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500th Anniversary of Machiavelli’s ‘The Prince’

BISA Annual Conference – Dublin, 18-20 June 2014

“Machiavelli’s cardinal achievement is […] his uncovering of an insoluble dilemma, the planting of a permanent question mark in the path of posterity.”
Isaiah Berlin, The Originality of Machiavelli

After 500 years, Machiavelli’s The Prince (most of which was written in 1513) is still considered one of the most influential political essays in Western literature. Machiavelli is – along with Plato, Hobbes, and Marx – one of the few thinkers ‘whose opinions have continued to puzzle or agitate mankind’ (Berlin). International Relations scholars have usually considered him one of the founders and inspirers of classical political realism. But what is Machiavelli’s significance to contemporary International Relations theory? What is his legacy in the so-called Global Age?

On the occasion of the 500th anniversary of Il Principe, and the forthcoming publication of Machiavelli’s writing on international affairs (Marco Cesa, ed. Machiavelli on International Relations. OUP: 2014), this panel calls for contributions that engage with Machiavelli’s complex and multifaceted international political theory. From The Prince to The Discourses, from The Art of War to The Histories, the panel aims to re-explore the key issues in Machiavelli’s international thought, and dig in depth into some of its most fundamental aspects: the relevance of human nature in determining political conflict; the idea that political action takes place in a context that constrains decisions and affects outcomes; the use of force and the morality dilemma; the importance of laws in the foundation of states and their limitations; the central role played by charisma and chance in influencing foreign policy; the impact of domestic political structures on international politics; the fragility of alliances and the precariousness of international arrangements.

We invite potential participants to submit abstracts of no more than 250 words by 15 November 2013 drawing upon, but not limited to, such issues as:

 Comparisons between Machiavelli’s thought and that of other classical realist thinkers such as Hobbes, Clausewitz, Niebuhr, Weber, Schmitt, Strauss, Morgenthau, Waltz, etc.
 The Art of War Revisited: Machiavelli and Strategic Studies
 Machiavelli’s legacy and the future of realism in IR theory
 Actors, charisma, leadership and foreign policy
 Machiavelli: morality, immorality and international ethics
 Republican politics and international affairs
 Italian Renaissance: politics, war, alliances
 Machiavelli vs. ‘Machiavellians’ (Nixon, Kissinger, etc.)
 Machiavelli’s thought in global perspective: Oriental readings
 The Machiavelli problem: secular politics in a secular state?

Please send abstracts with “Machiavelli” in subject line to:

Dr Antonio Cerella: or Dr Ernesto Gallo: