Post-Critical IR? | Groundwork for a future

The first Post-Critical IR? workshop took place in Copenhagen during March 2018. Below, a summary of core presentations from the workshop can be found, including interventions from Michael C. Williams, Jean-Francois Drolet, Rebecca Adler-Nissen, Anna Leander, and Keith Krause.

Post-Critical IR? | Practicing Critique

The first Post-Critical IR? workshop took place in Copenhagen in March 2018. Over the next few weeks, a series of videos will be released from the workshop based on the presentations given by participants.

This presentation is by Professor Keith Krause of the Graduate Institute, Geneva, and is titled ‘Practicing Critique: Fieldnotes and Reflections from the Diplomatic and Programmatic Trenches.’

More information on the Post-Critical IR? project is available at

Post-Critical IR? | Critics and Conservatives

The first Post-Critical IR? workshop took place in Copenhagen in March 2018. Over the next few weeks, a series of videos will be released from the workshop based on the presentations given by participants.

The series begins with Jean-Francois Drolet and Michael C. Williams discussing ‘Conservatives and Critics.’ This is a provocative meditation on the ways on which the ‘New Right’ have co-opted critical theory for their own purposes. The video is available below.


Lecture | Institute for International Relations Prague

In May 2018 I visited the Institute for International Relations (IIR), Prague, and participated in a series events, beginning with a lecture entitled A Portrait of the Syrian Torture that was given to an audience of students, diplomats, and other professionals. During my time in Prague, I also presented my work on violence prevention at the Institute’s security coffee morning, to an audience of local diplomats, taught a cause on the use of fieldwork in IR, and participated in a local political and artistic festival.

Publication | A Parasitic Critique for IR

My latest publication entitled A Parasitic Critique for IR is now forthcoming at the International Political Sociology (IPS). The paper explores the state of critique in contemporary social science, suggests weaknesses in its rhetorical formulation, and draws on field experience to suggest an alternative ‘parasitic’ and ‘compositional’ form of critique.


This paper introduces the concept of a ‘parasitic critique.’ It begins theorizing the ethico-political positionality of ‘critical’ researchers in IR by speaking with Michel Serres to introduce the figure of the ‘researcher-as-parasite’. That device explores the central tension in critical research between hearing ‘thick’ descriptions of our (human or not) interlocutors’ lifeworlds before channelling them into ‘thin’ meta-theoretical accounts. The paper argues that this dilemma relates – above all – to the rhetorical ‘style’ of most critical approaches in IR, which employ what can be termed a ‘suspicious hermeneutics’ that is unwilling to take seriously the theoretical, critical, and experiential voices of particular interlocutors. Arguing that we have entered an age of ‘critical symmetries’ that renders the still privileged ‘critical hierarchies’ of IR redundant, the paper argues that following the ‘lay’ critical methods evoked by many interlocutors encourages us to embrace the fluid, travelling, and dislocated image of the parasite and to pursue forms of symbiotic ‘exchange value’ between our multiplistic subjects of study. This parasitic critique is founded on a three-fold switch from suspicion to learning, exclusion to combination, and contradiction to composition. Throughout, these claims are nested within self-reflections on work interviewing both victims and perpetrators of torture, which demonstrate – often uncomfortably – how it is necessary to find points of critical sympathy between the subjugator and the subjugated that can be leveraged for the ethico-political good.


Austin, Jonathan Luke. (Forthcoming) ‘A Parasitic Critique for IR.’ International Political Sociology.


The author would like to thank the editors and anonymous reviewers of IPS, as well as the audience and participants of panels at which earlier versions of this article were presented at the 2015 and 2017 International Studies Association (ISA) Annual Conventions. Especial gratitude for their kind help, critique, encouragement and suggestions – throughout the development of the ideas contained within this article in its various iterations – is due to Jef Huysmans, Anna Leander, Marieke de Goede, Alice Baroni, and Mark B. Salter.

This paper can be downloaded here or read below and/or at

World Political Compositions

World Political Compositions
Making Sense of the International


WORKSHOP Announcement

Jonathan Luke Austin (Graduate Institute, Geneva)
Anna Leander (Graduate Institute, Geneva; PUC-Rio)

Deadline: 20.03.2018

How do we make visceral, real, and lived sense of the International? The World Political Compositions project draws together contributions around the concept of composition, in the aesthetic sense of the term, and the five traditional senses of human perception, in order to answer this question more creatively, affectively, and – so – ‘objectively’ than they have been before. The contributors to the project have been asked to reflect on how simple sounds, sights, touches, smells, and tastes form the core of world political phenomena in terms of their manifestation of scale, their construction of systems of signification, their working to ‘make things happen’ around us, and ultimately their standing as the main building blocks of both everyday and academic sensemaking.

