Autobiographical International Relations: I, IR, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Autobiographical International Relations

I, IR, 1st Edition

Edited by Naeem Inayatullah


232 pages

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pub: 2010-11-26
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This volume provides a novel approach to international relations. In the course of fifteen essays, scholars write about how life events brought them to their subject matter. They place their narratives in the larger context of world politics, culture, and history.

Autobiographical International Relations believes that the fictive distancing associated with academic prose creates disaffection in both readers and writers. In contrast, these essays demonstrate how to reengage the "I" while simultaneously sustaining theoretical precision and historical awareness. Authors highlight their motives, their desires, and their wounds. By connecting their theoretical and practical engagements with their needs and wounds, and by working within the overlap between theory, history, and autobiography, these essays aim to increase the clarity, urgency, and meaningfulness of academic work.

These essays are autobiographical, but focused on the academic aspect of authors’ lives. Specifically, they are set within the domain of international relations/global politics. They are theoretical, but geared to demonstrate that theoretical decisions emerge from theorists’ needs and wounds. Theoretical precision, rather than being explicitly deduced, is instead immanent to the autobiographical and the historical/cultural narrative each author portrays. And, these essays are framed in historical/cultural terms, but seek to bind together theory, history, culture, and the personal into a differentiated and vibrant whole.

This book moves the field of International Relations towards greater candidness about how personal narrative influences theoretical articulations. No such volume currently exists in the field of international relations.

Table of Contents

Falling and Flying: An Introduction Naeem Inayatullah 1. Accidental Scholarship and the Myth of Objectivity Stephen Chan 2. Objects among Objects Jenny Edkins 3. Stammers between Silence and Speech Narendran Kumarakulasingam 4. Scenes of Obscenity: the Meaning of America under Epistemic and Military Violence Khadija F. El Alaoui 5. I, the Double Soldier: An Autobiographic Case-Study on the Pitfalls of Dual Citizenship Rainer Hülsse 6. Weakness Leaving My Body: An Essay on the Interpersonal Relations of International Politics Jacob L. Stump 7. Waiting for the Revolution: A Foreigner’s Narrative Alina Sajed 8. Am I not that? At the feet of Elders Sara-Maria Sorentino 9. Listening for the Elsewhere and the Not-yet: Academic Labor as a Matter of Ethical Witness Lori Amy 10. To Realize You're Creolized: White Flight, Black Culture, Hybridity Joel Dinerstein 11. Goodbye Nostalgia! In Memory of a Country that has Never Existed as such Wanda Vrasti 12. Shaping Walls: Moving through Lanka’s Forts Nethra Samarawickrema 13. Three Stories: A Way of Being in the World Patrick Thaddeus Jackson 14. G(r)azing the fields of IR: Romping Buffaloes, Festive Villagers Quỳnh Phạm & Himadeep Muppidi - The Sound of Conversation Sorayya Khan - Epilogue: Cosmography Recapitulates Biography: An Epilogue Peter Mandaville

About the Series


The Series provides a forum for innovative and interdisciplinary work that engages with alternative critical, post-structural, feminist, postcolonial, psychoanalytic and cultural approaches to international relations and global politics. In our first 5 years we have published 60 volumes.

We aim to advance understanding of the key areas in which scholars working within broad critical post-structural traditions have chosen to make their interventions, and to present innovative analyses of important topics. Titles in the series engage with critical thinkers in philosophy, sociology, politics and other disciplines and provide situated historical, empirical and textual studies in international politics.


We are very happy to discuss your ideas at any stage of the project: just contact us for advice or proposal guidelines. Proposals should be submitted directly to the Series Editors:

‘As Michel Foucault has famously stated, "knowledge is not made for understanding; it is made for cutting" In this spirit The Edkins - Vaughan-Williams Interventions series solicits cutting edge, critical works that challenge mainstream understandings in international relations. It is the best place to contribute post disciplinary works that think rather than merely recognize and affirm the world recycled in IR's traditional geopolitical imaginary.’

Michael J. Shapiro, University of Hawai'i at Manoa, USA


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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
POLITICAL SCIENCE / History & Theory