April 9-11, 2020, J.W. Marriott, LA Live
Los Angeles, California

The Western Political Science Association will host its 2020 annual meeting at the J.W. Marriott, L.A. Live, in Los Angeles, California. Please make plans to attend and encourage others to join us! The deadline for submission of paper proposals/program participation forms will be September 20, 2019.

If you are interested in shaping the content of the program by serving as a section chair, please contact:

Jessica Lavariega Monforti
2020 WPSA Program Chair
California Lutheran University
Email: jlavariega@callutheran.edu

Theme: The Boundaries of Belonging

Belonging, a sense or feeling that you are an important member of a group, or the lack thereof, is a fundamental component of political engagement. Attitudes and behavior of politicians and institutions shape the extent to which individuals and groups feel part of the larger whole. Unquestionably, the rhetoric and policies of the Trump administration have exerted pressure on the ways people, groups, and nations feel about their place in the U.S.; this has also led other nations to re-examine their relationship with the U.S. government. Some have argued that while the U.S. president pushes to build a physical wall to delineate clear boundaries, he is also building a figurative wall (or series of walls) in society. Others argue that Trump’s approach provides much-needed clarity about who belongs and who does not. Division abounds.

While there is nothing new about political disagreement and division or about defining who does or does not belong, some say the depth and breadth of this change in our current context is unique. Hate groups are on the rise, as are voices that are anti-immigrant, anti-intellectual, and anti-government. These trends are political in and of themselves, and they have political consequences. At the same time, these challenges do not appear to be a concern for some who posit we live in a post-racial society, or that immigration reform and walls are about the economic health of the nation – not race and ethnicity. How can we address and reconcile these two different worldviews in our politics?

Social scientists -- political scientists specifically -- have made important contributions to our understanding of political incorporation and alienation, yet the attention devoted by the field as a whole remains inadequate, and the subject often receives limited coverage in undergraduate and graduate curricula. The question of belonging engages all subfields of our discipline.

We invite proposals that investigate and expand our understanding of the politics of belonging – why have we seen this question about belonging rise at this particular time in our collective history? Who decides who belongs and what are the consequences of those decisions? What is gained or what might be achieved when the question of belonging is engaged?

Please note: All participants in the program are required to preregister for the 2020 WPSA meeting by December 31, 2019.