Recent years have seen a new “global” turn in the discipline of International Relations (IR), calling for a more inclusive scholarship that is, spatially and issue-wise, less focused on the experiences of the “Western” societies and states. These debates have now reached the mainstream agenda of the discipline, epitomized by the idea/concept of “Global IR”. The related approaches refer to a broad array of literature, ranging from the postcolonial ones to via media calls symbolized by the work of Acharya and Buzan (most recently in their 2019 book). Simultaneously, there exist now recent studies that engage with these discussions through the lenses of more focused, to wit, national or regional perspectives. This later type of research underlines the (possible) contributions that could emerge from within various (until now rather overlooked) geocultural epistemological (Wæver and Tickner, 2008) contexts. Studies broadly relating to these tendencies can be exemplified by a number of books (Steffek and Holthaus, 2020 on Germany; Haggard and Kang, 2020 on East Asia; Bilgin and Ling, 2017 on Asia; Shih et al, 2019 on China) as well as articles (Sasley, 2020 on Israel; the “Yugosplaining the world” blog post series, 2020 on ex-Yugoslavia). These works explicate the ways in which diverse national and/or regional IR communities have contributed to, and continue to further, the discipline through their distinct ontological, and epistemological perspectives, shaping thereby the emerging empirical observations and theoretical frameworks. There exists, by now, a novel and substantial literature, at times prioritizing the promises of non-Western extensions for IR in the shape of homegrown theorizing, in other instances calling for new combinations of (presumably) previously detached IR-relevant knowledge contents and forms across the globe, or in favor of more cosmopolitan approaches beyond individual national or regional settings.
Taking these dynamics into consideration, we plan a workshop that would both serve as a stocktaking exercise, and as a means of exploring new horizons for IR’s global journey via a specific focus on the case of Turkey. Emphasizing Turkey’s extant, and prospective, contributions to the discipline, we aim to accomplish two things. First, we invite papers that have the goal of pinpointing the position(s) of Turkey within the discipline of (global) IR. Here, unlike works that have successfully started to deal with Turkish IR per se, the aim is to analyze the extent to which Turkey has been used as a tool in IR, with regard to its theories and empirics, as well as its historical and present conditions. Second, we want the workshop to go beyond the current phase of Turkey’s role in IR by looking after possible ways through which using more Turkey-related insights could advance our global scholarship. Therefore, the workshop will be based on two complementary goals: locating Turkey in IR scholarship, and proposing new means of furthering its place in (global) IR. In this context, the shape of Turkish IR, concerning the development, structure, and features of IR community in Turkey, will be only dealt with to the extent these aspects relate to the two aims stated above. Via this engagement, we want to advance the agenda and works put forward in the last couple of years (see among others, Aydinli and Mathews, 2008; Çapan, 2016 ; Zarakol, 2010; Hintz, 2018) that have used (also) the case of Turkey in furthering IR theoretical efforts and in broadening the discipline’s theoretical, empirical, and historical record. A critical engagement with existing works as well as elaborations of novel trajectories to follow would be significant aspects of our enterprise.
What does it mean to explore Turkey’s role in and for (Global) IR? The changes brought about by the significant transformations from the late Ottoman to the Republican era, as well as the different periods that have marked the latter, require us to be more flexible in this sense. Especially in IR’s engagement with history, it could be useful not to disparage the multiple dynamics that relate to the late Ottoman-Turkish republican modernization and the broad array of concomitant processes. Nevertheless, the workshop aims to focus, in geographical terms, more directly on today’s Turkey, and in historical terms, to emphasize more recent experiences, at the cost of earlier developments that have marked the territories of modern Turkey. Based on these premises, we look forward in receiving papers that deal with Turkey’s role in and for (Global) IR, whereby the specific trajectories of Turkish IR community are only relevant to the extent they pertain to this overall framework. For we intend to concentrate on Turkey’s contributions and potential for widening, and globalizing, IR’s scholarly agenda, and not to focus on historical and sociological aspects of Turkish IR scholarship per se. In this regard, our aim pertains to the idea that Turkey-related studies in (global) IR could provide very useful insights for the extant and newly emerging research agendas of the discipline, whereby a broad engagement with Turkey’s present role in the discipline also provides a helpful framework upon which to advance this interest. Stated shortly, we aim at deparochializing IR via provincializing it: by localizing it in empirical, theoretical, and historical ways, using the case of Turkey and its (possible) contributions in this regard to advance the agenda of Global IR.
The goal of the workshop is to generate a new body of scholarship that locates Turkey within (Global) IR, bringing together studies that are publishable in the form of a special issue and/or an edited volume. The workshop will consist of two rounds. For the first meeting, we will invite the participants to Goethe University Frankfurt, while a second follow-up workshop is scheduled to take place online. We plan to cover transport and accommodation costs of participants who do not have other types of funding.
Deadline for proposal submissions (300-word abstract): March 31, 2021
Decision on proposals: April 15, 2021
Deadline for first paper submissions: November 15, 2021
First Workshop (Goethe University Frankfurt, tbc*): November 25-26, 2021
Second Workshop (online, tbc*): March 19-20, 2022
(*Depending on the COVID-19 pandemic, there could be adjustments with regard to the location and/or the order of meeting locations.)
For application and more information, please contact both of us, using the email subject “Turkey and Global IR workshop”. Application emails should include an abstract of 300 words as well as a short CV with your major publications.