Symposium and activities

students in library

Sussex International Theory Symposium

The Sussex International Theory Symposium is an annual half-day event that encourages in-depth engagement with fundamental research in International Relations. Each Symposium is devoted to the discussion of a particular piece in International Theory. The Symposium is open to members of CAIT as well as Sussex faculty and PhD students with a special interest in the topic. Participants are expected to have familiarized themselves with the text in question and to actively contribute to the discussion. Recently, we selected Dr Brenna Bhandar (2018) Colonial Lives of Property: Law, Land and Racial Regimes of Ownership (Duke UP) for our event in February 2020.

This year's (2024) Symposium is an opportunity to discuss the book On the Scale of the World: The Formation of Black Anticolonial Thought by Musab Yunis. The book was the winner of the 2023 Sussex International Theory Prize.

Musab Younis - University of California Press, 2022

On the Scale of the World provides an original,  anticolonial conception of ‘the international’ that foregrounded and operated through the planetary scale. This anti-imperial conception considered race as constitutive of Eurocentric imperialist conceptions of the world by  elucidating the ways in which racial ‘epidermalization’ was fundamentally bound up with planetary processes.  Black Atlantic anti-colonial and anti-racist struggles at national level were therefore conceived of and fought in internationalist terms. The argument is based on painstaking research into archives of both English- and French-language anticolonial writing  in France, the United States, and West Africa. On the Scale of the World offers a set of major theoretical advances that privilege Black interwar, anticolonial literary and political writings as sources of international theory. These theoretical insights are housed within international studies but speak directly to scholars of History, Geography, Literary Studies, and critical theory. Three contributions deserve mention. First, the book’s reading of interwar Black Atlantic print cultures, especially newspapers, demonstrates the textual mechanisms by which international theory has been produced and travelled ‘from below’. Second, the book’s novel conception of scale enriches and transforms key concepts in international studies, showing how ideas of global order have never simply been the exclusive preserve of Western privileged actors. And third, On the Scale of the World implicitly addresses nativist and culturalist charges against postcolonialism by demonstrating the consciously and intrinsically world-historical cast of Black Atlantic internationalism and nationalism.

CAIT Annual Symposium

CAIT workshop 

Keynote Addresses are organised periodically and offer to CAIT’s members and the wider Sussex communities world-renowned speakers on specific themes. Past Workshop Keynote Addresses were given by Fred R. Dallmayr, Peg Birmingham, Joanna Hodge, Laurence P. Hemming, Lisa Duggan, Jon Binnie, Vivienne Jabri, V. Spike Peterson, Rahul Rao and Dvora Yanow.

Termly abstract discussions

CAIT hosts a termly abstracts discussion to encourage the exchange of ideas and feedback of those in Department and University interested in international theory at the early stages of research and publications. In the last two iterations, members of from different research clusters have found the discussion of abstracts of work at the early stages of research or for draft articles and conference papers extremely useful.

There is no preparation involved for those putting forward an abstract: simply let us have the title and bring 10-15 hardcopies of the abstract that will be read and discussed in a friendly and constructive manner by those present. We often have several ex and current journal editors in the room, which also helps! Refreshments and biscuits will be provided.

Calls for abstracts are circulated each term, contact or join our mailing list if you wish to receive these notifications.

Workshops, conferences and reading groups

The Centre for Advanced International Theory hosts conferences, workshops, and reading groups on a wide range of topics and approaches in the field.

If you would like to make suggestions for activities on a particular theme or if you are looking for a hospitable environment for your conference or workshop, please contact