Call for Papers | Sustaining Peace Across Ocean Frontiers—Annual Workshop on Ocean Frontiers

Abstract submission deadline: Thursday, 1 August 2019

The third annual workshop on Oceans Frontiers at York University will take place on 14-15 November 2019. This year’s theme is Sustaining Peace across Ocean Frontiers.

Ocean Frontiers as an epistemic category signifies both transboundary and trans-domain spaces of maritime-space-nuclear security nexus. They are embattled zones of territorial conflict, and heterogeneous technological zones with industrial and military networks. Ocean spaces of submarines equipped with long- and medium-range missiles, and their inter-continental and trans-domain flight path charted over geostrategic waters are critical frontiers, for multilateral defence and diplomatic negotiations. Ocean frontiers are also significant routes of international commerce. Clearly, these planetary spaces are not just regions within national jurisdiction. Areas beyond National Jurisdiction (ABNJ) have steadily emerged in global politics, amid international trade demands, as critical spaces of marine and seabed resources compounding to military geostrategy.

Despite prevailing regional and international governance mechanisms, norms of peace and security are being challenged by national competition over natural resources, most noticeably in the Arctic and the Indo-Pacific. Shows of military power and inter-state conflicts for national control have been escalating over natural and artificial islands, and across common areas of ocean-space ecosystems. National differences have intensified among the major State actors operating across the geostrategic frontiers of our world, concerning the type of security order and peace envisioned. Although diplomatic negotiations have long grappled with trans-frontier issues, political disparities and security deviations from international peace norms prevail in the absence of inter-state consensus.

What does ‘Peace’ entail? What is the prevailing security order? Whose version of ‘Peace’ or security order is being imposed, supported or challenged, and how? These are key questions pertinent to discussions about ‘Peace’ in perilous ocean frontiers. Moreover, common trade and commerce routes signify shared and conflictual history, common and different cultures, network and exclusion. In this context, this workshop also seeks to expand on the concept of ‘Peace’ beyond narrowly defined inter-state ideas of “security”, to explore regional commonality, concurrence and co-evolution.

The overarching theme of ‘Sustaining Peace’ provides scope for workshop participants to discuss cooperative governance mechanisms, shared interests and commonalities of peoples and cultures as well as security policy futures at the national, regional and international levels, particularly on two of the most problematic regions of our world: the Arctic and the Indo-Pacific.

The workshop is structured into three sessions:
• Arctic Frontiers: Competition & Cooperation for Peace
• Indo-Pacific Frontiers: Competition & Cooperation for Peace
• Ocean-Space Governance: In what ways can Inter-State consensus be attained for demilitarization and denuclearization of ocean frontiers?

Abstract submissions are welcome from senior, junior and graduate scholars for all three sessions. Please note that Session III provides the scope for discussing cultures, economies, and governance mechanisms, with reference to any oceanic region, even the Antarctic and the Atlantic, in comparison to the Arctic and the Indo-Pacific. Comparative analyses are most welcome.

Analytical papers are invited to delve into the following areas, but need not be limited to these:
• Science, technology and infrastructures of control: maritime-cyber-AI-outer-space conflict and cooperation on The Canadian Arctic frontier, Taiwan frontier, and the Indo-Pacific frontiers of ASEAN, the US (and QUAD States), Russia and the People’s Republic of China.
• Political cultures/socio-economic cultures of rivalry; trade war and route/s to truce.
• International l and regional agreements: legal parameters and emerging norms for ‘Peace’, effective in managing / governing contentious ocean-space frontiers.

The abstract submission deadline is 1 August 2019 to Please include ‘Ocean Frontiers 2019’ as the email subject heading. Each submission should include the following as a Word or PDF document: 250-word abstract, six keywords and a 100-word presenter bio.

For more information, please contact organizer Venilla Rajaguru at



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