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Acharya, Amitav. A New Agenda for International Studies
, Acharya, A. (2014) “Global International Relations (ir) and Regional Worlds: A New Agenda for International Studies,” International Studies Quarterly, 58(4), pp. 647–659.
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, Contributed by: Thorwen Uiterwaal
Abstract:

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.

Comment: Discusses a new approach to IR by advocating for a Global IR. An alternative to the western concepts of states and agency. Also includes alternative approaches for main IR theories such as realism, liberalism and constructivsim.

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Bernal-Meza, Raúl. Contemporary Latin American thinking on International Relations: theoretical, conceptual and methodological contributions
2016, Revista Brasileira de Política Internacional, 59(1). doi: 10.1590/0034-7329201600105.
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Abstract: This article analyses recent productions of Latin American thinking on international affairs. The reviewed cases and examples are interrelated, for they are explanatory and interpretative abstractions of processes and practices in the international field, characterized by a description of formulations, concepts and methodological contributions. The common feature of these dimensions is the will of their formulators to explain their national and regional political realities from their own perspectives. Recent contributions offer potential for generalizations from national cases. They account for new realities that may impact on the international and regional system of international affairs.

Comment: Discusses perspectives from the South on IR theory. Interesting to discuss in comparison with classical IR theory from the North.

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Bimha, Primrose, Z. J. The Status of African Women in Foreign Policy
2021, Bimha, P, Z.J. (2021). The Status of African Women in Foreign Policy. E-International Relations.
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Abstract: ‘The Status of African Women in Foreign Policy’ focuses on the necessity of reducing the underrepresentation of African women in foreign policy, the barriers that hinder this development, and solutions to overcome those. According to Bimha, filling the gender gap, or solving the underrepresentation of women, will constitute the end of discrimination against women. Moreover, she argues, this is necessary to repair the currently male-dominated nature of international relations and will complement to reformation process of gender stereotypes, namely, “men as decision-makers and women as subjects of war-related decisions”. However, Bimha recognizes that certain barriers that this underrepresentation are alive. She notes that, although the number of female representatives is increasing, these women are often assigned to less significant posts. The impact of IR & politics being male-dominated The heads of state often make diplomatic appointments. If a head of state, which is often male, is conservative, he is less likely to appoint female diplomats, as they are often very progressive and transformation-oriented. This is also apparent in party-bias, a phenomenon where party leaders prefer to promote male candidates over female candidates. , even though female candidates have not been proven to attract fewer votes than male candidates. The underrepresentation of women in politics is a vicious cycle, with males in the male-dominated field of IR theory and politics preferring the appointment of men over the appointment of women. This is reinforced by sociocultural standards and expectations, as African women are still mostly associated with the domestic sphere. However, little attention is paid to IR theory and politics being male-dominated, even though it is apparent that this does have a big impact on the underrepresentation of women in the field. The underrepresentation of feminism in the IR curriculum and its consequences In the ‘Introduction Course International Relations’ at Utrecht University, different IR theories have been discussed. While extensive attention has been paid to especially realism and liberalism, which are both male-dominated IR theories, feminism has been discussed for exactly 3 minutes and 48 seconds during the lecture on IR theories and has not been discussed in the seminars to the same extent as the other IR theories. This is a great although a small example of feminism theories being vastly underrepresented in the IR curriculum. Therefore, Bimha argues that the international relations curriculum should be reformed into a more gender-sensitive one with an increased focus on feminism and female contributions in the field. The importance of spreading awareness of IR and politics being male-dominated can be illustrated by a small comparison with another article on women in international relations. The other article reviewed appoints the underrepresentation of women in the IR field to them being a minority group and therefore behaving differently, or them focussing on topics that are not considered important in mainstream IR. These arguments may seem plausible to people who lack the understanding that the field of IR is male-dominated. But students who are aware of this unequal representation may ask the following questions: who steers mainstream IR research? What causes women to be a minority in the field of IR? Who keeps that disbalance intact? Thinking about these questions and critically reviewing the conclusions of reports on women in international relations is a crucial step in academics. However, the ability to perform this critical thinking is subject to one’s understanding of the field. Therefore, awareness of and the spread of knowledge on the IR field being male-dominated, thereby reinforcing the vicious cycle of women being underrepresented, is incredibly important and should be part of the IR curriculum.

Comment: The article is a must-read for international relations students. An eye-opener for students who lack knowledge of, or the understanding of, the importance of feminism in IR theory and politics. Bimha excellently explains the sociocultural discrimination African female academics and politicians disproportionally face in their careers and explains the importance of overcoming these barriers and closing the gender gap. The article outlines the importance of feminism and why feminism should be taught more thoroughly in the IR curriculum.

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Chen, Ching-Chang. The absence of non-western IR theory in Asia reconsidered
2010, International Relations of the Asia-Pacific, 11(1), pp. 1–23.
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Abstract:

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.

