Towards an International Society of the Future - 16-17 January 2014

SIAS Workshop:

Towards an International Society of the Future:

World Perspectives on India’s Global Role


16-17 January 2014

St Antony’s College

(16 January: Nissan Lecture Theatre. 17 January: The Pavilion Room)

University of Oxford


Sponsored by:

The Centre for International Studies, DPIR

Asian Studies, St Antony’s College

The Contemporary South Asian Studies Programme, SIAS


Convenor: Kate Sullivan (, SIAS

To register please email


This workshop has two primary objectives. The first is to present an alternative set of reflections on India’s current place and role in the world to those narrated through standard Anglo-American analyses and conceptual frameworks. The second is to deepen and broaden our understanding of contemporary international society as it is experienced, understood, and shaped by a core group of ‘non-Western’ global stakeholders. In an era when the balance of power in the international system is shifting, the workshop as a whole asks how we can begin to understand relations between ‘other’ increasingly influential states who are already navigating, shaping and creating international institutions and processes in distinctive ways.

With the growth of India’s power and status, much of the world is thinking about India and its future role in international affairs. By treating the growing international influence of India as a common element of world politics, the workshop will unite Area Studies scholars in the analysis of India and in relation to a range of shared global issues, processes and institutions, such as climate change, development cooperation, UN Security Council reforms, nuclear politics, and the terms of world trade. Scholars of different regions will present country-specific readings of India’s rise from African, Brazilian, Central European, Chinese, Japanese, Mexican, Russian, South African, South Korean, and Syrian perspectives. Individually, the multi-country interpretive studies of linkages between India and other major, non-Western global stakeholders will offer a deeper understanding of how each country envisages its own role in an international society whose political, economic and social contours are shifting. Collectively, they will demonstrate the advantages and difficulties in pursuing ‘inter-area’ scholarship.

Each speaker will focus on a central issue of world politics and place emphasis on the governmental perspectives of the relevant country/ies in relation to India. Their discussion will therefore bridge the domestic-international divide, be of broad appeal across several disciplines—most obviously International Relations, Politics, and Economics—and offer alternative insights into India’s global role to policymakers and diplomats. Above all, by opening the conversation to a range of ‘alternative’ voices, the workshop as a whole will potentially offer new directions in the ways we create knowledge (within English language scholarship, at least) about the international realm.



Day 1 – Thursday, 16 January
Location: Nissan Lecture Theatre
9.00am Opening remarks: The Promise of Inter-Area Conversations
Professor Ian Neary, Head, School of Interdisciplinary Area Studies, Oxford
9.10am Introduction of the High Commissioner of India to the United Kingdom
Dr Matthew McCartney, Director of the Contemporary South Asian Studies Programme, SIAS and Wolfson College, Oxford
9.15am India’s Global Role
H. E. Mr Ranjan Mathai, High Commissioner of India to the United Kingdom 
9.45am Why ‘World Perspectives on India’s Global Role’?
Dr Kate Sullivan, Contemporary South Asian Studies Programme, Oxford 
10.00am Session 1 – Asia I
Status and Security: Chinese Views of a Nuclear India from the 1998 Tests to the 2008 NSG Waiver 
Dr Nicola Horsburgh, Oxford
Discussant: Professor Rosemary Foot, Department of Politics and International Relations and St. Antony's College, Oxford
11.00am Tea/Coffee Break 
11.15am Session 2 – Asia II
India in Climate Change: The View from Tokyo 
Dr Yuka Kobayashi, SOAS 
Discussant: Professor Dr Wilhelm Vosse, Academic Visitor, St. Antony's College, Oxford and International Christian University, Japan
Just another Regional Superpower? South Korean Reactions to the Rise of India
Dr Danielle Chubb, Deakin University, Australia
Discussant: Dr Todd Hall, Department of Politics and International Relations and St. Anne's College, Oxford
1.15pm Lunch (presenters and discussants only)
2.15pm Session 3 – Latin America
The Eastern Brother: Brazil’s View of India as a Diplomatic Partner in World Trade
Vinícius Rodrigues Vieira, Oxford
Discussant: Dr Timothy Power, Latin American Centre, SIAS and St. Cross College, Oxford
‘The Other Pacifist’: Mexican Views on India’s Quest for Great Power Status
Gilberto Estrada Harris, Oxford
Discussant: Dr Halbert Jones, Latin American Centre, SIAS and St. Antony's College, Oxford
4.15pm Tea/Coffee Break
4.30pm Session 4 – Middle East
Views of India from the Conflicting Parties in Syria 
Dr Omar Sharaf, Heidelberg, Germany
Discussant: Dr Louise Fawcett, DPIR and St. Catherine's College, Oxford
5.30pm Wine reception
6.30pm Workshop Dinner, St Antony’s College (presenters and discussants only)
Day 2 – Friday, 17 January
Location: Pavilion Room
9.00am Session 5 – Russia and Central Europe
Comparing Central European and EU Perceptions of India – What Kind of Power?
Jakub Zajączkowski, University of Warsaw, Poland
Discussant: Dr Hartmut Mayer, Official Fellow and Lecturer in Politics (International Relations), St. Peter's College, Oxford
Russian Views of India in the Context of Afghanistan
Dr Natasha Kuhrt, Kings College, London
Discussant: Dr Roy Allison, Russian and East European Studies, SIAS and St. Antony's College, Oxford
11.00am Tea/Coffee Break
11.15am Session 6 – Africa
Partners and Adversaries: South African Views of India during and after the Cold War
Dr Christopher J. Lee, University of Witwatersrand, South Africa
Discussant: Professor William Beinart, Rhodes Professor of Race Relations, SIAS and St Antony’s College, Oxford
What does 'Development Cooperation' mean? Perceptions from Africa and India
Dr Dave Harris, University of Bradford and Dr Simona Vittorini, SOAS
Discussant: Dr Matthew McCartney, Contemporary South Asian Studies Programme, SIAS and Wolfson College
1.15pm Lunch (presenters and discussants only)
2.15pm Discussion Group I
Towards an International Society of the Future
3.15pm Tea/Coffee Break
3.30pm Discussion Group II
India in the Reflection of World Perspectives
4.30pm Close