democracy locally, nationally, regionally and globally in response to the new wave of multilateralism?

Track Convenors Timofey Agarin, Yana Volkova


The Rule of Law under scrutiny: Interdisciplinary, Theoretical and Empirical Perspectives

The COVID-19 pandemic and the various government responses that it triggered have brought to the surface key questions about the state of the rule of law in countries across the European Union. Concerns about rule of law protections are certainly not new, as the Union has at times struggled to safeguard sufficient protections for the rule of law in its Member States, in different contexts. This track proposes an analysis of the state of the rule of law today. The track invites contributions from various disciplines and methodologies. Some indicative points of interest include:

--Evaluating the various approaches to the rule of law adopted by various EU institutions and the effect this has on the protection of the rule of law

--Determining whether alternative, broader approaches to the rule of law could contribute to a deeper understanding of the various threats the rule of law faces today

--Examining, focusing on the various COVID-19 restrictions imposed since 2019, how the rule of law survives (or diminishes) in times of emergency

--Comparing analysis and frameworks with other emergency situations, man-made or not, including latest developments on the European continent in times of crises and war.

-- Conceptualizing empirical approaches to the rule of law and the EU rule of law crisis.

--Measuring the rule of law and determining the state of its protection in different European countries.

The Themed Track under the title ‘The Rule of Law under scrutiny: Interdisciplinary, Theoretical and Empirical Perspectives’ welcomes individual and organised papers and proposals for panels in the above tracks and from every discipline (e.g., law, politics, international relations, geography, history, sociology, economics, and statistics). The focus on the interdisciplinary, theoretical and/or empirical nature of the work to be presented is to be understood broadly and forms the core of the proposed theme, which may be addressed at multiple levels. Notwithstanding the above, we would like to provide the following as guidance:

  • In the interdisciplinary perspective, contributions combining the rule of law with other disciplines such as law, politics, social studies and Europeans studies, and/or with manifestations of the rule of law in particular situations (such as the rule of law crisis in Europe and beyond, the Covid-19 pandemic, the Ukrainian war).
  • In the theoretical perspectives, contributions might approach the rule of law by focusing on its proper conceptualisation, or its theoretical connections with other values such as democracy, human rights, freedom, or equality.
  • In the empirical perspectives, more emphasis could be given to the measuring of the rule of law in the wider context, whether this is relevant to the judicial / legal system of countries/IOs, or with the media, democracy, values or other relevant indicators.

Track Convenors: Stéphanie Laulhé Shaelou, Andreas Marcou, Katerina Kalaitzaki, Marc Hertogh, Balazs Fekete

Trade Policy under Pressure? Global challenges and sustainability

International trade is a cornerstone of the liberal multilateral system. The EU in particular has been seen as a key advocate for both the sustainability and the trade agendas. However, the  sustainability of international trade has been questioned concerning both its effects of on sustainability as well as on the durability of trade relations themselves.

Existing EU instruments, like trade and sustainable development (TSD) chapters or the sustainability impact assessments of trade agreements, have been challenged both in regard to their legitimacy as well as effectiveness. Meanwhile,  international  trade is facing an increasingly uncertain context itself. On the domestic level, international trade agreements take place within growing internal skepticism, given the distribution of gains and externalities of trade. Internationally, growing geopolitical tensions, competition, and health questions have fueled debates about relocalizing supply chains.  Against this backdrop the EU is turning to unilateral policy measures on carbon border adjustments (CBAM) or due diligence, attempting to improve the implementation of existing trade commitments, and enforce the application of international trade rules. The Trade Policy Review of 2021 was directly aimed at this. Nonetheless, the implementation of this more assertive trade policy and the confluence of global events and challenges to trade and trade governance raise a number of important questions that this track would seek to address from a variety of methodological and disciplinary approaches, amongst these:

  •  ‘How can we ensure that environmental and social justice aims in trade policy are not sidelined by a more geopolitical trade policy?’
  • ‘Does the ‘weaponisation of interdependence’ spell the practical end of normative power?’
  • ‘To what extent is the implementation of a trade and sustainability agenda in EU trade policy an Eurocentric project, and what roles can countries in the global south play in this?’
  • ‘How effective and legitimate are policy instruments on sustainability?’
  • ‘How does domestic skepticism around trade policies affect the trade-environment nexus?’
  • ‘What are the implications of EU initiatives like CBAM, Due Diligence Regulations or the Deforestation Initiative?’
  • ‘What are the impacts of trade policy measures on sustainability?’

Track Convenors: Harri Kalimo, Maria Garcia, Sangeeta Khorana, Elitsa Garnizova, Simon Happersburger