What’s the Point of International Relations casts a critical eye on what it is that we think we are doing when we study and teach international relations (IR). It brings together many of IR’s leading thinkers to challenge conventional understandings of the discipline’s origins, history, and composition. It sees IR as a discipline that has much to learn from others, which has not yet lived up to its ambitions or potential, and where much work remains to be done. At the same time, it finds much that is worth celebrating in the discipline’s growing pluralism and views IR as a deeply political, critical, and normative pursuit.

The volume is divided into five parts:

• What is the point of IR?

• The origins of a discipline

• Policing the boundaries

• Engaging the world

• Imagining the future

Although each chapter alludes to and/or discusses central aspects of all of these components, each part is designed to capture the central thrust of the concerns of the contributors. Moving beyond western debate, orthodox perspectives, and uncritical histories this volume is essential reading for all scholars and advanced level students concerned with the history, development, and future of international relations. 


chapter |18 pages


Asking questions of, and about, IR
BySynne L. Dyvik, Jan Selby, Rorden Wilkinson

part one|50 pages

What’s the point of IR?

chapter 1|13 pages

What’s the Point of IR?

The international in the invention of humanity
ByKen Booth

chapter 2|12 pages

Insecurity Redux

The perennial problem of “the point of IR”
ByPatrick Thaddeus Jackson

chapter 3|11 pages

What’s the Point of IR?

Or, we’re so paranoid, we probably think this question is about us
ByCynthia Weber

chapter 4|12 pages

In Defense of IR

ByBeate Jahn

part two|49 pages

The origins of a discipline

chapter 6|15 pages

Past as Prefigurative Prelude

Feminist peace activists and IR
ByCatia C. Confortini

chapter 7|9 pages

Beyond Practitioner Histories of International Relations

Or, the stories that professors like to tell (about) themselves
ByRobert Vitalis

part three|51 pages

Policing the boundaries

chapter 9|14 pages

Be Careful What You Wish for

Positivism and the desire for relevance in the American study of IR
ByJennifer Sterling-Folker

chapter 10|12 pages

Don’t Flatter Yourself

World politics as we know it is changing and so must disciplinary IR
ByL.H.M. Ling

chapter 11|12 pages

Indian IR

Older and newer orientations
ByAchin Vanaik

chapter 12|11 pages

Undisciplined IR

Thinking without a net
ByLaura Sjoberg

part four|45 pages

Engaging the world

chapter 13|9 pages

Mind the Gap

Defining and measuring policy engagement in IR
ByCatherine Weaver

chapter 14|11 pages

IR Theory in the Anthropocene

Time for a reality check?
ByStephanie Lawson

chapter 15|12 pages

Un Studies and IR

History, ideas, and problem-solving
ByThomas G. Weiss

chapter 16|11 pages

Beyond the “Ivory Tower”?

IR in the world
ByPeter Newell, Anna Stavrianakis

part five|49 pages

Imagining the future

chapter 17|12 pages

Escaping from the Prison of Political Science

What IR offers that other disciplines do not
ByJustin Rosenberg

chapter 18|11 pages

The Future of Feminist International Relations

ByAdrienne Roberts

chapter 19|11 pages

A Methodological Turn Long Overdue

Or, why it is time for critical scholars to cut their losses
BySamuel Knafo

chapter 20|13 pages

Subverting the “International”

Imagining future as past
ByYongjin Zhang