CfP: Fortress Europe or E Pluribus Unum? : Multilevel governance, migration and asylum policy in the EU. Deadline: 05/03/2016

Fortress Europe or E Pluribus Unum? : Multilevel governance, migration and asylum policy in the EU, September 22-24, 2016 in Chicago, IL

Submission deadline: March 5th, 2016

The European Union (EU) is facing an unprecedented crisis as hundreds of thousands of refugees and migrants are risking their lives attempting to reach destinations across Europe. The crisis has demonstrated that the EU’s existing system of governance for asylum and migration is inadequate and fundamentally flawed. As member states – from Greece to Finland to Hungary to Germany – adopt divergent responses, European policy frameworks from the Dublin Regulations to the Schengen system are unraveling. The crisis is straining all levels of European governance, from local authorities to the EU. Ill-equipped and under-funded municipalities have transformed into tent cities, while regional and national governments are struggling to document and process thousands of applicants.  At the EU level, intense normative and economic conflicts have arisen concerning the appropriate response to the inflow of refugees.  Coming on the back of a long period of economic crisis and austerity, the refugee crisis is sparking a battle over resources and a struggle over competing visions of Europe: one that is accepting and tolerant and the other xenophobic and ethnocentric. These clashes are testing the political foundations of the European Union as they reveal powerful centrifugal trends that favor closed borders and narrowly defined ethnic and national identities.

This academic symposium, a joint effort between the University of Illinois and Rutgers University, will bring together scholars working of questions of EU governance as well as migration policy to present their most recent research. The symposium is supported by a generous grant from the European Union Studies Association (EUSA).  We are currently soliciting proposals touching on one or more of the following topics:

  • How have policymakers across the EU, including at the supranational, national, and sub-national levels, responded to the refugee crisis? 
  • How is mass migration affecting the interaction between the different levels of EU governance? 
  • What are the possible long-term strategies to address the ongoing refugee crisis?
  • What does the combination of large migratory flows and politics of austerity mean for European politics at the national, local and/or supranational level?
  • What does the past teach us about the current crisis in Europe? Do the exchange of populations and refugee waves of the post-WWI era provide a lens for our understanding of European political dynamics today?
  • Is the crisis moving the EU in a more federalist, a more regionalist, or a more nationalist direction? How might the crisis affect the shaping of European identity? 

The symposium will take place on September 22-24th, 2016 at the University of Illinois, Chicago campus.  The deadline for submission of abstracts (300-500 words) is March 5th, 2016 via email to Amanda D’Urso,  Travel and accommodation will be covered for selected participants. Invitations to participate will be extended by March 30. Invited participants will be expected to circulate an article-length paper to the organizers and all participants by September 15th, 2016. We envision that this workshop will result in a special issue of an academic journal or an edited volume publication as well as long-term lasting collaborations among participants.

Contact the organizers with any questions:

Alexandra Filindra, University of Illinois, Chicago (

Petia Kostadinova, University of Illinois, Chicago (

Daniel Kelemen, Rutgers University (