Comment: Ching-Chang Chen discusses how to shift the western focus in IR to a non-western one. His article makes an important point in that simply calling for greater incorporation of ideas beyond the west will not make IR more global - we need to move beyond tokenistic inclusion towards transforming the Eurocentric foundations of the discipline. Moreover, the article argues that scholarship to produce Asian IR theorising has maintained the treatment of the East and West as oppositional entities, and thus reinforces the structural dominance of Western theories in IR. The author calls for decolonisation as necessary for the democratization of IR which must take place not only in the periphery, ie in Asian countries, but also in the core. This article is suitable for an introductory course on global/postcolonial IR and can be used as a basis for the debate on decolonising the typically western discipline of IR.

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Grovogui, Siba. Postcolonial Criticism: International reality and modes of inquiry
2002, Power, Postcolonialism and International Relations: Reading Race, Gender. Eds Geeta, C. and Nair, S.
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Comment: Chapter found in the book Power, Postcolonialism and International Relations : Reading Race, Gender and Class. The book uses postcolonial theory to examine the implications of race, class, and gender relations for the structuring of world politics. The book includes chapters from several non-Western scholars. Whereas alternative narratives provided by non-Western could shed new light on specific issues in IR, Grovogui criticizes the study of IR itself. He focuses on the lack of Western IR scholars’ openness to postcolonial ideas about IR. The chapter provides a reflection on IR theories and concepts as they are mostly constructed by Western scholars.

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Grovogui, Siba N'Zatioula. A Revolution Nonetheless: The Global South in International Relations
2011, The Global South , Vol. 5, No. 1, 175-190
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, Contributed by: Silvester Beerens
Abstract:

There have been debates on the meaning and appropriateness of the term Global South. To many, no unifying term can apply to regions and countries whose differences extent to the colonial past, cultural traditions, economic trajectories, and administrative or organizational structures. The critics are mistaken. This essay postulates that the term Global South is a symbolic designation with political implications. It is meant to capture a cohesion that emerged when former colonial entities engaged in political projects of decolonization and moved toward the realization of a postcolonial international order. As it stands today, the Global South has its origins in twentieth-century anti-colonialism, the 1955 Bandung Conference, the 1961 NonAligned Movement, and Cuba’s Tricontinentalism, among others.
Although the term Global South gained currency at the end of the Cold War, when the term Third World seemed to fall into disfavor, the change does not signify a renunciation of the ‘Third World.’ It merely signals an adjustment in ideological and political positioning to reflect the new forms of contentions around the legacies of colonialism. Thus, the Global South captures the spirit of Third World engagements in that it continues to invite re-examinations of the intellectual, political, and moral foundations of the international system. The Global South is therefore a multifaceted movement that underscores the need for a postcolonial international community of interest that advances the objectives of equality, freedom, and mutuality in the form of a new ethos of power and subjectivity through
foreign policy, international solidarity, and responsibility to self and others in an international order free of the institutional legacies of colonialism. Finally, as a movement, the Global South has no central structure, no central command, and no appointed spokesperson. It has had multiple custodians, all of them self-selected, in reaction to the deepening and multifaceted violence experienced at the moment by its members.

Comment: This text discusses both the outwards representation of the Global South and the internal identity. It makes clear how the Global South came to be what it is today and how this evolved from the Cold War onwards. Useful for a course on the global Cold War, post WWII IR etc.

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Messari, Nizar. National Security, the political space, and citizenship: the case of Morocco and the Western Sahara
2001, The Journal of North African Studies, 6(4), pp. 47–63.
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Abstract: In this article, the issue of the Western Sahara is addressed by linking it to that of democratisation; to establish this link the argument is threefold. I first refer to the construction of Morocco's national political space by creating a national identity and considering those of Algeria and the Sahrawi. The issue of the Moroccan regime and its strategies for survival by taking the lead in the Western Sahara issue is examined. Finally both the relevance and the influence of the future of the Western Sahara in the evolution of the current Moroccan political transition is considered.

Comment: This article gives an example of foreign influence that a state might have and how this shapes the neighbouring countries but also its own national politics. It discusses the disputed territory of the Western Sahara and can be used in teaching on Moroccan history, foreign policy and conflict.

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Nkiwane, Tandeka. Africa and International Relations: Regional Lessons for a Global Discourse
2001, International Political Science Review / Revue internationale de science politique, 22(3), pp. 279–290.
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, Contributed by: Sascha Jongsma
Abstract:

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.

Comment: Discusses the contribution to international relations that can be made by Africa and African scholars. Can be used in a course on demainstreaming IR, or postcolonial IR, arguing that the production of knowledge in the context of dominant and imperial relations of power has led to an inaccurate perception of African contributions to the discipline of IR. Important text showing that contributions of African cases, African debates, and African scholarship will enhance theory-building in the field and challenge many of the assumptions held by some theorists.

