by Leiden University - Center for International Relations
LUCIR Newsletter JULY 2021
Dear LUCIR community,
The semester is over. And as your ‘out of office’ notifications will doubtlessly remind us, we may be intruding during your holidays. However, a newsletter must go out before we go on a break; so here we are with our third newsletter -- with apologies but also wishes for a pleasant and restful summer!
The LUCIR Book Club is now beginning to flourish. We had our third meeting in the last week of June where we discussed Katrina Forrester’s Shadow of Justice. We now go on a two-month break, and resume when everyone is back in September. The next meeting date is scheduled 24 September at 4:30pm (last Friday of every month during the semester). We will discuss Sara Ahmed’s Living a Feminist Life<https://www.dukeupress.edu/living-a-feminist-life>. Zoom link will be available in September for those of you who’ld like to join.
Decolonising Collective Leiden
Decolonising Collective Leiden was recently established and is open for membership. It brings together staff and students interested in exploring strategies for creating pluralistic, diverse and decolonised knowledge production at Leiden University. The Collective will host events and share news on issues pertaining to decoloniality. Membership is free and open to all academic staff, non-academic staff, and students of Leiden University and associated institutes (e.g. KITLV).
Joining the Decolonising Collective is also easy - just sign up to the mailing list here: https://lists.leidenuniv.nl/mailman/listinfo/dcnu
(Please note there may be a warning about the webpage, but it is perfectly safe. The issue is with the Leiden University server.)
Jonah Schulhofer-Wohl was interviewed<https://www.universiteitleiden.nl/en/news/2021/02/jonah-schulhofer-wohl-i...> by the Spanish daily, El Mundo, about his recent book Quagmire in Civil War<https://www.cambridge.org/core/books/quagmire-in-civil-war/78AB0026045D94...> and the ongoing Libyan civil war. Here he explains how the active backing of foreign actors to various warring factions contributes to the perpetuation of conflicts in troubled spots such as Libya. Jonah’s book, meanwhile, has also been reviewed by Australian Outlook<https://www.internationalaffairs.org.au/australianoutlook/book-review-qua...>, Perspectives on Politics<https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/perspectives-on-politics/article/...>, Middle Eastern Studies<https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/00263206.2021.1895120>, Special Operations Journal<https://doi.org/10.1080/23296151.2021.1904339>, and Contemporary Review of the Middle East<https://doi.org/10.1177/2347798921999217>.
Several colleagues published important works in the past two months.
Anna-Alexandra Marhold’s book on energy regulation in international trade law, titled, Energy in International Trade<https://www.cambridge.org/core/books/energy-in-international-trade-law/52...>, is a comprehensive study of legal frameworks governing the international energy trade. In the book, Anna-Alexandra discusses how existing rules relate to the new challenges facing energy markets, notably the decentralisation and decarbonisation of energy markets. This work engages in depth with the hugely important issue of energy security.
Isabelle Duyvesteyn published Rebels and Conflict Escalation: Explaining the Rise and Decline of Violence. <https://www.cambridge.org/nl/search?query=duyvesteyn&site=&searchSubmitPr...> Isabelle critically dissects and discusses the potential explanatory variables for escalation and de-escalation in conflicts which involve states and non-state actors, such as terrorists and insurgents. Contrary to what earlier studies have suggested, this work argues that rebel escalation is often accidental, messy and within a very limited range of control.
Vineet Thakur’s diplomatic biography of Indian leader V.S. Srinivasa Sastri, India’s First Diplomat<https://bristoluniversitypress.co.uk/indias-first-diplomat>, also came out recently. Vineet places Sastri, a liberal leader, in the diplomatic world of the 1920s and presents him as an important protagonist of liberal internationalism.
Yih-Jye Hwang and Edmund Frettingham have co-edited a book, titled Maritime and Territorial Disputes in the South China Sea<https://www.routledge.com/Maritime-and-Territorial-Disputes-in-the-South-...>. The contributors to this volume explore different interpretations of international law on the legal status of the contested islands and rocks, in the context of recent developments in the South China Sea. In addition to the Introduction, the co-editors have a chapter which looks at Taiwan’s Claims in the South China Sea. Another LUCIR colleague, Lindsay Black, analyses Japanese conceptions of regional order in the same volume.
