New ISA Section Proposed: Religion and International Relations

New ISA Section Proposed: Religion and IR

Dear Colleagues:

I am writing to invite you to support the founding of a new ISA section on religion and international relations. This section will encourage ISA papers and panels on religion, broadly defined, without prejudice regarding methodology, region, or issue area. 

The number and quality of papers on religion and IR at ISA annual conferences is on the rise. By my count, some 3-5% of papers delivered at ISA annual conferences are on religion and the numbers are increasing. In 2010, I counted 134 papers. In 2011, I found 137. At this year’s meeting, about 145 papers touched on religion, faith, secularism and belief worldwide. This is a rough estimate (there is no easy way to identify these papers so I searched on-line programs using several religion keywords) but it indicates a widespread interest. 

The advantages of having these papers sponsored by an organized section are considerable. Scholars interested in religion have a hard time locating like-minded colleagues or panels at ISA conferences, developing common projects or furthering their interests as a sub-group. Setting up a section on religion and IR at ISA (as have scholars of security studies, ethnicity, or human rights, for example) will allow us to sponsor our own panels and expand the number of papers presented at ISA at an even faster pace. It will also afford ISA members who are interested in religion the opportunity to network at the annual reception, recognize outstanding papers and books with section awards and initiate round tables and discussion forums.

The American Political Science Association has had a religion and politics section since September 1987. It boasts close to 600 members, making it the 13th largest of the forty APSA sections. Many of our colleagues have already voiced their support for setting up a complementary section at ISA, as has the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation’s working group on Religion and IR (Notre Dame), the Program on Religion, Politics and Globalization (U.C. Berkeley), the Center for International Studies (USC), and the officers of APSA’s organized section on religion and politics.

This initiative has already attracted the required 100 signatures but I would like to ensure that this section represents as many scholars, institutions and viewpoints around the globe as possible. 

If you’d like to support this initiative, please sign the on-line petition at

Please let me know by email if you would like to play a role on the executive committee of this section. And please share this invitation with any ISA colleagues who have an interest in religion.

Ron E. Hassner

Assistant Professor of Political Science
U.C. Berkeley

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Nassef Manabilang Adiong

Nassef is the founder of Co-IRIS (International Relations and Islamic Studies Research Cohort), PHISO (Philippine International Studies Organization), DSRN (Decolonial Studies Research Network), and BRLN (Bangsamoro Research and Legal Network). He works on interdisciplinary research between Islam and International Relations and explores the Bangsamoro society as he heads the Policy Research and Legal Services (PRLS) of the Bangsamoro Parliament. Visit for more details.