About Us

The world is changing. The Covid pandemic, the US-China rivalry, Brexit and the rise of populism in world politics have all signified that we are in a period of profound transition in international politics. Many scholars and practitioners have warned that the United States and China could fall into the “Thucydides trap”—opening up the possibility of military conflict between the most powerful state and a rapidly rising power in the international system. Others argue that change will be even more fundamental and that the current order will give way to an unprecedented era of disorder, conflict and chaos. How to understand “change” as well as the possibilities for “peaceful change”, historically, theoretically, and empirically is an imperative task for scholars and policy makers in the decades to come.

Change is a challenging and enduring topic in the international relations (IR) discipline. So is peace. In fact, the discipline of IR as we see today originated in the inter-War debates on peaceful change in Europe and the later Post-War theoretical and policy challenges especially by American realist scholars. The peaceful end of the Cold War galvanized the interest in the theme, especially by constructivists and critical theorists. Today there is a major push in IR to make the discipline truly global, drawing lessons from different countries, civilizations, and gender and racial groups, a move that has major implications for diversity in IR. Reforming global governance institutions peacefully is part of this discourse. Peaceful change has been a major theme in the foreign policies of many countries, e.g. Gorbachev’s USSR, Deng and his immediate successors’ China, Nehru’s India, and Europe’s Helsinki process. Many states especially small and middle powers in all regions of the world adhere to the notion of ‘peaceful co-existence.’ For instance, South Africa and Brazil have consciously highlighted the peaceful change aspects of their foreign policies. Small states in Europe and elsewhere pride themselves as promoters of peaceful change. Yet, we do not have a dedicated scholarly program or a publication venue to analyze these themes that have major implications for human survival on the planet.

GRENPEC (The Global Research Network on Peaceful Change) is a newly established research network organized by a group of leading scholars and prominent institutions worldwide, focusing on the study of peaceful change at the international, regional, and domestic levels. We conceive the notion of peaceful change varying along a continuum from minimalist conceptions stressing international change and transformation without the use of military force and war, to maximalist ideas that entail not only the absence of war, but also the achievement of sustained non-violent cooperation for creating a more just world order.

The goal of the network is to encourage scholars to engage these two challenging topics together, especially the causes, sources, mechanisms and consequences of peaceful change at the international, regional, and domestic levels. As an emerging and promising research program, the study of “peaceful change” has generated substantial academic and policy interests among IR scholars and practitioners. This is especially pertinent as we are in the throes of a new round of systemic conflict involving rising China and established powers, such as the US, as well as non-traditional security challenges such as the Covid-19 and climate change induced disasters.

The rise of new centers of powers and pressures generated by globalization have brought forth the need to understand peaceful change an urgent necessity. Nations spend tremendous energy and resources on military security through the acquisition and use of arms. The attention devoted to security through peaceful means and peaceful change is minimal. For instance, we have limited understanding of the conditions under which a rising power like China be accommodated as a global power without war. We also have limited understanding of how and when regions transform into peaceful orders or the reverse happens. As scholars with an interest in peaceful change, we are making important research contributions, but most of our works remain in our specialized domains. This research network is a loosely organized group of scholars and institutions worldwide who are engaged in the study of peaceful change at the international and regional levels. It will make new initiatives and linkup existing projects so as to publicize them and bring them together in a platform freely accessible to all.

A special panel on the subject was held at the International Studies Association (ISA) conference in Toronto in March 2019 when the network was inaugurated. Some 25 scholars attended this inaugural meeting. Please see the list.

Two types of partnerships are possible: 1. Institutional; and 2.  Individual scholars who work in this area. We will publicize new research projects that emerge from this network members jointly and individually.

