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About the Series

Global IR is the idea of a more inclusive and pluralistic approach to international studies—an attempt to expand and enrich IR by accounting for the ideas and agency of the vast majority of humankind. The world is bigger than the West, and a truly Global IR would include international relations and area/regional studies from a multi-thematic and multi-disciplinary perspective. It would incorporate into the curriculum the diversity that exists in our world, including issues related to race, gender, and postcolonial/decolonial identity. SIS is taking a leadership role in the movement toward Global IR through events, co-organized by SIS professors Amitav Acharya and Patrick Thaddeus Jackson, that encourage scholars in the field to build connections, consensus, and momentum.

Past Event Summaries

Opening Remarks by Christine BN Chin, SIS Dean

Dean Chin explains in her opening remarks that SIS’s Global IR Dialogues is a new initiative to rethink and redefine international relations (IR) for the twenty-first century. International relations, like much of social sciences and humanities, has been dominated by Western narratives, ideas, and institutions. One key element of Global IR is to recognize the histories, ideas, practices, and contributions of societies and actors that have been neglected or marginalized in the existing IR literature. She says that SIS is not only one of the largest schools of its kind, but it also draws in students, faculty, and staff from all parts of the world. With the emergence of other nations and regions and the growing demand for a level playing field among peoples of different races, genders, and cultures, it is imperative for the SIS community to step up its teaching, research, and networking activities to reflect the new realities of the world. Dean Chin explains that these Global IR Dialogues will advance SIS’s core strengths and mission, building a worldwide community of scholars and practitioners that combine academic excellence with respect for diversity. 

Part I Moderated by SIS professor Amitav Acharya. Panelists: Cynthia Enloe, professor, Clark University; and Michael Barnett, professor, George Washington University

Acharya explains in his opening remarks the purpose of the Global IR Dialogues and the use of the terms “Global” and “IR” before introducing the panelists and opening up the dialogue. Barnett begins his presentation by offering his views of Global IR, including his observations of how some in the traditional US-EU IR community look at Global IR as a politics movement and the internationalization of IR. To set up discussion, he then questions what Global IR fully represents and stands for, the purpose of Global IR, the limits of Global IR, and if the tension in Global IR is really about the “West versus the rest.” Enloe begins her opening presentation with her opinions regarding the Western focus of IR and about country specificities in published titles of research articles, and then she discusses how she builds her syllabi and teaches more nuanced and engaging IR courses. During the panelist dialogue, Acharya, Barnett, and Enloe further discuss the purpose of Global IR, Eurocentric bias, ethnocentrism, and the importance of bottom-up research in IR. The panel then answers audience questions on Global IR versus other post Eurocentric approaches and the use of the terms of "Western” and “non-Western" in IR.  

Part IIModerated by SIS professor Patrick Thaddeus Jackson. Panelists: Fernanda Barasuol, professor, Universidade do Vale do Taquari (Univates); and Antje Wiener, professor, University of Hamburg

In his opening remarks, Jackson invites us to question where IR has not been sufficiently global. Wiener begins by sharing details about her teaching, theorizing, and research; discussing diversity in publishing; and talking about the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has allowed us to hear more from different regional perspectives and to connect in a new way. With a perspective from the Global South, Barasuol discusses how the changes in the world order affect IR, talks about the existing hierarchies in teaching and publishing, and questions who gets to participate in conversations about academia and scholarship in both the Global North and the Global South. Jackson, Wiener, and Barasuol then further discuss hierarchy in academia, social contracts and climate change, publishing, and the purpose of academic work in Global IR. The panel then answers audience questions on manifesting Global IR on syllabi and the existing IR theories that are “tested.” Jackson ends the discussion by explaining why we must look at IR not just as an intellectual movement but as a sociological construction.

Part I Moderated by SIS professor Patrick Thaddeus Jackson. Panelists: Ann Tickner, professor emerita, University of Southern California & distinguished scholar in residence, School of International Service; and Cameron Thies, professor, Arizona State University

Jackson explains in his opening remarks why SIS is hosting Global IR Dialogues and how this series furthers SIS’s vision to advance a more inclusive, equitable, and pluralistic approach to international affairs. Tickner then discusses her time at the hospital recovering from COVID-19, offering a gender analysis of her caregivers, the state responses to the pandemic worldwide, and health care and public health infrastructure. Thies opens his presentation by addressing how changes in world order affect international relations, discussing how to develop teaching concepts and approaches to advance the Global IR agenda, and sharing some publications and networking opportunities for global higher discussion around the world. Jackson, Tickner, and Thies then further discuss the institutional organization of the study of international affairs and whether Global IR is a distinctive concept or a new way of framing existing trends. Last, the panel answers audience questions on the effects of the pandemic on the development of Global IR, Global IR as a research agenda, and whether Global IR theory rivals traditional IR theory.

Part IIModerated by SIS professor Amitav Acharya. Panelists: Diana Tussie, professor, FLASCO/Argentina; and Randolph Persaud, professor, School of International Service

In his opening remarks, Acharya introduces Global IR as neither a theory nor a paradigm, but rather as a pluralistic approach. Tussie opens up the dialogue by discussing the field and discipline of IR and Global IR, their challenges, and why it is important for IR to spread out into Global IR. Persaud then shares the strengths of the Global IR model as well as its opportunities. Acharya, Tussie, and Persuad then discuss how to adopt both a regional and global perspective, how to develop IR concepts and theories that are globally relevant, and how they incorporate Global IR sensibilities into their teaching. The panel transitions to answer audience questions on whether International Studies Association (ISA) conferences should be held around the world and how to integrate regional dynamics with system-level theories. Acharya closes the discussion by stating the importance of the global-local relationship, which he explains needs to be addressed more through Global IR.

SIS professors Patrick Thaddeus Jackson and Amitav Acharya. Panelists: Deepshikha Shahi, professor, Delhi University; Nora Fisher Onar, professor, University of San Francisco; and Jack Snyder, professor, Columbia University

In his opening remarks, Acharya provides background information on the first two sessions of SIS’s Global IR Dialogues and questions where the field of international studies should or should not be going. He shares that the purpose of Global IR and SIS’s Global IR Dialogues is not just to make the discipline more universal and inclusive, but also to enrich the field. In her opening presentation, Shahi discusses the range of internal tensions she observes in Global IR and how they’ve been addressed, including whether Global IR is a theory or a way to put existent theories altogether. Following Shahi, Onar uses her presentation to discuss how changes in world order affect international relations and international studies and how such changes limit or open spaces for new theories and methods like Global IR. Snyder then talks through his syllabus work for his Columbia University undergraduates on international security, including some of the required readings. Acharya, Shahi, Onar, and Snyder then discuss the evolving Global IR research agenda and career advice for students who study Global IR. The panel concludes by answering audience questions about focusing on actors rather than entities in IR and if Global IR can prevent the rise of another “thought hegemon.”

After viewing our Global IR Dialogue videos and reading the quick links above, you may want to dive deeper into readings about Global IR. This list isn’t intended to be exhaustive, but we hope it will be helpful.