CFP: Images of Sovereignty

Submission deadline: November 30, 2016

Conference date(s):
June 7, 2017 - June 9, 2017

Go to the conference's page

Conference Venue:

Institute of Philosophy, University of Leuven
Leuven, Belgium

Topic areas



The framing of sovereignty has always been controversial. From its earliest formulations onwards, it was unclear whether sovereignty should be imagined as absolute or divided, unlimited or constitutional, monarchical or popular.  Whereas it was once deemed irreplaceable, many observers now claim that it is nothing but an anachronism that should be abandoned.

Yet sovereignty continues to hold a strong grip on our imagination. From the EU's democratic deficit to the stark disagreement on referendums, from independence claims to questions of constitutional interpretation, and from federalism to supranational jurisdiction, it seems very difficult to imagine self-governing political communities without the notion of sovereignty.

The conference “Images of Sovereignty” aims to raise the issue of sovereignty by bringing together two fields of research: the historical debate on sovereignty as it was at play in the last decades of the eighteenth century and the first half of the nineteenth century on the one hand, and the contemporary debate on sovereignty on the other.

Call for papers:

We welcome contributions to the historical debate on sovereignty as well as discussions of sovereignty in the field of contemporary political and legal philosophy. We are particularly interested in submissions that connect the historical and the contemporary debates, and in submissions that investigate the role of sovereignty in our political and legal imagination. Focal points may include:

- The concept of sovereignty in general

- Sovereignty and constituent power

- Sovereignty and representation

- Sovereignty and constitutionalism

- Sovereignty and nationalism

Please send a 500-word abstract (in .doc, .docx or .pdf format) to by 30 November 2016. A selection will be made and communicated by 15 December 2016. Selected authors will be asked to submit their full paper one month before the conference and will receive 15 minutes to present their paper. 

This conference is organized by RIPPLE (Research in Political Philosophy Leuven), a research group at KU Leuven's Institute of Philosophy. It is part of a four-year research project on sovereignty in the Belgian constitution, a project that is jointly hosted by KU Leuven's Institute of Philosophy and KU Leuven's Faculty of Law.

For more information, please contact Olga Bashkina (

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