Jay also published a journal article, ‘Reappraising the Chinese School of International Relations: A postcolonial perspective<https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/review-of-international-studies/a...>’. Revisiting debates about the Chinese School (CS) of IR, Jay analyses the CS through the power/resistance nexus put forward by Foucault, Bhabha, and Spivak. He suggests a generative reading of CS, one that helps link various struggles against western domination to form a unified ‘counter-hegemonic bloc’ of post-Western IR in the discipline. This is part of a special issue titled ‘The Many Births of IR’ co-edited by LUCIR members Karen Smith and Vineet Thakur for Review of International Studies. A shorter version<https://www.e-ir.info/2021/04/13/rethinking-chinese-school-of-ir-from-the...> of this article also appeared in the popular website E-IR.
Morena Skalamera published a chapter titled 'Russia's Foray into Asia Energy Markets'<https://scholarlypublications.universiteitleiden.nl/handle/1887/3186321> in Russia Energy Strategy in Asia Pacific. In it, Morena examines Russia 's challenge to Australia's dominance of LNG markets in the Asia Pacific. Despite US’ attempts to sequester Russia economically, she argues that the latter has gained considerable foothold in the Asian markets, and its robust market presence coupled with other factors might jeopardize Australia's status as the world's largest exporter of LNG.
Morena also authored a report titled '"Greening" over the Transatlantic Divide - Domestic Constraints and the Possibility of Renewed Cooperation'<https://global.upenn.edu/sites/default/files/perry-world-house/SkalameraT...> for the Perry World House at the University of Pennsylvania. The report analyzes the proposed EU-US agenda for cooperation on various global issues including climate change and, among other things, identifies key challenges to their climate agenda and recommends suitable solutions to get around those difficulties.
Graig R Klein co-authored journal article with Scott S. Boddery titled ‘Presidential use of diversionary drone force and public support<https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/20531680211019904>’ was published in Research & Politics. The authors explore the effectiveness of the use of drone strikes, in the backdrop of a faltering economy, as a diversionary tactic by US presidents. Klein and Boddery’s findings suggest that successful drone strikes have not only helped presidents to avoid public criticism of their economic policies but also boosted their approval ratings.
Continuing with his inquiry into the use of diversionary tactics by governments, Graig published another piece on the Turkey-PKK conflict. In a co-authored article with Efe Tokdemir 'Strategic interaction of Government and Terrorist Groups in Times of Economic Hardships<https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/10242694.2021.1940457?journal...>', published in Defense and Peace Economics, Graig argues that when faced with deteriorating economic situation at home, Turkey escalated its conflict with the PKK. The PKK, on the other hand, attempted to dial down the conflict and chose the path of strategic conflict avoidance.
Santino Regilme’s article 'Contested spaces of illiberal and authoritarian politics : Human rights and democracy in crisis<https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0962629821000871>' was published in Political Geography . Santino explores the ascent of rightwing and illiberal regimes in a refreshingly distinct way. Through spatially-oriented analysis of the official election results, he discusses how domestic and transnational spaces have shaped the support and the opposition to Duterte 's authoritarian regime in the Philippines.
In her article for Boston Review, titled Beyond the Nation State<http://bostonreview.net/politics/claire-vergerio-beyond-nation-state>, Claire Vergerio explains how flawed understandings of the origin and evolution of the current international order have precluded us from imagining alternative forms of political reorganization. The modern state system has proved inadequate to address a host of challenges – from local to planetary. It is high time, Claire argues, that space was created for multiple polities to exist and flourish.
We finish with a customary reminder that we rely on you telling us about all your wonderful activities and achievements. So, if you have an article – peer reviewed or popular, a policy paper, book chapter, a book or planning an event to start a new research project, please let us know so that we can share it with the rest of the community.
Your LUCIR team
Vineet Thakur, Ghulam Ali Murtaza, Beatrix Campbell & Corinna Jentzsch