In this transnational account of black protest, Nicholas Grant examines how African Americans engaged with, supported, and were inspired by the South African anti-apartheid movement. Bringing black activism into conversation with the foreign policy of both the U.S. and South African governments, this study questions the dominant perception that U.S.-centered anticommunism decimated black international activism. Instead, by tracing the considerable amount of time, money, and effort the state invested into responding to black international criticism, Grant outlines the extent to which the U.S. and South African governments were forced to reshape and occasionally reconsider their racial policies in the Cold War world. This study shows how African Americans and black South Africans navigated transnationally organized state repression in ways that challenged white supremacy on both sides of the Atlantic. The political and cultural ties that they forged during the 1940s and 1950s are testament to the insistence of black activists in both countries that the struggle against apartheid and Jim Crow were intimately interconnected.
How do we ‘decolonise’ the field of International Relations? The aim to decolonise has become a widely discussed and mentioned subject across the social sciences and humanities. The article aims to discuss what ‘decolonisation’ might mean in the context of the field of International Relations.
This paper aims to introduce a neglected methodology from Japanese international relations (IR) – the culturalist methodology – to Anglophone specialists in IR. This methodology is neglected not only by an Anglophone audience but also by Japanese IR scholars. I argue here that despite this negligence, the culturalist methodology has great potential to contribute to contemporary post-Western international relations theory (IRT) literature by posing radical questions about the ontology of IR, as it questions not only the ontology of Western IR, but also the IR discourses developed in the rest of the world. Consequently, in understanding and imagining the contemporary world, I clarify the importance of perceptions based on what, in Japan, are commonly called ‘international cultural relations’ (kokusai bunka) and ‘regional history’ (chiikishi). I also indicate how our perceptions of the world are limited by the Westphalian principles of state sovereignty and non-intervention among ‘equal’ nations on the basis of state borders. While historical understanding is widely recognised as an important approach to contemporary IR, its scope is limited by its universalised principles.
Case studies, theories, and examples from Africa are exceedingly rare in international relations. Indeed, examples from Africa
are, at best, valued for their nuisance potential. This article argues that the study of international relations is limited by this interpretation of Africa, and by a larger ignorance of African contributions. Key debates on the African continent surrounding the central concepts of mainstream international relations, including the state, power, and self-determination, are interrogated with a view to expanding their use in contemporary international relations. The examples of apartheid South Africa, the African debate on political economy and development, and African perspectives on questions raised by the liberal paradigm, are used to illustrate the importance of the region to the more global discourses. In examining the important contribution of African scholarship to debates central to international relations, this article highlights the necessity for engaging African scholars in the broader discourses of international relations.
What happens when the ‘international’ as a distinct social space is approached from the perspective of war rather than war from the perspective of the ‘international’? Tarak Barkawi’s question (Millennium, 39:3, 2011, 701–706) is best answered by attempts to understand war not as part of inter/intra-state relations but as a socio cultural, trans-historical institution that impacts on the ‘everyday’ lives of men, women and children. In this article I argue that war is not a disruption of the ‘everyday’, an abstraction that has a definite beginning and end, something we enter into and exit. Instead, it can be captured in daily and mundane lived experiences of people and in powerful emotions that constitute ‘self’, community and the ‘other.’ Drawing upon my research on wars in South Asia, I particularly reflect on how war shapes the banal and the fervent and how cultural and political narratives of ‘war bodies’ perform the ‘international’ in a variety of ways. Most significantly I want to draw attention to how international relations as a scholarly discipline is so deeply engaged with war and yet seems to have an estranged relationship with it.
One of the main implications of the push for transition from the monoculture of Eurocentric scientific knowledge towards the ecology of knowledge is to force us to pose the question: what does a decolonial turn in International Relations (IR) entail? This article grapples with this question in light of growing demands for a decolonial turn in knowledge and power. The aim is to meditate on this question with a view to open up new avenues for a structured conversation on decolonising IR and its theory. This imperative to decolonise is linked to the question of epistemic justice with implications for the epistemological structure underpinning IR, methodological frameworks for the study of IR, theoretical outlines and the teaching of the discipline. Epistemic justice is a necessity alongside historical justice for those on the margins of a world system constructed with the help of imperialism, systematic enslavement and colonialism. This article discusses the question of the decolonial turn in IR in the hope of stimulating debates on the views of the margins regarding the present state and the future of this area of knowledge, and thus move us closer to an ecology of knowledge and power.
