Counter-mapping book cover

Counter-mapping the discipline the archipelago of Western international relations teaching


Reflexive investigations into the International Relations (IR) discipline proliferate, and empower scholars to ever more critically engage the analytical, geocultural, and political lenses through which world politics is explained. Yet, publishing in flagship journals continues to serve as the most popular indicator of the field’s trajectory and configuration in the emergent literature. This chapter challenges this focus. It argues that the preferred metric normalises implicit understanding of IR’s stakes and structures, and that an alternative cartography of IR can help directs attention to further scholarly goals and practices. To make this point, the chapter looks at the ‘instructed discipline’. Based on a comprehensive review of mandatory readings in core IR courses, it maps the paradigmatic, geocultural, gendered, and historical perspectives taught in American and European graduate programs. The chapter shows what kind of intellectual parochialism prevails at which of the selected 23 Western IR departments, and concludes with a call for a more critical pedagogy of international affairs.

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