Monthly Archives: June 2016

Decolonizing and feminizing reading lists


In summer 2009 Stephen Walt published in Foreign Policy Magazine a reading list “My ‘top ten’ books every student of international relations should read” which only contained books of white American men. As shocking his narrowness of mind is he arrogantly asks at the end of his list is he has missed anything. Well, he has! He has missed contintental, women’s, feminist (not the same thing, mind you), queer, post-colonial, de-colonial, critical, Critical, IPE, sociological and post-structuralist books of international relations, and that’s HUGE! Basically Walt has ignored every single scholar who is not white, male and American, and everyone who cannot agree with US foreign policy as practiced by the Kissingers and Bushs. That’s pretty much the rest of the world.

If we want our students to be critical, empathic and interested in the rest of the world we need to propose other reading lists. On this blog I propose a couple of books I would put on my ‘top ten’ books every student of international relations should read. More importantly I will publish suggestions of colleagues so that we can collectively put together a reading list that reflects the multiplicity and colourfulness of the world we live in.

So this will be hopefully the first of a series of posts. To start, my top twelve books every students of international relations should read would look like this:

Dezalay, Y. and B. G. Garth (2011) Lawyers and the rule of law in an era of globalization, Abingdon, Oxon ; New York, Routledge.

Enloe, C. H. (2014) Bananas, beaches and bases : making feminist sense of international politics, Berkeley, CA, University of California Press.

Grovogui, S. N. Z. (1996) Sovereigns, quasi sovereigns, and Africans : race and self-determination in international law, Minneapolis, Mn, University of Minnesota Press.

Gruffydd Jones, B. (2006) Decolonizing international relations, Lanham, Md. ; Plymouth, Rowman & Littlefield.

Jahn, B. (2013) Liberal internationalism : theory, history, practice, Houndmills, Basingstoke, Hampshire, Palgrave Macmillan.

Li, T. (2007) The will to improve : governmentality, development, and the practice of politics, Durham, Duke University Press.

Mazower, M. (2009) No enchanted palace: the end of empire and the ideological origins of the United Nations, Princeton university press.

Mudimbe, V. Y. (1988) The invention of Africa : gnosis, philosophy, and the order of knowledge, Bloomington, Indiana University Press.

Sassen, S. (2006) Territory, Authority, Rights. From Medieval to Global Assemblages, Princeton, Princeton U.P.

Teschke, B. (2002) The Myth of 1648. Class, Geopolitics and the Making of Modern International Relations, London/ New York, Verso.

Vitalis, R. (2015) White world order, black power politics : the birth of American international relations, Ithaca, Cornell University Press.

Weber, C. (2014) International relations theory : a critical introduction, London ; New York, Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group. (actually I haven’t finished reading Queer International Relations, yet but I guess when I will have I’ll replace the International relations theory book with the Queer one).


I have chosen twelve because I didn’t quite know which two to throw out of this list…and I still have missed masses. All suggestions welcome this list is meant to grow!

And first wonderful suggestion:

Sjoberg, L. and C. E. Gentry (2007) Mothers, monsters, whores : women’s violence in global politics, London ; New York; New York, Zed Books; Palgrave Macmillan.