| | |

Reimagining Neutrality and its Research

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

2024 International Academic Conference 
Kyoto University
October 23 – 25, 2024

Call for Papers

Neutrality is an age-old idea. We find it across different periods and cultures. From Thucydides in ancient Greece and Kautilya in the Maurya Empire to more or less every modern war since the creation of the Westphalian system. It exists in many forms and under various names such as nonalignment, non-belligerency, or more recently as India’s “multi-alignment” and Vietnam’s “bamboo diplomacy.” It can be a topic relevant to peace-conferences and nuclear nonproliferation and we find it outside foreign policy, too. Humanitarian NGOs like the International Committee of the Red Cross make use of it, as do the United Nations, financial bodies like the Bank for International Settlements, and even scientific institutions like Europe’s CERN mention neutrality when describing their work. Even more fundamentally, neutrality is a concept of behavioral science, conflict studies, and anthropology. 

In this conference, we challenge researchers to reimagine and reinterpret neutrality as an analytical category that encompasses all of the above. Under the umbrella of “anything goes” we want to hear about your research, be it in political science, history, anthropology, biology—or even particle physics. From historical case studies, and legal analysis, to theoretical work in international relations, area studies, mathematics, or game theory. If there is something you consider to be relevant to a discussion about “neutrality,” please consider contributing and sharing it at this conference. We encourage especially early-career researchers and PhD students to present their ideas and work.

Some leading questions might be: 

  • Is neutrality a universal constant of social systems?
  • Which case studies have not yet received due attention?
  • What makes a neutral actor “neutral”?
  • How did the law of neutrality evolve since 1907 and is it still valid?
  • What kind of cases are there in anthropology touching on “neutrality”?
  • What role do neutral actors play in conflict studies?
  • How do private institutions use neutrality?
  • How do neutral actors influence interpersonal conflicts?


Applications and inquiries should be emailed to [email protected]
The deadline for applications is June 1, 2024.
Acceptance will be announced in July.
Please inform us of the following (copy paste the below into an email to us).

First Name:
Last Name:
Country of residence:
Paper Abstract (200 words max): 

Organizing Committee

Director: Dr. Pascal Lottaz, Graduate School of Law, Hakubi Center, Kyoto University.
Co-Organizer: Dr. Mahon Murphy, Graduate School of Law, Kyoto University.
Co-Organizer: Dr. Mostafa Khalili, Center for Southeast Asian Studies, Hakubi Center, Kyoto University.
Executive Director: Ms. Manon Ramos, Graduate School of Law, Kyoto University.

Date & Place

October 23 (Wednesday) – October 25 (Friday), 2024.
Kyoto University, Yoshidahonmachi, Sakyo Ward, Kyoto, 606-8501

Photo by Sorasak on Unsplash