CFP Whither Republicanism? Theory and practice in the contemporary Anglosphere

Call for papers


Whither Republicanism? Theory and practice in the contemporary Anglosphere

University of Cergy-Pontoise, 10 & 11 May 2019


“Free nations are the best vehicle for expressing the will of the
people […].”[1]


In the age of monarchy both the concept and the realisation of
republicanism were revolutionary. In the 230 years since the drafting
of the US Constitution, the republican model has been adopted and
adapted in various forms around the world. This workshop will examine
the state of republicanism in the Anglophone world from the
perspective of the 21st century. Papers will attempt to address
misconceptions or new emphases that may shape the focus of future
research into political thought, political action and revolutionary
rhetoric associated with republican movements. Questions as to the
resilience of republican movements and nations in the face of populist
pressures will also be explored.


Though the United Kingdom catalysed many early republican movements it
remains a constitutional monarchy while many of its former possessions
maintain republican governments. As Brexit approaches, the UK faces a
constitutional crisis which may lead to the end of the union with
Scotland and alter the UK’s current relationship with Northern
Ireland. Brexit provides an ideal opportunity to reassess
republicanism in the UK. Could parts of the UK become independent
republics post-Brexit? Could such a trauma inspire a republican
movement in the remaining countries of the UK?


Despite several republican inspired rebellions from 1798 onwards,
Ireland only became a republic in 1949. However republicanism,
republican thinkers and revolutionaries and the republican ideal form
the origin myths of most modern Irish political parties and the Irish
state. But in recent years republicanism and the word “Republican”
have, both in popular discourse and nomenclature, been co-opted or
indeed usurped by revolutionary movements that view the Republic of
Ireland as, at best, only partly legitimate.


The Commonwealth includes countries that are federal constitutional
monarchies such as Australia and Canada and republics like South
Africa, India, Cyprus, Malta etc. What effect will constitutional
changes in the UK have on the Commonwealth and especially on the
countries that retain constitutional monarchies?


The USA is convulsed in the Age of Trump, a president propelled to
power through his effective marshalling of a base that, on the surface
at least, idealises the republican doctrine enshrined in the
Declaration of Independence and the US Constitution. However it may be
asked whether American republicanism is challenged or enhanced by his
populist movement and whether this very populism might lead to
outcomes which will undermine the founding principles of the federal


This workshop aims to confront the conceptualisation of republicanism
with the diversified realities of the 21st century Anglophone world.
To what extent do republicans (and their opponents) in different
nations refer to a similar ideal; what theoretical and practical
meanings do they ascribe to it? This conference will welcome proposals
for papers that explore facets of contemporary republicanism, their
relationship to historical republican theory, and their resilience,
reconceptualisations or challenges, in any of the English-speaking
nations (the United Kingdom or any component thereof, Ireland, the
United States, or any of the Commonwealth states).


Prospective participants are invited to submit proposals (i.e., a
title and explanatory thematic outline) to co-organisers Frank Rynne
( and Adrien Rodd ( by 21
February at the latest. The workshop, co-organised by the AGORA and
CHCSC research laboratories, will be held at the University of Cergy
on May 10th, with a possible continuation on May 11th.


[1] Donald J Trump, Address to joint session of Congress, 28 Feb 2017.


The PDF version of the CFP is available here: call for papers – Republicanism in the Anglosphere-2