Bridging International Relations and Postcolonialism

  • Citation: Darby, Phillip, and Albert J. Paolini. "Bridging international relations and postcolonialism." Alternatives 19.3 (1994): 371-397.
    • Topics:
    • IR Theories
    • Keywords:
    • Third World scholarship
    • postcolonial discourse
    • North-South relationship

A. F. Davies once observed that the state of an intellectual discipline, like that of a distant nation, may sometimes be read off from its al- liances.1 Here we suggest a corollary proposition that the state of a discipline may be read off from its postures of diplomatic isolation- ism. Recent developments in the humanities and social sciences have involved critiques of the foundational assumptions of old disciplines and the establishment of new configurations of knowledge, directed to different purposes. Occasionally, these developments occur at the interstices of well-recognized disciplinary domains, as with the new historicism situated between the study of history and English. In such cases, there are likely to be pressures for some kind of engagement between scholars in both disciplines and between old and new bodies of knowledge. Mostly, however, the new formations have come into being not by negotiating an intermediate space between two established disciplines, but by opening up new areas of enquiry and developing discourses of a distinctive kind. In these circumstances, there is much less likelihood that there will be meeting points between old and new, and chances are that each will insist on its own space and cling to its own language, methodology, and publishing outlets.

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