Davids and Goliath: Can an area studies-global IR conversation help shape the discipline? (CIS, SIAS and ESC Co-Sponsored Talk)

Abstract: In the study and practice of International Relations (IR), contributions from area studies face mounting challenges. These emanate from both the disciplinary mainstream, which privileges large-N, quantifiable knowledge, and from the policy arena, which is trending towards de-funding and de-legitimization of fine-grained expertise on other world regions. Yet, the realities of global power shift and Western retrenchment suggest that the time has never been riper to infuse IR with insights into political perspectives driving pathways beyond the West. Towards this end, the talk will explore the burgeoning conversation between area studies and the body of work recently aggregated under the label “global IR,” assessing promises, pitfalls, and potential to impact the discipline.

Nora Fisher-Onar is Assistant Professor in Global Politics at Coastal Carolina University. She also serves as research associate of the Centre for International Studies (CIS) at Oxford University, and as a non-residential fellow of the German Marshall Fund (GMF). Her research interests include IR and social theory, comparative area studies, political ideologies, gender, history/memory, and foreign policy analysis. She received her doctorate from Oxford and holds masters and undergraduate degrees from Johns Hopkins (SAIS) and Georgetown universities, respectively. She lived in Istanbul for over a decade and speaks five languages including fluent Turkish. Fisher-Onar is editor of the forthcoming volume, Istanbul: Living With Difference in a Global City (Rutgers UP, January 2018), and has published extensively in academic journals like Theory and Society, Women’s Studies International Forum, and Conflict and Cooperation. She also regularly speaks at policy fora like the GMF, Brookings Institution and Carnegie Endowment, and writes for platforms like Foreign Affairs, the Guardian, and OpenDemocracy.