Bhubhindar Singh is an Associate Professor at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Nanyang Technological University (NTU), Singapore. Before joining NTU, Bhubhindar was a Sasakawa Lecturer in Japanese Studies at the School of East Asian Studies, University of Sheffield. He is a recipient of the Fulbright Award, and has held visiting positions at George Washington University, and National Institute of Defense Studies (NIDS), Japan. At RSIS, Bhubhindar is the Coordinator of the Regional Security Architecture Programme (RSAP), and Deputy Head of the Graduate Programmes Office (GPO). Bhubhindar’s main research area is in the international relations of Northeast Asia with a special focus on Japan’s security policy. His secondary research areas are international relations of Southeast Asia and security regionalism in East Asia. Bhubhindar has published in the European Journal of International Relations, International Relations of Asia-Pacific, The Pacific Review, Australian Journal of International Affairs, Asian Survey, Asian Security, Asia Policy, Japanese Journal of Political Science, Korean Journal of Defense Analyses, The Round Table, Contemporary Southeast Asia and Issues & Studies; and his book is entitled Japanese Security Identity Transformation: From a Peace-State to an International-State (Routledge 2013). Bhubhindar is a member of the Editorial Advisory Committee of the Asia Policy journal (published by the National Bureau of Asian Research).

T.V. Paul  is  James McGill Professor of International Relations in the Department of Political Science at McGill University, Montreal, and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada. He served as President of the International Studies Association (ISA) during 2016-17. Paul specializes in International Relations, especially international security and South Asia.  He received his undergraduate education from Kerala University, India; MPhil in International Studies from Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi; and Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). Paul is the author or editor of 21 books, nearly 85 journal articles and book chapters, and has lectured at universities and research institutions internationally. His 7 authored books are: Restraining Great Powers: Soft Balancing from Empires to the Global Era (Yale University Press, 2018); The Warrior State: Pakistan in the Contemporary World (Oxford University Press, 2014, with multiple editions and translations); Globalization and the National Security State (with N. Ripsman), (Oxford University Press, 2010); The Tradition of Non-use of Nuclear Weapons (Stanford University Press, 2009);  India in the World Order (Cambridge University Press, 2002, with B. Nayar); Power versus Prudence: Why Nations Forgo Nuclear Weapons (McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2000); and Asymmetric Conflicts: War Initiation by Weaker Powers (Cambridge University Press, 1994).

Paul is the editor or co-editor of 14 volumes including: The Oxford Handbook of Peaceful Change in International Relations, (with Deborah Larson, Harold Trinkunas, Anders Wivel and Ralf Emmers) International Institutions and Power Politics (with A. Wivel, Georgetown, 2019; China-India Rivalry in the Globalization Era, Georgetown, 2018;  Accommodating Rising Powers: Past, Present and Future, Cambridge, 2016; Status in World Politics, with W. Wholforth and D. Larson, Cambridge, 2014; International Relations Theory and Regional Transformation, Cambridge, 2012; South Asia’s Weak States: Understanding the Regional Insecurity Predicament, Stanford, 2010; Complex Deterrence: Strategy In the Global Age (with P.M. Morgan and J. J. Wirtz, Chicago, 2009; The India-Pakistan Conflict: An Enduring Rivalry, Cambridge, 2005; Balance of Power: Theory and Practice in the 21st Century, with J.J. Wirtz and M. Fortmann, Stanford, 2004; International Order and the Future of World Politics, with J.A. Hall, Cambridge, 1999, 2000 (twice), 2001, 2002 & 2003; and The Absolute Weapon Revisited: Nuclear Arms and the Emerging International Order, with R. Harknett and  J.J. Wirtz, Michigan, 1998 & 2000.

In November 2018, Paul was inducted into the Royal Society of Canada as a Fellow. In December 2009, Paul’s Book, The Tradition of Non-use of Nuclear Weapons was selected for inclusion in the Peace Prize Laureate Exhibition honoring President Barack Obama by the Nobel Peace Center, Oslo. Power versus Prudence was selected as an ‘Outstanding Academic Title for 2001’ by the Choice Magazine and as a “Book for Understanding’ by the American Association of University Presses. In March 2005 Maclean Magazine’s Guide to Canadian Universities rated Paul as one of the “most popular professors” at McGill University and in May 2005 Paul became the recipient of High Distinction in Research Award by McGill’s Faculty of Arts. During 2009-12 he served as the Director (Founding) of the McGill University/Université de Montreal Centre for International Peace and Security Studies (CIPSS). He has held visiting positions at Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (2014, 2017 &2018); Diplomatic Academy, Vienna (2014 onwards); UC Berkeley (2013); East-West Center, Honolulu (2013); the Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey (2002-03), Harvard University (1997-98), and as the KPS Menon Visiting Chair for Diplomacy (2011) and Erudite Fellow (2016) at the MG University, Kottayam, India. In addition to President, during 2009-11, he served as the Chair of the International Security Section (ISSS) of the ISA; in 2013-14 as Vice-President of ISA. As ISA president, he spearheaded a taskforce on improving conditions of Global South scholars in international studies. In 2010 he was appointed as the editor of the Georgetown University Press book series: South Asia in World Affairs. He is the founding director of GRENPEC and currently developing the network’s research agenda along with several colleagues from different parts of the world. For more, see: www.tvpaul.com

