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Ashoka-LSE Diplomatic Studies Workshop

The study of Indian diplomacy has made significant progress over the last two decades. The growth of international relations and diplomatic history as disciplines in Indian universities and the increasing popularity of India-related subjects in overseas social science departments has led increasing numbers of students and researchers around the world to study Indian diplomacy. This trend has produced valuable new research on how India approaches various facets of its external world, from neighbouring countries to regional competitors, global powers, international norms and institutions, and the international order writ large. Recent research has also effected a turn towards the use of historical archives in the study of Indian diplomacy, a trend that has yielded rich results as more collections such as the Jawaharlal Nehru Papers have been made publicly accessible. The time is therefore ripe for those who have established themselves as prominent scholars of India’s diplomatic relations and history to help train and mentor the next generation of talent in this area.

Purpose of the Workshop

The purpose of the Ashoka-LSE Diplomatic Studies Workshop is twofold. First, it will serve as a venue in which junior scholars— early career researchers, such as PhD students, postdoctoral researchers and assistant professors, who are at the advanced stages of a journal article or edited volume contribution—can receive rigorous feedback on draft papers intended for publication. Due to the cost of attending annual conventions such as the International Studies Association (ISA) in far-off places and the typically over-committed schedules of mid-career and senior scholars, junior scholars find it difficult to obtain the kind of structured feedback they need to improve their research. The workshop will in effect provide a captive audience of more experienced researchers to provide feedback and mentorship to junior scholars not just regarding the content of their papers but also potential avenues for publication, invitations to join edited volumes and journal special issues, and other professional opportunities.

Second, organized annually, the workshop will create a community of scholars and scholarship working on diplomatic studies of India. A stable core of mid-career and senior scholars will attend the workshop annually and provide intellectual guidance and mentorship to junior scholars. Eventually, some junior scholars will establish themselves in the field and return to the workshop as discussants. Meanwhile, each year, a cohort of junior scholars will pass through the workshop and become its alumni, forming a wide network over time. Information and opportunities shared through this network will aid the careers of its more junior members, and all members will benefit from potential intellectual collaborations that might emerge through the network. Others in the network will inevitably host their own conferences and workshops and thereby have a ready talent pool to draw on for this purpose.

Format of the workshop

The workshop will feature eight papers, presented over one-and-a-half days where every participant will be required to read the papers in advance, thus creating a well-informed group for providing feedback to authors. To this end, author presentations will also be kept short so that most of the allotted time can be devoted to robust intellectual discussion. At the end of the first day, the workshop will host a networking dinner so that participants can get to know each other better and develop enduring professional relationships.

Output of the Workshop

The workshop will only invite papers intended for publication, i.e. it will not be open to works in the early stages of development. To maximize the chances of successful publication, in addition to intellectual feedback and criticism, workshop discussants will be asked to provide pivotal guidance to authors on where to submit their papers, how to navigate the peer review process, and how to position their arguments in relation to past research and disciplinary boundaries. All papers presented at the workshop, when they are eventually published in any form, should mention the Ashoka-LSE Diplomatic Studies Workshop in their acknowledgements.

Deadlines: Interested scholars are invited to submit a 250-word paper abstract and a one-page CV detailing their current position(s) and publication record. The submission deadline is: 29th February 2024. 

Proposals should be submitted by email to: ashokadiplomaticstudies@gmail.com. Selected scholars will be notified in March and will be asked to submit their papers in August.


Pallavi Raghavan (Ashoka University)

Rohan Mukherjee (LSE)

Avinash Paliwal (SOAS)

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