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.
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
E. H. Carr
Robert Gilpin
Susan Strange
George Kennan
Hans Morgenthau
Kenneth Waltz
John Mearsheimer
Alexander Wendt
John Ruggie
Nicholas Onuf
Martha Finnemore
Kathryn Sikkink
Judith Kelley
Michael Barnett
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
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 []

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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?

/ 10
– 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

/ 50
– 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

/ 20
– 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?

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