In this essay, we argue that race has yet to be integrated as an analytical category shaping the study and teaching of international relations. We suggest that although the issues of race and gender are systematically coded into central concepts in the discipline, they are made invisible through a ‘‘series of ontological and epistemological maneuvers.’’ Focusing on two concepts central to the discipline—sovereignty and the nationstate—we suggest that race can be better integrated into the teaching of international relations by focusing on the ways in which these maneuvers structure the geographies and politics of exclusion and inclusion in international relations. We conclude that raising questions about the ways in which race is taught in the academy is in itself critical—what we teach, how we teach, and who teaches are all questions that need repeated airing for achieving interpretative autonomy as well as a transformative politics.
The discipline of International Relations (IR) does not reflect the voices, experiences, knowledge claims, and contributions of the vast majority of the societies and states in the world, and often marginalizes those outside the core countries of the West. With IR scholars around the world seeking to find their own voices and reexamining their own traditions, our challenge now is to chart a course toward a truly inclusive discipline, recognizing its multiple and diverse foundations. This article presents the notion of a “Global IR” that transcends the divide between the West and the Rest. The first part of the article outlines six main dimensions of Global IR: commitment to pluralistic universalism, grounding in world history, redefining existing IR theories and methods and building new ones from societies hitherto ignored as sources of IR knowledge, integrating the study of regions and regionalisms into the central concerns of IR, avoiding ethnocentrism and exceptionalism irrespective of source and form, and recognizing a broader conception of agency with material and ideational elements that includes resistance, normative action, and local constructions of global order. It then outlines an agenda for research that supports the Global IR idea. Key element of the agenda includes comparative studies of international systems that look past and beyond the Westphalian form, conceptualizing the nature and characteristics of a post-Western world order that might be termed as a Multiplex World, expanding the study of regionalisms and regional orders beyond Eurocentric models, building synergy between disciplinary and area studies approaches, expanding our investigations into the two-way diffusion of ideas and norms, and investigating the multiple and diverse ways in which civilizations encounter each other, which includes peaceful interactions and mutual learning. The challenge of building a Global IR does not mean a one-size-fits-all approach; rather, it compels us to recognize the diversity that exists in our world, seek common ground, and resolve conflicts.
This article deploys world-systems analysis and the concept of coloniality to
examine the experience of the African people within the modern world-system
since 1492, a date that figuratively marks the birth of the modern world-system
and its shifting international orders. Africa’s experience is contextualized within
six international orders: the post-1492 order, the Westphalian order that emerged
in 1648, the post-1884–1885 Berlin consensus, the post-1945 United Nations
normative order, the Cold War epoch that ended in 1989, the current neoliberal
dispensation as well as the post 9/11 anti-terrorism and securitization. While
Africans have actively contested Euro–North American hegemony throughout these
periods, they have not yet succeeded in breaking the strong global technologies of
coloniality that continue to prevent the possibilities of African agency. This is why
this article ends with a call for deepening the decolonization and deimperialization
of the international order in the twenty-first century.
This paper critically examines an ongoing debate in International Relations (IR) as to why there is apparently no non-Western IR theory in Asia and what should be done to ‘mitigate’ that situation. Its central contention is that simply calling for greater incorporation of ideas from the non-West and contributions by non-Western scholars from local ‘vantage points’ does not make IR more global or democratic, for that would do little to transform the discipline’s Eurocentric epistemological foundations. Re-envisioning IR in Asia is not about discovering or producing as many ‘indigenous’ national schools of IR as possible, but about reorienting IR itself towards a post-Western era that does not reinforce the hegemony of the West within (and without) the discipline. Otherwise, even if local scholars could succeed in crafting a ‘Chinese (or Indian, Japanese, Korean, etc.) School’, it would be no more than constructing a ‘derivative discourse’ of Western modernist social science.