Arie M. Kacowicz is Professor of International Relations and the Chaim Weizmann Chair in International Relations at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel.  He received his Ph.D. from Princeton University in 1992 and has been a Visiting Professor at Georgetown University, Universidad Salvador (Buenos Aires), Alfonso X (Madrid), and the University of Notre Dame.  A Faculty member since 1993, he was the Chair of the Department of International Relations in 2005-2008 and currently is the President of the Israeli Association of Israeli Studies.  His research interests include peace studies, international relations of Latin America, globalization and global governance, and the normative dimension of international relations. His publications include Globalization and the Distribution of Wealth: The Latin American Experience, 1982-2008 (Cambridge University Press, 2013), Routledge Handbook of Latin American Security (co-edited with David Mares, Routledge 2016), and The Relevance of Regions in a Globalized World: Bridging the Social Sciences – Humanities Gap (co-edited with Galia Press-Barnathan and Ruth Fine, Routledge 2019); Peaceful Territorial Change (University of South Carolina Press: Columbia, SC, 1994);  Zones of Peace in the Third World: South America and West Africa in Comparative Perspective (Albany, NY: SUNY Press, 1998).

Kate Sullivan de Estrada is Director of the Contemporary South Asian Studies Programme and Associate Professor in the International Relations of South Asia at the University of Oxford. Her research seeks to understand India’s identity as a rising power and its behavior in relation to key institutions and norms of global governance. Her work on India and status seeking has engaged with the strategies Indian elites have adopted to seek accommodation and recognition within the global order, most extensively in her book with Rajesh BasrurRising India: Status and Power (2017). Other single-authored and co-authored works centre on conceptions of Indian exceptionalismpractices of compliance and resistance in India’s self-projection as a rising power; India’s conformity and innovation in relation to the nuclear non-proliferation regime (with Nicola Leveringhaus); and continuity and change in India’s approaches to non-proliferation and global climate governance (with Manjari Chatterjee Miller). What unites this work is Kate’s interest in deeply understanding the agency of rising powers — in particular how non-Western rising powers experience, respond to, and often (but certainly not always) reproduce hegemony ‘from below’. Deeply understanding rising power agency is crucial for assessing and proposing pathways for global peaceful change. Will rising powers conform to expectations of conflict-driven power transition or seek to avoid these? Will they uphold existing institutional norms and practices of global governance or seek to innovate new ones?  A deeper theorization of rising power agency, centered on the case of India, is the subject of Kate’s new monograph-in-progress.

Deborah Welch Larson is professor of political science at the University of California, Los Angeles. She received her Ph.D. from Stanford University.  Her research interests include the role of status concerns in influencing foreign policy, trust, and the use of psychology to explain American foreign policy decision making.  Her publications include: Origins of Containment: A Psychological Explanation (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1985); Anatomy of Mistrust: US-Soviet Relations during the Cold War (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1997); and Status and World Politics (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2014) (co-edited with T. V. Paul and William Wohlforth). Her book Anatomy of Mistrust applies social psychology to history to show how mistrust led to missed opportunities for U.S.-Soviet cooperation. That book continues to provoke scholarly interest and was featured at a 2011 conference of political scientists and historians at the Woodrow Wilson Center and in a subsequent edited volume by Stanford University Press, Trust but Verify (2016). She has most recently published Quest for Status: Chinese and Russian Foreign Policy (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2019), with Alexei Shevchenko, which uses social identity theory from social psychology to explain how China and Russia have used various strategies of emulation, competition, and creativity to gain recognition from other countries and thus validate their respective identities. Larson was a member of the Distinguished Jury for the 2019 Grawemeyer World Order Award.  Larson has served as Chair of the International History and Politics Section and President of the Foreign Policy Section for the American Political Science Association.  She was President of the Foreign Policy Analysis Section of the International Studies Association.  She is currently an Associate Editor for the journal Foreign Policy Analysis.

