All posts by Zoe Williams

Links: The Bad News Edition

Some of us our on our way to the ISA conference today, leaving behind cold, still slightly snowy Berlin for California, while others remain, trying to remember what the sun looks like. So, to go along with the weather, here is a roundup of fairly bad, IR related news:

Live in the EU? You might be one of the 19.07 million people currently without a job according to the latest Eurostats.

Feeling smug because you’ve got a stipend (or you’re not European) so don’t have to worry about being jobless for at least a few more years? Don’t get too comfortable. Despite our earlier hopes, the US Senate has passed an amendment that prohibits the NSF from funding any work that does not promote the “national security or the economic interests of the United States”.

Not everyone thinks this is a bad idea, however. Whether you agree or disagree, it’s certainly a debate we should be having (and one that Joseph Nye weighed in on back in 2009).
Continue reading Links: The Bad News Edition

Is International Development IR? Canada says yes.

Is international development a sub-set of everyday IR? In other words, should foreign aid be another means of furthering Canada’s “national interest”? The Canadian government seems to think so, announcing last week that it plans to merge the formerly independent Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) with the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT). But what does this mean for Canada’s development priorities, and most importantly, for recipients of Canadian aid? Are Canada’s international political and economic objectives complementary to those it claims to promote through aid assistance?

CIDA’s stated goal, since its creation in 1968, has been to support sustainable development in poor countries “in order to reduce poverty and contribute to a more secure, equitable and prosperous world”. Since its founding, CIDA has been an independent government agency although ultimately reporting to parliament. In fact, since the time of CIDA’s first president, Maurice Strong, there has been recognition that CIDA needs institutional autonomy in order for development objectives to remain separate from political considerations. Last week’s decision changes that.
Continue reading Is International Development IR? Canada says yes.

PhD Pitch #2: My Thesis as a Choose Your Own Adventure Book

Choose your own

Chapter 1: You are a developing country. Post-decolonization, your economy is based on unprocessed commodities, but you would like to increase domestic manufacturing and improve infrastructure. What do you do? If you want to go it alone, go to Chapter 2. If you want some outside help, go to Chapter 3.

Continue reading PhD Pitch #2: My Thesis as a Choose Your Own Adventure Book

Hugo Chavez Dies: What’s Next for Venezuela and the Region?

After almost two years battling cancer, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez died yesterday, March 5.

In the wake of his death, the general consensus seems to be that there is no consensus. The Venezuelan leader’s legacy is divisive, with vehement supporters and detractors at home and abroad, a situation reflected in both English and Spanish coverage. (And, for a longer, relatively unusual pro-Chavez analysis in English here and here)
Continue reading Hugo Chavez Dies: What’s Next for Venezuela and the Region?

Welcome to the International Relations blog!

Here we’ll do our best to cover three perspectives on international relations:

  1. Showcasing and discussing our own and other people’s current RESEARCH
  2. Commentary on political WORLD EVENTS, ideally linking IR theory to empirics
  3. Junior scholars’ everyday experiences, i.e. the ups and downs of GRAD LIFE

IR Blog is a collaborative project. We’re still looking for (and will continue to welcome) new contributors. So far, the team mainly consists of PhD candidates and post-docs based in Berlin (Germany), but this selection is based on convenience, not principle.

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