Call for Papers

In 2015, we will celebrate 25 years since the German Reunification – an important milestone on the way to end the Cold War. The year will also mark the 25th anniversary that Joseph Nye first introduced Soft Power. Nye believed that in the ensuing era of international relations, states would be able to effectively either substitute, or at least compliment the use of force with the art of persuasion and attraction. Cultural diplomacy could complete military or economic power in a world that was freed from Cold War polarity.

The world has radically changed since the emergence of these concepts though. The attacks of September 11 set the practice of Soft Power on a new trajectory, just as the BRIC states, NGOs and multinational corporations have also helped to diffuse the balance of power. This conference asks: how can Nye's concept, 25 years after it has been proposed, help us analyze the trajectories of diplomacy in the 21st century?

Nye's framework has been criticized and praised, used and discarded, but it remains relevant for several discourses. The influence of a more cautious US cannot be fully comprehended without Soft Power. The same goes for the economic advantages emerging countries have shown and the newly found bargaining power that came along with it. For actors, whether they are diplomats, branding consultants or cultural figures, Soft Power remains an important concept. How does Soft Power come in the 21st century; and what alternatives exist to better understand the concept?'

The “Framing Soft Power for the 21st Century” conference welcomes papers - from scholars of all disciplines – which consider the dynamics and implications of Soft Power 25 years after its conception to be submitted at

Please submit your abstracts (300 to 500 words) by May 8th, 2015. You will know whether your abstract has been accepted by May 11th. Send us the complete, camera-ready paper at the latest by June 15th. Please adhere to MLA guidelines for formatting. The Conference will take place between Thursday, July 2nd, and Friday, July 3rd, 2015.

Possible topics include but are not limited to:

  • Cultural and Public Diplomacy
  • Hegemony and spheres of power
  • Non-governmental influence on international politics
  • Media and strategic spectacle (such as sporting events)
  • Nation Brand and competitive identity

We look forward to your submissions as well as any questions that you may have.


The “Soft Power for the 21st Century” Conference Team