IR Theory and Practice: Comparative EssayStudents are required to write a think piece (500-1,250 words) about their personal perspectives on global issues, using personal narratives (does your personal “story” have an impact on how your see the world?). Students must also select an IR thinker, and through an understanding of their “story” must decide whether their life “narrative” may have influenced a specific idea/theory they developed or espoused. Students will be required at read ONE piece of academic work (at least 10 pages) written by the author.
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Autobiographical Reflexivity: The Self and IR Thinkers
In critical approaches of IR, researchers have sought to contextualise their own writing, particularly
when they want to illustrate their research methodology and how certain circumstances and social
contexts have shaped their ideas.
Assignment
The main question to guide your assignment is: do personal “stories” and narratives (social
context, perspectives, childhood, personal background, education, socio-economic background,
interactions with individuals, etc.) have an impact on how one views the world, why or why not?
Students are required to:
 Write about their personal perspectives on global issues, using personal narratives (does
your personal “story” or a specific event in your life have an impact on how your “see” the
world?);
 Select an IR thinker (see list below; if you have an IR thinker not listed, please see me or your
TA for approval) and understand their personal “story”;
 Select and read a specific piece/section of academic work (at least 10 pages) written by the
selected IR thinker;
 Write about the IR thinker’s personal narrative and whether it may have influenced a
specific idea/theory they developed or espoused; and
 Students are encouraged to write about themselves and the IR thinker in a comparative
manner, where possible
Length: 500-1,250 words; use references as required
Some IR Thinkers
Realism
E. H. Carr
Robert Gilpin
Susan Strange
George Kennan
Hans Morgenthau
Kenneth Waltz
John Mearsheimer
Constructivism
Alexander Wendt
John Ruggie
Nicholas Onuf
Martha Finnemore
Kathryn Sikkink
Judith Kelley
Michael Barnett
Liberalism
Michael Doyle
Francis Fukuyama
David Held
Robert Keohane
Mary Kaldor
Martha Nussbaum
Post-Structuralism,
Critical Approaches
R. B. J. Walker
Richard Ashley
Cynthia Weber
James Der Derian
David Campbell
Jenny Edkins
Lene Hansen
Roxanne Doty
Marxist, Critical
Theory
Robert Cox
Andre Gunder Frank
Johan Galtung
Immanuel Wallerstein
Angela Davis
Andrew Linklater
Keeanga-Yamahtta
Taylor
Feminism
Jean Bethke Elshtain
Cynthia Enloe
J. Ann Tickner
Christine Sylvester
Kimberly Hutchings
English School
Hedley Bull
Martin Wight
Barry Buzan
Andrew Hurrell
Postcolonial IR
Edward Said
Frantz Fanon
Gayatri Spivak
Achille Mbembe
Gurminder Bhambra
Historical Sociology
Anthony Giddens
Charles Tilly
Benedict Anderson
You may want to consult: Martin Griffiths, Fifty Key Thinkers in International Relations (London: Routledge,
2007), E-book (Available online; York University library)
For further reading:
 Stephen Gill, Power and Resistance in the New World Order (New York: Palgrave, 2008), Chapter 1:
“Personal, Political and Intellectual Influences”, pp. 1-10.
 Ilan Kapoor, ‘Hyper-self-reflexive Development? Spivak on Representing the Third World ‘Other’,’ Third
World Quarterly, 25, 4, 2004.
 Morgan Brigg and Roland Bleiker, “Autoethnographic International Relations: Exploring the Self as a
Source of Knowledge”, Review of International Studies, 36, 3, 2010.
 Naeem Inayatullah and Elizabeth Dauphinee, Narrative Global Politics: Theory, History and the Personal
in International Relations, 2016
 Theory Talks [http://www.theory-talks.org]
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AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL REFLEXIVITY: THE SELF AND IR THINKERS – ESSAY EVALUATION
Student Name: ___________________________________________________________
Understanding of Assignment
– Did you select an IR thinker and discuss their personal story
– Did you provide your own personal story/narrative
– Main question: do personal narratives have an impact on how one
views the world, why or why not?
Analysis
– Did you answer the main question: do personal narratives have
an impact on how one views the world, why or why not?
– Did you provide the personal story of the IR thinker and if their
personal story had an influence on their thinking/writing
– Did you provide your own personal story/narrative – does that
influence how you look at the world
– Did you attempt to compare the experience of the self (you) and
the IR thinker, to answer the main question
Research
– Did you include a discussion of at least one piece/section of
academic work by the IR thinker (at least 10 pages)
– Did you consult other academic sources
Style
– Is the essay free from grammatical errors, typos and spelling
mistakes?
– Are the sentences well-structured and varied?
– Is paragraphing logical?
– Is the paper easy to read?
TOTAL
Comments
/ 10
/ 50
/ 20
/ 20
/ 100
Grade: (
/100) = (
/ 15)
Late Penalty:
FINAL GRADE: (
/ 15)
19

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