Markus Kornprobst holds the Chair of Political Science and International Relations at the Diplomatische Akademie Wien – Vienna School of International Studies. Previously holding positions at the University of Toronto, the Ohio State University, Oxford University and University College London, his research interests encompass Diplomacy, International Peace and Security, International Relations Theory, African Politics and European Politics. His research appears in leading journals such as the European Journal of International Relations, International Organization, International Studies Review, International Theory, Journal of Modern African Studies, Millennium, Nations and Nationalism, and the Review of International Studies. He is the author of Co-managing International Crises (Cambridge University Press 2019), Irredentism in European Politics (Cambridge University Press, 2008), co-author of Understanding International Diplomacy (Routledge, 2013 and 2018) as well as co-editor of Arguing Global Governance (Routledge, 2010), Metaphors of Globalization (Palgrave, 2007), and Communication, Legitimation and Morality in Modern Politics (Routledge, 2018). In 2018, he organized, together with Annette Seegers and Katharina P. Coleman an International Studies Association Catalytic Workshop, which was the first ISA workshop or conference in Africa. The outcome of the workshop, an edited volume entitled African Order, World Order: Diplomacy and Borderlands is forthcoming in the Routledge New Diplomacy Series. In addition to his scholarly work, Kornprobst has conducted numerous workshops to train African diplomats. Thus far, they have taken place in Angola, Botswana, Ghana, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Tunisia (for Libyan diplomats) and Uganda.

Kai He is Professor of International Relations at Griffith Asia Institute and Centre for Governance and Public Policy, Griffith University, Australia. He is a visiting Chair Professor of International Relations at the Zhou Enlai School of Government, Nankai University, China (2018-2021). He is currently an Australian Research Council (ARC) Future Fellow (2017-2020). He was a postdoctoral fellow in the Princeton-Harvard China and the World Program (2009-2010). He is the author of Institutional Balancing in the Asia Pacific: Economic Interdependence and China’s Rise (Routledge, 2009), Prospect Theory and Foreign Policy Analysis in the Asia Pacific: Rational Leaders and Risky Behavior (co-authored with Huiyun Feng, Routledge, 2013), and China’s Crisis Behavior: Political Survival and Foreign Policy (Cambridge, 2016). He is a co-editor (with Huiyun Feng) of US-China Competition and the South China Sea Disputes (Routledge, 2018) and Chinese Scholars and Foreign Policy: Debating International Relations (with Huiyun Feng and Xuetong Yan, Routledge, 2019). He is currently leading a research project “How China Sees the World” funded by the MacArthur Foundation, USA (2016-2019).

Andrej Krickovic is Assistant Professor of International Relations at the Faculty of World Economy and International Affairs, Higher School of Economics, Moscow. Before coming to HSE,  Krickovic completed his dissertation at the University of California at Berkeley and a postdoc at the Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies at Harvard University. Dr. Krickovic’s primary area of research are in International Security and International Relations Theory, with an empirical focus on China and Russia.  His articles have been published in International Studies Review, the Chinese Journal of International Relations, Post-Soviet Affairs, the Journal of Global Governance, Eurasian Geography and Economics, and the Journal of Global Security Studies.

