Shortlist: International Affairs Centenary Prize

Explore the shortlist for a one-off prize celebrating International Affairs’s centenary and our second century goals

International Affairs
International Affairs Blog

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In 2022, International Affairs celebrated 100 years of publishing academically rigorous and policy relevant research on International Relations. As the journal moves into its second century, the International Affairs team wants to highlight those articles published in its 100th year that best embody the journal’s second century goals:

  1. Remain focused on engaging with both academics and practitioners.
  2. Continue to be one of the leading journals in the field, with a notable book reviews section and a growing digital presence.
  3. Continue to cover the entirety of international relations and not limit itself to particular areas, themes or approaches.
  4. Focus on scholarship conducted with academic rigour and of the highest quality.
  5. Be open to all contributors, paying particular attention to the voices that have been historically underrepresented in its pages.

With this in mind, and in consultation with members of the journal’s international advisory board, we have selected a shortlist of 6 articles for the International Affairs Centenary Prize. The winner, selected by the editorial team, will be announced during ISA’s 2023 Annual Convention in March. Follow us on Twitter to find out the details. The following articles are listed in order of the issue in which they were published.

1) African experiences and alternativity in International Relations theorizing about security

Kwaku Danso and Kwesi Aning

Abstract: Deconstructing International Relations (IR) episteme acknowledges its generation of power imbalances in security knowledge that relegate African experiences to the margins of global politics. Central to this process of relegation is a pervasive ‘methodological whiteness’, which, while eliding coloniality and racism, projects white experience as a universal perspective. Accompanying this Eurocentric bias has been the intrusive projection of the Weberian state as the most effective site for security governance and conflict prevention on a continent with states that are characterized by a hybridity of political orders, which deviate substantially from the ideal-type state that they seek to mimic. Not only has this resulted in disastrous policies in many parts of Africa, but critical questions arise as to the relevance of conventional IR and security studies as neutral sites for dispassionate knowledge production and policy-making on African security, thereby necessitating alternative perspectives. This article reflects on the ways in which IR and security studies have been responsible, in part, for the production of a racialized mode of security knowledge generation that obfuscates the security policies and experiences of people in African locales. It draws on insights from post-colonial discourses and the episteme of alternativity to explore how the study of events and processes in Africa in a theoretically conscious manner could advance IR scholarship as a whole. It contends that incorporating African experiences as they manifest through hybrid security orders can broaden the empirical base for IR theorizing about security since they offer another perspective outside the conventional western assumptions and experiences.

Read the full article here.

2) Researching climate justice: a decolonial approach to global climate governance

Jan Wilkens and Alvine R. C. Datchoua-Tirvaudey

Abstract: This article addresses the broader question of the special issue by reflecting on the coloniality of knowledge production in a context of global climate governance. Drawing on the rationale of the special issue, we highlight key dynamics in which knowledge shape climate policies and propose a decolonial approach at the nexus of academic knowledge production and policy formation by accounting for diverse ways of knowing climate justice. To this end, the article asks how to develop a decolonial approach to researching climate justice in order to identify the meaning-in-use of climate justice by affected people in what we describe as sensitive regions of the Arctic and the Mediterranean. To this end, the article develops a research design that accounts for diverse ways of knowing. The article proceeds as follows: first, we will discuss how diverse ways of knowing are related to global climate governance and climate justice; second, we outline our practice-based research framework that addresses research ethics, decolonial approaches and norm contestation; and third, we discuss how our approach can inform not only the co-production of research in climate governance, but also current debates on climate justice.

Read the full article here.

3) The 2020 Belarusian presidential election and conspiracy theories in the Russo-Ukrainian conflict

Michael Gentile and Martin Kragh

Abstract: This article contributes to the growing literature on how authoritarian regimes deploy disinformation and conspiracy theories to achieve foreign policy goals. While the effectiveness of these measures is disputed, our study — which is based on a rarely occurring natural experiment — makes an empirical contribution in this direction. Based on the analysis of survey materials collected in Mariupol, Ukraine, around the time of the tumultuous events surrounding the Belarusian presidential election of 2020, we show that, given the right conditions, a critical juncture event in one country can rapidly influence existing patterns of relevant conspiracy belief in a neighbouring one. The right conditions, in this case, include a massive disinformation campaign channelled through (pro-)Russian media, against the backdrop of conspiracy theories already in circulation in Ukraine. The implication of this finding is that the disinformation weapon becomes far more effective when it manages to offer a straightforward explanation (a conspiracy theory) of a critical juncture event that is otherwise complex and multilayered, and that adequate psychological defence mechanisms are needed to mitigate and counter this effect.

