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Call for Proposals NIAS Conference 2021 2

Call for Proposals NIAS Conference 2021

Studies of Belonging

NIAS invites researchers, artists, writers and journalists to submit their paper abstracts on the theme of Belonging with the aim to set the agenda for future interdisciplinary and international collaborations on this topic

NIAS will host a conference on Studies of Belonging from 9-11 June 2021

On the occasion of the 50’th anniversary of the establishment of the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study, the conference on Studies of Belonging from 9-11 June 2021 aims to collaboratively explore the yet unestablished field of Studies of Belonging. During the 2.5 day conference we will learn and understand the concept of Belonging as it is used and expressed in arts and the social sciences.

Participants and Presenters can choose from over 40 workshops, panel-sessions, seminars and keynote lectures by prominent scholars, artists, writers and journalists. The overarching theme of Belonging will be divided into six topical threads wherein artistic presentations or performances will be held, and each thread will be discussed from a scientific research background.

We are delighted to announce our keynote speakers:

NIAS-alumnus Gloria Wekker, Emeritus Professor Gender and Ethnicity, University of Utrecht speaking on the thread of Identity, Inequality and Politics

Amin Ghaziani, Professor of Sociology, University of British Columbia speaking under the thread of Community and the Individual

and Nadim Rouhana Professor of International Affairs and Conflict Studies, Tufts University speaking on the thread of Borders and Boundaries

The overarching theme of Belonging will be divided into six topical threads wherein artistic presentations or performances will be held, and each thread will be discussed from a scientific research background.

Topical Threads

As a point of departure, we propose six topical threads around which the conference will be organized. In each thread, academic and artistic contributions are welcome. Each thread is open to all social sciences, (digital) humanities and art disciplines.

Place-attachment and Mobility
Contributions in this thread deal with issues of belonging and (up)rootedness, in relation to place, spaces and mobility.

Community and the Individual
This thread focuses on the importance and pitfalls for individuals of belonging to a (local, imagined, virtual, religious) community. It deals with the tension between the self and community-life.

Practices of Belonging
How do human beings bring belonging into practice? What tools and material objects do they use, develop and implement in their daily lives to sustain a sense of belonging or to create this anew?

Borders and Boundaries
This thread deals with the relation between idea(l)s of the nation-state, borders, cultural boundaries and (trans)national institutions in regards to issues of belonging.

Finding Refuge
Contributions to this thread are concerned with conditions for and expressions of belonging, such as shelter, food, care, technology, language etc.

Identity, Inequality and Politics
This thread explores the interplay between belonging, identity and politics based on social markers such as race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, (dis)ability, and class. The notion of politics is used in the broadest sense of the word, ranging from power relations on the micro-level of everyday interactions, to more structural, institutionalized forms of power-inequalities and the struggle for belonging.

Please indicate in your proposal which ‘topical thread’ you want to present in


Scholars (minimum of 3 years of post-doc experience), writers, journalists and artists who want to present their work can submit their proposal (not exceeding 300 words) before 20 October 2020 to events@nias.knaw.nl

Please indicate in your proposal which ‘topical thread’ you want to present in.

The proposal can be for

  • Individual presentations
  • Performances of artistic works. Artists can submit a description of the work they want to present/perform with visual documentation if applicable.
  • Interdisciplinary panel proposals, Panels should consist of a maximum of 5 persons, of whom at least 2 members (including the chair/coordinator) should have a minimum of three years of postdoc  or relevant work experience in the arts sector. A panel proposal should also include the abstracts (not exceeding 300 words) of the panelists.


The selection will be based on

  • If the proposal fits one of the topical threads
  • The proposal distinguishes itself through a profound and original take on issues belonging
  • Preferably incorporates interdisciplinary approaches, methods or perspectives

Applicants will be informed about the selection outcome by the NIAS Head of Academic Affairs by 15 December 2020.

Practical Matters

The conference will be fully online, with plenary sessions and interactive sub-sessions. Depending on then applicable Covid-19 regulations, some sessions could be held in a hybrid form.

Participants can follow one of the four conference journeys:

  • Follow the topical thread (one topic, variety of science and arts sessions)
  • Follow the Science  presentations (six topical threads, a variety of scientific panel-sessions, paper-presentations and seminars)
  • Follow the Arts strand (six topical threads, a variety of arts workshops, performances, presentations)
  • Follow your Lead (two sessions in each of the six topical threads, variety of science and arts sessions)


Participants can make their own conference journeys, either lean towards scientific discussions or more towards artistic presentations or a combination

On the occasion of NIAS’ 50th anniversary, we are committed to engaging scholars, artists, journalists and writers from underrepresented communities especially from Africa, Asia, Latin America, Eastern Europe and the Middle East. A tiered fee structure will apply according to country of residence, with some countries from the mentioned regions being exempt from participation fees.

For scholars coming from high income (H) countries such as Germany or the Netherlands, who have a higher GDP than upper middle income (UM) countries such as Turkey or Serbia, a slightly higher participation fee will be charged.

For your country classification, please refer to the World Bank’s Classification

All participants and presenters join (and pay according to country of residence) for one of the aforementioned conference journey. Only the keynote lectures can be visited separately.

NIAS supports all conference presenters: artists, scholars, journalists and writers who are not affiliated with a formal institution, for conference funding on a case-by-case basis. Should you wish to be considered for financial support, please mention it in your email.

For High Income Countries (H): 

Participants or Presenters 200 euros
Early Bird 170 euros
Listeners (Who only listen in) 120 euros

For Upper Middle Income Countries (UM):

Participants or Presenters 150 euros
Early Bird 120 euros
Listeners (Who only listen in) 70 euros

Visitors can also register for one or more keynote lectures

One Key-note Lecture25 euros (H) / 20 euros (UM)
Two Key-note Lectures40 euros (H) / 25 euros (UM)
Three Key-note Lectures 50 euros (H) / 30 euros (UM)

About NIAS

NIAS’ mission is to foster curiosity-driven research that pushes the traditional disciplinary boundaries and questions underlying methodological and theoretical assumptions. Each year, NIAS hosts an international, interdisciplinary group of 50 fellows who work on their independent research projects while being embedded in a thriving intellectual community.
Starting in 2021 during the 50th anniversary of NIAS, a 3-day NIAS conference will be organised in Amsterdam, the Netherlands every two years.