Millennium: Journal of International Studies

Sage Publications, Inc.
Publication date:

Latest documents

  • Quantising Post-critique: Entangled Ontologies and Critical International Relations
  • Digitising the Virtual: Movement and Relations in Drone Warfare

    This article offers a relational analysis of the use of armed drones in the ‘war on terror’. Drawing from Erin Manning’s writings on movement, relations, and the posthuman, I explore how bodies and spaces are read as digitised data in the processes of the drone assemblage, reducing movement to displacement and undoing relations of becoming. The drone’s violence lies in its crippling of bodies’ capacity to respond to their immediate environments and relations. The point of departure for this article is the concept of the ‘virtual’ as drawn out by Manning: the indeterminate potential of movement which moves bodies and relations. My analysis revisits the transcripts of Uruzgan drone attack in Afghanistan in 2010, a case that has been extensively studied in the critical literature on drones to offer conceptions of what it means for the drone to be a posthuman entity. Instead of situating the drone as a posthuman object, I examine it from a posthuman methodology where the focus is on relations, rather than determinate actors or outcomes. My intervention here is twofold: to propose a framework for understanding the drone’s violence in its processes of disrupting and undoing relations, and relatedly to argue for the methodological and theoretical value of the posthuman. Numériser le virtuel: Mouvement et relations dans la guerre des drones

  • Quantum Ambivalence

    My reading of quantum IR has always been in ambivalent, uncomfortable agreement, even if I could not articulate the reason for that ambivalence. This article confronts that ambivalence through reading Laura Zanotti’s Ontological Entanglements - an interesting and engaging book with which I largely agree, and read ambivalently. It brings the reader along on my reading of Ontological Entanglements, engaging my ambivalence and explicitly relating the some of the book’s key claims to feminist work on ontology and epistemology. It continues to explore the potential pitfalls with quantum approaches to IR through their manifestations in Ontological Entanglements. The article concludes by engaging Ontological Entanglements from the complex position of simultaneously being impressed with the work and opposed to its promulgation.

  • The Matter of Affect in the Quantum Universe
  • The Ambivalence of Aryanism: A Genealogical Reading of India-Europe Connection

    How do historical ideas of global, supremacist connection exist alongside ideas of civilisational and racial difference? And what enables certain reactionary, political alliances to traverse colonial hierarchies of power? With an onset in contemporary, transnational connections between a Hindu and a Western Right, this article offers a critical genealogical reading of the concept of Aryanism. Understanding it as articulated historically through interactions between British colonialists and upper-caste Hindus in India, this reading focuses on these elites’ intersecting and contradictory ideas of hierarchy, difference, and cross-civilisational connection. Tracing the empirical, theoretical and political implications of these entanglements, the article contributes to on-going discussions on the imperial roots of conceptual formations and knowledge production in postcolonial International Relations.

  • Forum on Laura Zanotti, Ontological Entanglements, Agency, and Ethics in International Relations: Exploring the Crossroads (Routledge, 2019)

    This forum addresses Laura Zanotti’s Ontological Entanglements, Agency, and Ethics in International Relations: Exploring the Crossroads, a landmark work for quantum International Relations (IR) that seeks to demonstrate the critical purchase of quantum thinking for exploring novel worldview. Interveners question the value added by the quantum turn in IR theory, both as it related to critical and broader debates. Zanotti’s particular intervention – drawing on a wide variety of themes in social theory, peace studies, feminist theory, metatheoretical debates in IR, international organisations, international development, and beyond – is approaches from the perspective of feminist theory, affect theory, temporality, philosophy of social science, and critical theory. In the spirit of exploring the crossroads, this forum brings together different lines of thinking that intersect through Ontological Entanglements but also extend onward, opening provocative questions for future scholarship in critical quantum IR.