Read the full article here.

4) Pacific women’s anti-nuclear poetry: centring Indigenous knowledges

Rebecca H. Hogue and Anaïs Maurer

Abstract: This article expands feminist IR research on global nuclear politics by presenting a heretofore unassembled archive of Indigenous Pacific women’s anti-nuclear poetry and by arguing for the importance of this poetry as a transformative mover of international discourse on nuclear imperialisms. Pacific activists, and especially women, have been some of the world’s most active opponents to the global nuclear industrial complex, systematically working on the frontline of grassroots organizing in the Nuclear Free and Independent Pacific (NFIP) movement. Yet, the role played by Pacific women in the movement is understudied. To begin rectifying this omission, we chronologically retrace the evolution and the complexity of women’s role in the global anti-nuclear movement by outlining the history of the development of anti-nuclear conferences in the 1970s understood alongside and also through Pacific women’s poetic reflection on and activism against nuclearization in the Pacific. The poems by Pacific women presented in this article contribute to debates about nuclear politics in feminist IR and beyond, as they bring Pacific Islander voices into view and provide a more complex picture of Indigenous organizing, highlighting tensions based on gender and class within organizations such as the NFIP movement. In addition, these poems also contribute to ongoing challenges in IR to what constitutes valid forms of political discourse, by pushing back against the field’s patriarchal tendency to favour administrative language and statistical reports at the expense of embodied knowledge and emotional experience. As such, this article also addresses broader questions of knowledge production in IR, particularly in the context of debates about decolonizing the field, and advocates for centring Indigenous knowledges of international politics.

Read the full article here.

5) Abortion access and Colombia’s legacy of civil war: between reproductive violence and reproductive governance

Megan Daigle, Deirdre N. Duffy and Diana López Castañeda

Abstract: This article questions the appropriateness of third parties’ interventions seeking to foster political reconciliation. The analysis is divided into three parts. The first stresses a widely accepted premise in the field of conflict resolution, namely that mediation oriented towards reconciliation is inherently positive. The second part questions this moralistic perspective. It emphasizes the limits of specific mediation processes designed to transform the relationships between former enemies. The third part concentrates on the ‘pragmatics’ of mediation. It highlights the tensions, contradictions, and dilemmas faced by third parties eager to favour a rapprochement between parties. The intention of the article is to be neither cynical nor euphoric about calls for reconciliation coming from third parties. It explores the notion of failure, considering three main variables: the actors’ intentions, timing, and the effects on the most affected populations (survivors and families of victims). From a practical perspective, a better understanding of the issue is a sine qua non condition for more efficient interventions. From an ethical perspective, it is crucial to consider whether calls for reconciliation coming from outside might paradoxically contribute to new patterns of exclusion.

Read the full article here.

6) How not to mediate conflict

Valérie Rosoux

Abstract: This article questions the appropriateness of third parties’ interventions seeking to foster political reconciliation. The analysis is divided into three parts. The first stresses a widely accepted premise in the field of conflict resolution, namely that mediation oriented towards reconciliation is inherently positive. The second part questions this moralistic perspective. It emphasizes the limits of specific mediation processes designed to transform the relationships between former enemies. The third part concentrates on the ‘pragmatics’ of mediation. It highlights the tensions, contradictions, and dilemmas faced by third parties eager to favour a rapprochement between parties. The intention of the article is to be neither cynical nor euphoric about calls for reconciliation coming from third parties. It explores the notion of failure, considering three main variables: the actors’ intentions, timing, and the effects on the most affected populations (survivors and families of victims). From a practical perspective, a better understanding of the issue is a sine qua non condition for more efficient interventions. From an ethical perspective, it is crucial to consider whether calls for reconciliation coming from outside might paradoxically contribute to new patterns of exclusion.

Read the full article here.

For more information on International Affairs, and how to submit your research, visit our website.

All views expressed are individual not institutional.

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International Affairs
International Affairs Blog

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