News from the Centre

Conference on 'Counter-narratives to Regional Cooperation: Contesting European Union', 13–14 May 2019

27.11.2018 At a time when transnational and international cooperation increasingly faces aggressive criticism and outright opposition, this conference in Duisburg will explore the particular case of counter-narratives to European integration. A joint call by the Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence for the Study of a Transnational Europe (CESTE) in Portsmouth and the Centre for Global Cooperation Research (GCR21) invites contributions based on original research addressing actors and narratives in a structured manner, both to strengthen comparative perspectives and to facilitate a possible later collective publication. The conference is organized by Wolfram Kaiser (University of Portsmouth) and Richard McMahon (University College London) in cooperation with the Centre in Duisburg.

From Brazil to the Philippines and the US to Hungary, political polarisation and international tensions are growing. Intellectuals and organised social and political groups are using ‘communitarian’ narratives to produce a churn of new or reinvigorated and refined anti-cosmopolitan narratives. Whether motivated ideologically by right-wing ethnocentric nationalism or left-wing rejection of economic globalisation, they seek a partisan advantage in domestic and transnational politics and try to reshape international relations in a more intergovernmental and autarkic manner. Democratically elected political leaders have strongly promoted and sought to legitimise such narratives, from US President Donald Trump’s nationalistic rhetoric and rejection of international treaties to Hungarian Prime Minister Victor Orban’s advocacy of ‘illiberal democracy’ as a challenge to the European Union’s normative order.

As the world’s most intensive experiment in regional integration, European Union (as something that can be more than and different from the European Union as an organization) is a lightning rod and key test for the rising opponents of regional cooperation and globalism.

Please submit proposals to both organisers, Wolfram Kaiser ( and Richard McMahon ( no later than 5 January 2019. The successful applicants will be notified no later than 20 January 2019.

Please read the full text of this call for details and further information.