Sunday, January 6, 2013

On a roll

I've put up two ephemeral posts today -- might as well write a quick third before calling it a night.

One "roger," commenting on this Erik Voeten post at The Monkey Cage, wonders why American IR scholars calling for a "lean forward" posture (as opposed to "pull back") haven't learned anything from postcolonial theory. Yes, that's what 'roger' asks, no doubt rhetorically, but I'll take it non-rhetorically.

It's hard to know whether to laugh or cry. Maybe they haven't learned anything from po-co theory because they haven't read any; maybe they've tried to read some and been turned off by the style of much of it. (Or maybe whatever one might learn from po-co theory would not necessarily affect one's policy views.)

A few months ago I took Inayatullah and Blaney's IR and the Problem of Difference out of the univ. library where I can borrow books. I thought it was something I should look at. The copy had been extensively underlined and scrawled in, always a turnoff, but I can't honestly claim that's the main reason why I only dipped into it as opposed to reading it. It was more: "do I really want to read this?" Answer: Not right now. I wonder how many of the authors whom 'roger' criticizes have read it. How many of those authors have read Hardt and Negri? How many have read the people who post at The Disorder of Things? How many read journals other than IO, IS, Foreign Affairs, and maybe APSR or EJIR or JCR occasionally?

So, 'roger', that's my off-the-cuff 'answer' to your question.

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