Rees, J. (2010). The Next Big Thing? Why religion may (not) shape international relations in the 21st century. American Graduate School of International Relations in Paris Graduate Conference.
The exponential growth of IR studies in religion and the rise of religious actors and agendas in the minds of international policy makers suggest that religion will be an organising force in world politics of the future. This paper explores from an open critical position the assumption that religion will shape the evolving borders of world affairs. As modern international relations was partly borne of the need to contain the borders of religion, it is argued that the reemergence of religion in contemporary world politics may, paradoxically, reinforce that same system. Twenty-first century policy makers may thus take a neo-Westphalian turn in search of a broad-based secular polity that utilises yet also contains religio-political energies.