LSE Joint Sessions on Critical Europe 2024

Call for Papers

The European Institute at LSE is delighted to announce the LSE Joint Sessions on Critical Europe 2024, a postgraduate session of workshops open to PhD candidates and early-career researchers working in Critical European Studies broadly conceived.

encourage submissions that engage with (any part of) 'Europe’ in a broadly critical vein, and invite contributions from PhD candidates and early-career researchers (ECRs).The workshops build on the European Institute’s and LSE’s enduring engagement with questions of Eurocentrism and its potential ‘beyond’. Any work with a critical approach either to the European space broadly conceived, or that seeks to overcome Eurocentric assumptions and methodologies more generally, is welcome.

The conference will be divided into three workshops: “Violence and the politics of memory”, “Neoliberalism and the political economy of precarity”, and “Paternalism and the Politics of Migration.” Applicants are asked to tailor their application to one of these workshops. 


Composed of 11-14 participants each, the workshops provide space for sustained engagement and feedback. To this end, participants are asked to submit research notes of 2,500 - 3,000 words before the workshop which will be circulated no less than two weeks before the session. Attendees are expected to read and comment on one another’s work. During the workshop, each participant will have a chance to present their work for 15 minutes, followed by 30  minutes of exchange with the other attendees. Each workshop will be facilitated by a moderator from the LSE’s European Institute. 

How to submit your proposal

Please submit your application by email to before October, 31st 2023, attaching your abstract (max. 500 words) as a PDF file.

The abstract will outline the research you are planning to present, including your research question, methodology, and (preliminary) conclusions. We encourage the submission of work in progress as well as concluded research projects. Your email should also include the title of your presentation as well as your full name and institutional affiliation.   

Application deadline: 31 October 2023
Applicants informed of submission outcome (including funding application): 7 November 2023
Research note deadline for successful applicants: 8 February 2024

The conference will take place on 22-23 February 2024

Organising Committee

Sarah Gerwens & Andréa Delestrade (external coordinators/points of contact)
Noa Krikler
Jacob Lypp
Daniela Movileanu

Learn more about the conference below.

Conference theme

The European continent in many ways remains insecure of its past, present, and future. A succession of (self-diagnosed) financial, migratory, political, and military ‘crises’ over the past decade has led to a European emergency politics that has depicted ‘Europe’ as both deeply desirable and profoundly under threat: In the words of the EU’s foreign policy chief Josep Borrell, it figures as an idyllic “garden”, set against an extra-European “jungle” – and the latter is poised to encroach over the garden walls. 

At the same time, decolonial literatures have drawn attention to the ways in which the ‘gardener Europe’ has constituted its own image through the construction of the ‘jungle’. Critical scholarship not only continues to scrutinise the bordering practices that are necessary to uphold the garden walls, it also analyses the techniques of cultivation used to weed out harmful plants and maintain the enclosed garden in its pristine and orderly state. 

This symposium invites contributions that engage with any or all aspects of this metaphor: the ‘garden’, the ‘jungle’, or their fertile and messy meeting points at the walls of enclosure. We thus welcome submissions that engage with ‘Europe’ as the site of imagined political communities and their attendant patterns of inclusion, exclusion, and contestation; as a trope undergirding historical imaginaries and phantasms of progress, or as a resource deployed for particular political projects of (dis)empowerment.

Target group and conference format

We invite submissions from PhD candidates and early-career researchers (ECRs). The conference will be divided into three workshops: “Violence and the politics of memory”, “Neoliberalism and the political economy of precarity”, and “Paternalism and the Politics of Migration.” Applicants are encouraged to tailor their applications to one of these workshops.

Composed of roughly 11-14 participants each, these workshops provide attendees with the possibility for a deeper and more sustained engagement with one another’s work. To this end, workshop participants will read each other’s work before the conference; research notes of 2,000-2,500 words will be circulated among workshop participants no less than two weeks before the conference. During the workshop, each participant will have a chance to present their work for 15  minutes, followed by 30 minutes of feedback from the other attendees.

Workshop 1: Violence and the Politics of Memory

Since the end of World War Two, national and transnational European politics have regarded the remembrance of past atrocities as a hallmark of progress and enlightenment. While basing itself on a self-conscious project of critique, the resultant politics of recognition and memorialisation also holds out an affirmative promise of a liberal Europe redeemed and re-affirmed in its exceptionality through memory work. However, engagement with and claims over memorialisation culture can be increasingly identified amongst actors across the European political spectrum: from its incorporation into nationalist rhetorics of (re)emerging far-right populist movements, to left-wing activist discourses. This provokes fundamental questions about how memorialisation functions and what it serves.

This workshop scrutinises practices of memorialisation and the associated discourses of victimhood, remembrance, and redemption, as well as the material iterations of specific memory cultures. What – if any – critical potential do these practices (still) hold, as they become part of national and European identity-building projects? Whose experience of violence gets memorialised by whom – and what are the implications of such a politics of recognition? We welcome submissions that engage with a wide variety of arenas of examination and methodological approaches.

Workshop 2: Neoliberalism and the Political Economy of Precarity

Recent literatures have discussed the morphing of neoliberal capitalism of a post-Fordist age into a ‘precarity capitalism’ of the ‘gig economy’ – a generalised socio-economic condition more cross-cutting than previous formations of capitalism founded on more delimited stratifications of class, race, and gender; what Achille Mbembe has referred to as ‘a becoming black of the world’.

This workshop probes this socio-economic formation from an empirical and/or theoretical vantage point. In particular, we encourage submissions that engage the much-posited split between socio-economic and identity-based critique. The workshop provides space to discuss new approaches that bring into conversation critiques of capitalism and of white supremacy. Finally, we also ask what this might imply for the place of ‘Europe’ as an imperial centre in the global political economy. 


Workshop 3: Paternalism and the Politics of Migration

Europe’s governance of migration is imbued with paternalistic ideas that marry the politics of caring with the politics of security and surveillance. From the Eurocentric humanitarianism towards countries of migrants’ origin to asylum procedures that prevent employment, from the increase in border surveillance to the tacit tolerance of undocumented migrant labour, from restrictive citizenship laws for first- and second-generation immigrants to the differentiated responses to the Syrian and Ukrainian refugee crises, instances of paternalism abound. These responses have not gone unchallenged by non-state actors, particularly civil society and self-organised communities of migrants and refugees.

This workshop invites submissions that examine the implications of and forms of resistance to Europe’s paternalistic migration governance. How have different actors – from cities to NGOs and migrant communities – contributed to or opposed the construction of paternalistic narratives and practices? How can we study forms of activism that have low visibility, particularly by undocumented migrants? What does it mean to adopt a non-paternalistic approach to migration governance, and what are the implications for current state practices? We welcome reflections on these and other questions that stimulate empirical, methodological, and theoretical discussions on forms of resistance to Europe’s migration governance from inside and outside Europe.

Financial support

We encourage applications from outside of London.

Limited financial support for travel and accommodation is available through the LSE’s European Institute. To ensure that these funds can be made available to those who require them most, we kindly ask applicants to check with their own institutions regarding possible financial support for travel and conference attendance. If you require financial support from the European Institute, indicate this on your application. Please note that if more financial support is requested than there is available, we will allocate funding on a first-applied-first-funded basis.

We have limited funds available for reimbursement, both for travel and accommodations costs. Please indicate how much you would need as part of your application. Please note that this is an in-person event, and participation via Zoom will only be possible in exceptional circumstances.