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Odoom, Isaac, Adrews, Nathan. What/who is still missing in International Relations scholarship? Situating Africa as an agent in IR theorising
2016, Third World Quarterly 38, no. 1 (2016): pp. 42-60
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, Contributed by: Sarah Schmeitz
Abstract:

This paper engages with non-Western, specifically African, scholarship and insight with the goal of highlighting the importance of African contributions to IR theorising. We highlight the Western dominance in IR theorising and examine the inadequacy of the major analytical constructs provided by established IR theory in capturing and explaining shifting reality in Africa. We argue that African insights, experience and ideas present a challenge to dominant IR constructs and knowledge within the international system, and that these insights, when taken seriously, would enrich our understanding of IR. We show this by problematising some central (often taken-for-granted) IR concepts such as the state, liberalism and individualism and underscore the need to reconstruct more encompassing ‘stories’ and images to innovate, revise and potentially replace some of the conventional ‘stories’ that have been told in IR.

Comment: Provides a good overview on the importance of non-western perspectives within IR theory, useful to make students aware of the level of eurocentrism in IR.

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Parashar, Swati. What wars and ‘war bodies’ know about international relations
2013, Cambridge Review of International Affairs, 26(4), pp. 615–630.
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, Contributed by: Caroline Mathilda Rohr
Abstract: 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.

Comment: Her work focuses on South Asian conflict from a feminist theory perspective. She focuses on the lived experiences of 'war bodies' and how including these factors can change narratives prominent in International Relations. Parashar criticises mainstream IR for being ideological in their focus on macro narratives of war, as other important factors are included in their inquiry, since it is argued they are not concerned by war. The main argument in this article is that the nature of war should not be accepted as an ontological reality. This article can be used in conflict studies as well as international relations, and provides an application of IR theories.

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Sebhatu, Rahel Weldeab. Applying postcolonial approaches to studies of Africa-EU relations
2020, Applying postcolonial approaches to studies of Africa-EU relations. In "The Routledge handbook of EU-Africa relations". eds Haastrup, T., Mah Luís and Duggan, N. Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge (Routledge international handbooks).
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Abstract:

This chapter outlines the importance of postcolonial approaches for the study of Africa-EU relations. It contextualises such approaches in negotiation practices and outcomes of the EU proposed Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs). Though academic literature on Africa-EU relations tends to define such relations as being asymmetrical, the politics around the negotiations of the EPAs through postcolonial lenses reveals contestations around the assumptions of such asymmetries. The very constitution of the EU was also a product of colonial legacy. The pursuits of European colonisers stretched throughout the world, but unlike the Americas and Asia, Africa held a special place in the efforts to construct European economic integration. Since the 1990s, Africa-EU relations have been based on neoliberal principles, with the EU considering trade and market liberalisation as central to poverty reduction while African leaders have also equated it with development.

Comment: This chapter can be used in a course on European Integration and the European project, and how it interacts with the legacy of colonialism, as well as on projects of regionalism elsewhere.

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Zarakol, Ayşe. After Defeat: How the East Learned to Live with the West
2011, After defeat : how the east learned to live with the west. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press (Cambridge studies in international relations, 118).
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Not being of the West; being behind the West; not being modern enough; not being developed or industrialized, secular, civilized, Christian, transparent, or democratic - these descriptions have all served to stigmatize certain states through history. Drawing on constructivism as well as the insights of social theorists and philosophers, After Defeat demonstrates that stigmatization in international relations can lead to a sense of national shame, as well as auto-Orientalism and inferior status. Ayşe Zarakol argues that stigmatized states become extra-sensitive to concerns about status, and shape their foreign policy accordingly. The theoretical argument is supported by a detailed historical overview of central examples of the established/outsider dichotomy throughout the evolution of the modern states system, and in-depth studies of Turkey after the First World War, Japan after the Second World War, and Russia after the Cold War

Comment: The author attempts to understand East-West relations by examining the dynamics that constructed the behaviour of the East towards the West and vice versa. Zarakol argues that within the international system, following major historical events such as the both World Wars, the Western states continued to be understood as the 'insiders', while their Eastern counterparts became 'outsider' states. This outsider status resulted in stigmatisation of the states she studies, and through being stigmatised the outsiders felt inferior and their access to certain political, economic and social privileges was hindered. The book is therefore a highly useful overview of East-West relations for students of the history of international relations, and can be used within the debate about East-West relations in the post-Cold War world. This book is also useful for understanding how theoretical concepts in diplomatic history/ international relations can be applied to real-world cases.

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Zondi, Siphamandla. Decolonising International Relations and Its Theory: A Critical Conceptual Meditation
2018, Politikon 45(1): 16-31.
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, Contributed by: Andrea Bányácskiová
Abstract: 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.

Comment: The paper discusses the immensely colonial nature of the discipline of International Relations and thus the increasing need to decolonise not only IR, but knowledge and power in science, in general - great topic for discussion.

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