World Political Compositions begins in earnest with a workshop taking placed in San Francisco on the 3rd of April 2018, as a side-event of the 2018 International Studies Association meeting. The workshop brings together a leading and eclectic group of scholars who will explore their own use of the concept of composition.

Participants include Jonathan Luke Austin, Rocco Bellanova, Roland Bleiker, Charmaine Chua, Charlotte Epstein, Penny Von Eschen, Gloria Gonzalez Fuster, Kevin Gaines, Aida Hozic, Naeem Inayatullah, Anna Leander, L. H. M. Ling, Stephanie Perazzone, Delf Rothe, Rune Saugmann, Michael J. Shapiro, Benjamin Tallis, Ana Clara Telles, and Elspeth Van Veeren.

The workshop will take place in an old photographic studio in the historic centre of San Francisco, and include both traditional paper presentations, multi-media presentations, photography exhibits, and film screenings.

Segments of the workshop will be open to a public audience, as well as public participation. As we have limited space available for this purpose, those interested in attending are encouraged to register as soon as is possible.

Any queries should be directed at and further details are available at

Post-Critical IR? | Call for Papers

PostCritical IR?

Visit: !

EISA 2018 Prague | Call for Papers & Panels

Jonathan Luke Austin (Graduate Institute, Geneva)
Anna Leander (CBS, Copenhagen, PUC-Rio, IHEID)

Deadline: 01.02.2018

Many students of IR want to change the world. And this is particularly true for those who take a ‘critical’ approach to the field. There is too much bad in the world. And too little knowledge of how to stop it. Nonetheless, there are few sustained reflections on how critical scholars might change the world. Few texts explicitly connecting the critical promise into critical action; on converting critical theory into praxis or critical problem-solving. Post-Critical IR seeks contributions that do just that.

The section grounds itself by following other fields with strong critical traditions – feminism, postcolonial theory, etc. – in calling for an interrogative ‘post-critical’ turn in IR that asks not what comes after but what might come with critique for it to be more effective in its daily praxis. The prefix post is used here with the same inflection post-colonial scholars give it: not to suggest we are beyond critique (or colonialism, structural oppression, etc.) but that we have reached a situation in which something markedly novel must be added to critique and that discovering this ‘something’ requires sustained theoretical, methodological, and empirical reflection within IR.

In particular, we invite three types of contributions to this section:

● Theories of post-critique within IR.
What theoretical coordinates might orient a ‘post-critical’ stance towards studying world politics? How can we learn from other fields here? What would it mean to think post-critically about the world?

● Fractures underlying the status of critique within IR.
What is undermining the status of critical approaches to the social sciences? Socially, politically, and intellectually? To what degree are critical IR scholars themselves self-implicated in this demise? And how can they reverse it?

● Practices of post-critique within IR.
What might we do – practically speaking – differently by embracing the horizons of a post-critical IR? How might our scholarly practices shift? How might our engagement with the world change?

Contributors are asked to be creative in interpreting these three possible themes as they wish, and in intertwining them as far as is possible. We invite both full panel and individual paper submissions for the section. Any queries should be directed at and further details are available at


University of Economics (VSE) and Institute of International Relations (IIR), Prague
September 12-15, 2018
Conference Theme:
‘A New Hope’: Back to The Future of International Relations
Section Title:
Post-Critical IR? Hope for Changing the World Political (S38)
Closing date for submissions:
February 1, 2018


Call for Papers | Doing Visual IR

Doing Visual IR

European Workshops in International Studies 

Deadline: 10/01/2018


Jonathan Luke Austin
(The Violence Prevention Initiative, Geneva. & The Graduate Institute, Geneva)

Stephanie Perazzone
(The Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva)


Professor Roland Bleiker,
University of Queensland

Professor Lene Hansen,
University of Copenhagen


How do we see the world and its politics? How do we make sense of international events? What do television screens, computer monitors, advertising billboards, and other everyday images do to our sensual appreciation for the global political order? And how might we study all of this? How can the discipline of IR come to terms with the explosion in visual imagery of wars, protests, rallies, street fights, and beyond? This workshop asks questions like these. It is concerned with the still quite nascent shift within IR away from the textual as the principal object of its study and primary mode of its own articulation. However, its main focus will be quite specifically on the methods and methodologies of doing visual IR and the questions of power and politics these methods implicate.

