Centre for Advanced International Theory (CAIT)

The BRICS’ contestation and negotiation of the expansion of the liberal international order

The BRICS’ contestation and negotiation of the expansion of the liberal international order: non-Western Think Tanks meet Anglo-American Think Tanks

Call for papers: International Workshop hosted by CAIT


During the past years, the study of think tanks and foundations has experienced a growth within the discipline of International Relations. Traditionally, critical scholars have tended to focus on the role of Anglo-American think tanks and foundations in shaping the “American century” or the “White Anglo-American order” after the Second World War. These institutions have been crucial actors in producing hegemonic ideas that were transplanted into the colonial world and the periphery of the capitalist liberal order with the aim of expanding and solidifying the power and influence of the West. The existing literature has mainly focused on the unilinear practises of power and production of elite knowledge that travelled from institutions, think tanks and foundations from the core of the Anglo-American international order to the periphery.

Building on those important contributions, this workshop seeks to push the boundaries of these debates. We are currently going through turbulent times where new powers such as China, Russia, Brazil, Mexico, Indonesia, India, Brazil are seemingly contesting the foundations of liberal international order. These globalising powers have realised the significance of the production of elite knowledge as a form of contestation and negotiation that can allow them to integrate into the existing international order to strengthen their positions through think tanks and foundations. Yet, the study of these “non-Western” think tanks and foundations remains rather neglected. Instead of exploring the production of elite knowledge as a unilinear process where non-Western countries act as mere passive recipients of the ideas produced by the Western imperial powers, we seek to explore a more holistic approach that conceives production of knowledge as a dialectical process and as a space of contestation and negotiation. Against this backdrop, we wish to understand how Anglo-American think tanks and foundations interact with these new “Anglo-American” watchers based in non-Western think tanks. How do these new watchers perceive the current international liberal order? What are the political effects of these new elite networks of non-Western intellectuals and their activities? Who are these new “Anglo-American” watchers? How are these new watchers networked? This workshop ultimately seeks to provide insights into the operations, networks, depth, breadth, longevity and prospects of Anglo-American power and the liberal international order.

The workshop will be online. It will be held on Wednesday 23rd February 2022. The workshop is hosted by the Centre for Advanced International theory at the University of Sussex. The

workshop is open and free for everyone, but we particularly encourage PhD researchers and early career scholars to apply.

The goal of this workshop is to produce an edited volume based on papers presented on this event.

Please send a 200-word abstract to: F.Perez-Mena@sussex.ac.uk by Sunday 31st October 2021

We welcome papers addressing the following issues:

  • Networks between “non-Western” US watchers and Anglo-American think tanks.
  • The political effects of these networks' activities.
  • The normative ideas that these think tanks produce about the coexistence and integration of these rising powers into the liberal international order.
  • Mapping out new non-Western think tanks and their key ideas.