  • The Gender Thing: Apparatuses and Intra-Agential Ethos

    In international governance circles it has become common to refer to gender interventions as “the gender thing.” The article takes this formulation as an opportunity to interrogate what a new materialist approach, such as that formulated in Laura Zanotti’s Ontological Entanglements, Agency, and Ethics in International Relations, could mean for international feminist theory and praxis. It first discusses the different ways in which gender emerges as an `apparatus’, juxtaposing Foucauldian formulations of gender as a biopolitical tool to Barad’s conceptualization of an apparatus as a measuring instrument and her understanding of gender as an apparatus of bodily production. Second, the article explores Zanotti’s development of the notion of intra-agential ethos and brings it into conversation with reflections on ethics and praxis in feminist IR. It critiques the erasure of languages of power from Barad’s theory and the failure to attend to difference in Zanotti’s notion of an intra-agential ethos. It concludes with an interpretation of what could be meant by references to “the gender thing” in international governance circles and develops connecting points between Zanotti’s intra-agential ethos and international feminist praxis.

  • Problematising the Global in Global IR

    International Relations (IR) has long been criticised for taking a particular (Western) experience as basis for formulating theories with claim to universal validity. ‘Non-Western’, ‘post-Western’, and postcolonial theories have been criticising the problem of Western parochialism and have developed specific strategies of changing IR. Global IR has taken up some of these concerns and aims at changing the discipline by theorising international politics as multiplex, taking different experiences, histories, and agencies into account. Yet, we argue that this agenda rests on a partial reading of IR’s critics, failing to take seriously the epistemological and methodological critiques of IR and therefore perpetuating some of the discipline’s ‘globalisms’. Therefore, first, Global IR reifies the idea of a truly universal body of knowledge. The global is logically prior to this as an imagined space of politics and knowledge. Second, Global IR assumes that scholars around the world aspire and are able to contribute to a single body of knowledge. While reifying these globalisms, Global IR fails to ask where this global imaginary comes from and what its effects are on the distribution of power and wealth. We argue that instead of assuming ‘the global’ as descriptive category, a more substantial and reflexive critique of IR’s exclusionary biases should start from reconstructing these globalisms and their effects. Problématiser le « mondial » dans les RI mondiales

  • A Response to the Millennium Forum

    In my response to the contributors to this forum on Ontological Entanglements I take a few steps down the crossroads they have explored. I reflect on the critiques they moved, on the generative potential of quantum ontological research they highlighted and sketch possible avenues for future inquiry. First, I clarify the position of Ontological Entanglements vis a vis feminist and queer theories. While my work deeply relies on this literature, its scope is different. Quantum ontological critique explores how science, as a field of truth, shapes political imaginaries, to include gender. It challenges the prevailing Newtonian substantialism of the discipline of International Relation, addresses the broader implications of scientific ontological imaginaries for the political, and proposes an ethos based on non-substantialist ontological and casual stories. Furthermore, I start exploring the generative potential of the conversations trailblazed by the contributors to this forum: the intriguing but un-easy dialogue with post-critique; and the fruitful engagement with temporality studies, affect theory and decolonial thought, in particular with regard to non-substantialist conceptualizations of time and war, radical entanglement and the ontogenetic property of practices.

  • Is IR Theory White? Racialised Subject-Positioning in Three Canonical Texts

    Racism is a historically specific structure of modern global power which generates hierarchies of the human and affirms White supremacy. This has far-reaching material and epistemological consequences in the present, one of which is the production and naturalisation of White-racialised subject positions in academic discourse. This article develops a framework for analysing Whiteness through subject-positioning, synthesising insights from critical race scholarship that seek to dismantle its epistemological tendencies. This framework identifies White subject-positioning as patterned by interlocking epistemologies of immanence, ignorance, and innocence. The article then interrogates how these epistemological tendencies produce limitations and contradictions in international theory through an analysis of three seminal and canonical texts: Kenneth Waltz’s Theory of International Politics (1979), Robert Keohane’s After Hegemony (1984) and Alexander Wendt’s Social Theory of International Politics (1999). It shows that these epistemologies produce contradictions and weaknesses within the texts by systematically severing the analysis of the international system and the ‘West’ from its actual imperial conditions of possibility. The article outlines pathways for overcoming these limitations and suggests that continued inattention to the epistemological consequences of race for International Relations (IR) theory is intellectually unsustainable.

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