The International Relations Reading Group is a group of scholars brought together by a shared interest in the discipline of International Relations. We meet regularly to discuss classic and contemporary papers in the field of IR. The intent of the group is to build and strengthen the IR community at Tampere University (and beyond). The group was initiated as a venue for doctoral researchers to deepen their understanding of the discipline, but we also welcome scholars at other stages to join the discussions. Readings are selected as a group, covering a range of topics — theoretical, methodological as well as empirical.

International Relations vs. Area Studies: Which research club do I belong to?

Are you considered, or do you consider yourself, an IR or Area Studies scholar? Are you hesitating whether to pursue a career in an IR department or in Area Studies?  What demarcates the difference between those fields, and what are the outcomes of belonging to either of them? These are common questions regarding academic identity that both our peers and we, as early-career researchers, often grapple with. In response, our IR Reading Group decided to discuss and critically reflect on these questions in April. We delved into the three articles: Andrew Hurrell’s commentary from 2020 in St. Antony’s International Review, “Why International Relations and Area Studies Need Each Other”; Amitav Acharya’s 2014 proposal in International Studies Quarterly, “Global International Relations (IR) and Regional Worlds: A New Agenda for International Studies”; and Stephen Aris’s 2021 research article in International Theory, “International vs. Area? The Disciplinary-politics of Knowledge-exchange between IR and Area Studies.”