Shortlist: International Affairs Early Career Prize 2019
Leah de Haan
In 2017 the editorial team at International Affairs launched a new Early Career Prize, designed to celebrate the quality of the research published in the journal by authors with less than seven years of active experience in the field of International Relations. After a rigorous selection process, we can now reveal the three articles which made our shortlist for the 2019 prize.
It has rarely been harder to launch a career in academia. Current demands placed on PhD students and post-doctoral researchers in terms of teaching, course administration, outreach, and, of course, research, have been well documented. In the UK, the Research Excellence Framework (REF) has only added to the pressure to publish regular high-quality, high-impact work alongside a researcher’s other institutional responsibilities. Similar pressures exist throughout the academic world.
In light of this we believe it is important to celebrate outstanding research produced by early career researchers. Of course, the seniority or otherwise of an author is not taken into account during the editorial process, but looking back at the high quality articles by relatively young authors has been a highly rewarding task.
Winner of the 2018 Early Career Prize
Sexual exploitation and abuse in peace operations: trends, policy responses and future direction by Jasmine-Kin Westendorf and Louise Searle
What is the prize?
We have teamed up with our colleagues at Chatham House and Oxford University Press to put together the following prize:
- A one year membership of Chatham House, including: access to hundreds of events, webinars and briefings; one year subscriptions to International Affairs and The World Today; borrowing rights for the Chatham House library.
- £300 worth of books from the Oxford University Press catalogue.
When will the winner be announced?
The chosen winner will be announced at a drinks reception during the ISA Annual Convention in Toronto, on Wednesday 27 March at 7:30pm. If you are attending the ISA this year then we would be delighted to see you there.
The following articles have been shortlisted by members of our editorial board. They are listed in order of the issue in which they were published.
1) Conflict prevention as pragmatic response to a twofold crisis: liberal interventionism and Burundi
Katja Lindskov Jacobsen and Troels Gauslå Engell
Abstract: Contemporary conflict prevention depends on information gathering and knowledge production about developments within the borders of a state, whose internal affairs have been deemed precarious by external actors. The international community, especially the United Nations (UN), calls this early warning and early action. However, for governments whose affairs are considered in need of monitoring, preventive endeavours — and the knowledge production they entail — can be seen as ‘early aggression’. In this article, we argue that seeing knowledge production as having power effects reveals contemporary conflict prevention as an interventionary practice. Through an analysis of the international community’s preventive diplomacy vis-à-vis Burundi (2015–2016) we highlight three unintended power effects: privileging the UN’s knowledge production created resistance to international involvement from the Government of Burundi, it led to a change in patterns of violence and to a backlash against the institutionalization of international monitoring beyond Burundi, and it enabled arguments for further, more forceful, intervention possibilities. This framing enables us to understand the recent return to conflict prevention not as a retreat from liberal interventionism, but as a pragmatic response to its purported crisis. Crucially, although conflict prevention falls short of military intervention, it nonetheless leaves important interventionist footprints.
Read the article here.
2) China’s clear and present conundrum on the Korean peninsula: stuck between the past and the future
Abstract: In tackling the current nuclear crisis on the Korean peninsula, President Donald Trump has invested — especially before the dramatic turn of events since early 2018 — a great deal of political capital in President Xi Jinping in the hopes that he might rein in North Korea, China’s traditional ally. However, expecting Beijing to ‘solve’ the problem is unrealistic. Chinese thinking on North Korea — as reflected in policy positions and domestic debates — has been marred by inconsistencies and overcaution and it is now further complicated by the intensifying geopolitical competition with the United States, which also embroils, to a varying degree, South Korea and Taiwan. Beijing has been strenuously walking a fine line between pressing Pyongyang and averting a war, all the while watching its back, particularly with regard to Taiwan and the South China Sea. Beijing’s risk aversion over North Korea and its security competition with the US has led it into a geopolitical conundrum from which there is no clear exit.
Read the article here.
3) China’s historical statecraft and the return of history
Abstract: Chinese leaders are increasingly mobilizing historical narratives as part of a broader trend that challenges Francis Fukuyama’s thesis of the end of history. China’s monumental history as an ancient civilization is used to revise the communist party’s ideology and to buttress foreign policy ambitions and infrastructural investments — including the ‘belt and road initiative’ and territorial claims in the South China Sea. This more assertive approach to China’s immediate neighbourhood resonates with the official reiteration of imperial tropes and concepts of Confucian philosophy, yet assertions that Beijing wants to reanimate the tribute system remain contested. While using historical narratives to legitimize foreign policy is not new, we are witnessing an unprecedented ‘return of history’ as a global social force. By revisiting Fukuyama’s claims, I develop the notion of ‘historical statecraft’ and apply it to China’s ‘belt and road initiative’. The Chinese case is exemplary for the importance of ideational factors in understanding the recent structural changes often described as the weakening of the West. This article examines in what ways China’s historical statecraft is challenging western narratives, what controversies emerge as China articulates its identity as a re-emerging ancient Great Power — one which expects global audiences to acknowledge the value of its cultural norms — and whether the Chinese approach to the use of the past for construing alternative political imaginaries contributes to a peaceful reconstruction of global order.
Read the article here.
The judges will select the article from this list which:
- Shows innovative thinking on an issue in international affairs/studies
- Offers a valuable contribution to the field/literature
- Demonstrates excellent research methods, analytical abilities and a clear presentation of argument
- Is well written in an accessible style
- Overall stands out as the best article by an early career author in the given calendar year, observing International Affairs’ remit to be an academically rigorous and policy-relevant journal
For more information on International Affairs, and how to submit your research, visit our website.
All views expressed are individual not institutional.