Harold Trinkunas is the Deputy Director of and a Senior Research Scholar at the Center for International Security and Cooperation at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies at Stanford University. Prior to arriving at Stanford, Trinkunas served as the Charles W. Robinson Chair and senior fellow and director of the Latin America Initiative in the Foreign Policy program at the Brookings Institution. His research focuses on issues related to foreign policy, governance, and security, particularly in Latin America. Trinkunas has co-authored Militants, Criminals and Warlords: The Challenge of Local Governance in an Age of Disorder (Brookings Institution Press, 2017), Aspirational Power: Brazil’s Long Road to Global Influence (Brookings Institution Press, 2016) and authored Crafting Civilian Control of the Military in Venezuela (University of North Carolina Press, 2005). He co-edited and contributed to American Crossings: Border Politics in the Western Hemisphere (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2015), Ungoverned Spaces: Alternatives to State Authority in an Era of Softened Sovereignty(Stanford University Press, 2010),  and Terrorism Financing and State Responses (Stanford University Press, 2007).  Trinkunas previously served as an associate professor and chair of the Department of National Security Affairs at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California. He received his doctorate in political science from Stanford University in 1999.

Anders Wivel is Professor with special responsibilities in the Department of Political Science, University of Copenhagen. His research interests include foreign policy, in particular the foreign policies of small states, and international relations theory, in particular the realist tradition. His work has been published in a large number of academic journals including, e.g. Cooperation and Conflict, International Studies Review, Journal of Common Market Studies and Journal of European Integration. His most recent books are The Routledge Handbook of Scandinavian Politics (Routledge, 2018, co-edited with Peter Nedergaard) and International Institutions and Power Politics: Bridging the Divide (Georgetown University Press, 2019, co-edited with T.V. Paul). From 2017 to 2019 he served as chief investigator and deputy director of research at The Independent Inquiry of Denmark’s Military Participation in Kosovo, Afghanistan and Iraq.

Attendees at the GRENPEC Launch Meeting in Toronto, March 27, 2019

Rajesh Basrur (Nanyang Technological University)
Steve Chan (University of Colorado, Boulder)
Peter Markus Christensen (University of Copenhagen)
Anne Clunan (Naval Postgraduate School)
Neta C. Crawford (Boston University)
Feliciano de Sa Guimares (University of Sao Paulo)
Kal Holsti (University of British Columbia)
Arie Kacowicz (Hebrew University, Jerusalem)
Miles Kahler (American University)
Benny Miller (University of Haifa)
T.V. Paul (McGill University)
Norrin Ripsman (Lehigh University)
Bhubhindar Singh (Nanyang Technological University)
Lars Skalnes (University of Oregon)
Arturo Sotomayor (George Washington University)
Jeffrey W. Taliaferro (Tufts University)
Harold Trinkunas (Stanford University)
Shiping Tang (Fudan University, Shanghai)
Ole Waever (University of Copenhagen)
Anders Wivel (University of Copenhagen)

WC29: Understanding Peaceful Change in World Politics

When: Wednesday, March 27, 1:45 PM – 3:30 PM

 Where:Lismer, Hilton Toronto

 About this Roundtable


Understanding Peaceful Change in World Politics

Sponsored By


Abstract and Keywords

This roundtable will examine the causes and conditions that generate peaceful change in world politics, both at macro and micro-levels. When do we get peaceful power transitions, and non-violent accommodations and when do the opposite happen? Are all peaceful transitions good? What structural, and normative conditions are associated with peaceful change? What policy advice IR theorists can offer for transitions without war, especially in the current context involving China and the US?

Peace; Social Change; China

Alice Chessé is PhD candidate at McGill University Department of Political Science, and the administrative coordinator of GRENPEC since Fall 2021. She studies how global governance constitutes and transforms global inequalities. Her research interests include global economic governance, global historical sociology and decolonization. Her dissertation, A Global Meritocracy: The Making of Systemic Inequality in Multilateral Institutions, analyzes how the institutionalization of technocratic practices of diplomatic negotiations since 1945 has contributed to maintaining global colonial hierarchies long after the formal decolonization process. She investigates the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD)’s role in diplomatic negotiations with actors from the Global South over multilateral development policies and global redistributive justice since 1948. Beyond her dissertation, she also writes on the International Political Economy (IPE) of global inequality, feminist and post/decolonial theories of International Relations (IR), and International Practice Theory. She teaches IR Theory and (International) Political Economy.