The intellectual backdrop for the workshop rests on the reflexive, ethnographic, narrative, and aesthetic turns within IR. Each of these approaches has contributed to bringing forward a critical, inter-disciplinary, and – most importantly – an increasingly diverse set of outlooks into IR. This includes reassessing and dissecting the intricate relations between differently positioned societies in the global system, the ‘decolonizing’ of research, the linkages between the micro and macro levels of politics and its analysis, and the role of researchers and expert accounts in controlling narratives, reproducing exploitative power relations and shaping collectively shared ‘images’ of international relations and its conflicts. Specifically vis-à-vis questions of the visual and visibility, the introduction of the ‘image’ into IR that has occurred across these fields has worked to foreground the everyday lifeworlds of individual human beings, the materiality of those worlds, the questions of perspective in seeing Self and Other, and the ways in which powerful actors utilize visibility as a tool of domination, political manipulation, and beyond. With this backdrop in mind, the workshop focuses on how methods of doing visual IR can ‘complicate’ the discipline’s intellectual construction of world orders in ways that give voice to other perspectives and expose emerging forms of socio-political domination.

We seek contributions that focus on the diverse methods and methodologies that can be employed to ‘do’ visual IR and which explore the power, politics, and potentially positive-political consequences of these methods. This might include perspectives from within specific theoretical traditions (practice theory, feminist theory, post-colonial theory, etc.) or reflections on quite specific methods of doing visual analysis in IR (the use of photography, the use of videography, the use of secondary visual data, the analysis of comics, art works, and beyond, etc.). We are particularly keen to encourage innovative contributions and presentations of all kinds into our discussions. The ultimate goal of the workshop is to draw together both young and senior scholars from various disciplinary traditions concerned with key issues surrounding doing visual IR. We envisage publishing our discussions in both an edited volume and a special issue and are making plans to this effect in advance of the workshop. The edited volume is planned as a handbook for students of working within IR wishing to employ visual approaches within their work, while the special issue will focus more on the broader conceptual, theoretical, and methodological issues that emerge from our discussions at the workshop.




Please submit your abstracts to: by 10.01.2018.

  1. Abstracts MUST be submitted electronically via the online submission system
    by the given deadline January 10, 2018. Abstracts received via fax, e-mail or received after the deadline will not be accepted and therefore will not be considered for the programme or publication.
  2. One author can only submit 1 abstract.
  3. Abstracts are to be submitted to the following topic:
  • WS T – Doing Visual IR: Methods, Power and Politics
  1. The presentation type should be confirmed during the submission:
    • Paper presentation
  1. Abstracts could be amended in the online submission system until the submission deadline of January 10, 2018. 
  2. All abstracts will be reviewed by the EWIS 2018 Scientific Committee – Workshop Conveners in consultation with the Programme Chairs. They will decide which abstracts will be accepted and rejected but may also recommend that your abstract is considered in a different workshop.
  3. All presenting authors will receive an acceptance/rejection notification via e-mail by February 10, 2018.
  4. All presenting authors are obliged to register by March 16, 2018.

Abstract Formatting

  1. All abstracts must be written in English.
  2. When submitting your abstract, consider and select the best suitable workshop – and one alternative workshop should your first choice not accept your submission.
  3. The abstract title is limited by 20 words.  Please capitalise your abstract title  in the following way – This is my Abstract for EWIS 2018: For Presentation in Groningen.
  4. Up to 10 authors can be included (incl. presenting author). The person, who submits the abstract is automatically considered to be the contact person for all future correspondence. Authors order could be changed if needed by swopping the names at the list of the co-authors. The first name is considered to be the main author. Presenting author could be amended in the online submission system while managing co-authors.
  5. The maximum abstract length is 200 words, which is approximately 2/3 of A4 page. Pictures/charts/special formulas are not allowed within the abstract text.
  6. Each author should submit from 3 to 6 keywords matching /his/her abstract content. Please insert the keywords in alphabetical order.
  7. The submitter is required to include presenting author’s short biography (up to 100 words).

Further details on EWIS Workshops are available here:

Seminar | International Political Ergonomics

On 21st November 2017 I presented one of my latest research projects at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies as part of its International Relations and Political Science Seminar Series. At the seminar I presented a paper that theoretically grounds some of the work currently being developed at the Violence Prevention (VIPRE) Initiative (, which integrates theories of ergonomics into International Relations.

Workshop | New International Relations Theory

Between 16-18th November 2017, I participated in a workshop at the University of Hamburg’s Center for Globalization and Governance (CGG) on ‘New International Relations Theory (NIRT)’. The workshop broad together leading scholars whose work focuses on practice theory and normativity including Vincent Pouliot, Anna Leander, Antje Wiener, Mervyn Frost, Frederick Kratochwill, and others.

At the workshop, I presented a paper in dialogue with the work of Vincent Pouliot that situated the recent turn towards internalise studies of practical action in relation to critical theory, through a Marxist lens.