Annual Institute

Call for Proposals: 2020 Society of Policy Scientists Annual Institute

Co-hosted virtually by Claremont McKenna College & UCLA
November 5 – 7, 2020

The Society of Policy Scientists Annual Institute will be held virtually this year beginning Thursday, November 5, for the short pedagogical session, and Friday and Saturday, November 6-7, for the main meeting.

What distinguishes the policy sciences from many other social science frameworks is its insistence on anchoring both theory and practice in the problem orientation. Currently, at least four problems loom very large globally: the pandemic, the vulnerability to violence experienced by disadvantaged groups, the rise of nativism, and global climate change. The acute nature of the first three problems has, to a certain extent, crowded out attention to climate change. Yet, because global climate change does not generate potent immediacy signals, it has been declining in attention even though its long-term threat to human dignity is at least as great as the others. In fact, as many policy scientists have already noted, global climate change is one of the drivers behind rises in violence and nativism as environmental refugees have exacerbated resource competition and cultural insecurities in many countries. Therefore, the Annual Institute planning committee aspires to devoting at least one day of this year’s Institute to the causes and consequences of global climate change, as well as to the potential strategies of mitigation and adaptation. The range of relevant issues is striking: 

  • Addressing the nutritional challenges due to agricultural declines
  • Assessing the threats to culture due to occupational shifts (e.g., declines of hunting or farming) 
  • Addressing the threats to wildlife that climate change has on habitats
  • Addressing the deprivations and conflict arising from international and intra-state migrations due to the displacement from flooding, agricultural collapse, and renewable-energy infrastructure development (e.g., hydroelectric dams)
  • Assessing the prospects for the promotion and dissemination of technologies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 
  • Strategies to increase the roles of state and local governments to fill the vacuum left by the federal government’s withdrawal from initiatives to respond to global climate change
  • Identifying and addressing the psychological trends due to increased anxiety over global climate change
  • Assessing the effectiveness of appeals to citizens of various ages and outlooks to be more proactive in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and supporting relevant policies  
  • Strengthening international negotiations, and/or international institutions, to achieve greater international cooperation on addressing global climate change
  • Exploring international legal doctrines to address global climate change, the human rights challenges for “environmental refugees”, and the doctrines to safeguard the rights of internally displaced persons (e.g., the Kampala Convention)
  • Addressing the legal, economic, and security challenges arising out of the opening of Arctic transit routes
  • Assessing philosophical and identity issues arising out of the greater questioning of whether current lifestyles will remain viable
  • Exploring the threat of authoritarianism that consequences of climate change are producing (e.g., immigration, internal population displacements, economic decline).

As broad as this range of issues may be, some of our Society members may be eager to receive feedback on their work on quite different issues. Therefore, the planning committee welcomes proposals on other topics, as well. Yet, preference will be given to proposals on the climate change theme in order to fill the first day with four panels of three presenters each. The second day may be devoted to other themes, with the same format, or more on climate change if more first-rate proposals on that theme are selected.

Proposal Guidelines & Selection

We are seeking proposals from people who are at different stages of the research process and within their careers.  We welcome proposals of work completed, published, or in development. Society membership is not required to submit a proposal.

Proposals for presentations should be no more than one page. We ask that they include a short description of your research topic and potential developmental constructs that may apply to your work. We also ask that you provide your institutional affiliation, preferred title, and email contact.  

Proposals will be reviewed for acceptance beginning on July 31, with final decisions for the program made by August 31. The Committee will consider and accept proposals on a rolling basis, until all presentation slots are allocated.

Please submit proposals via

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