Posts Tagged: international relations

Most face-to-face interaction with other IR types happens at conferences, and it’s easy to break conferences down by profile and inclusiveness. The ISA annual conference is supposed to rate pretty highly on both, and almost everyone has been a few times by the end of their post-grad careers. Then there are the conferences that are high profile but less inclusive. APSA, BISA, the ISA regional conferences, and the newly constituted EISA are fairly high profile in that most IR professionals have heard of them, but they’re less inclusive in that few of us would cross broad bodies of water and long customs lines to participate.

Many have recently noticed how this concentration of conferences in the (global) North and the (ominous italics) West means that none of them are very inclusive, and the association with prestige is a problem. Even more recently, many new conferences have started popping up to be more inclusive in a global sense. These efforts to expand the scope of participation in the discourse are bound to fail, and I’m going to argue that they’re going to fail on purpose by accident. (Yes, I proofread.)

The ethical consequences of academic research in terms of its capacity to induce insecurity is an old topic of discussion that has affected various disciplines in different ways. Generally speaking, the more abstract the output of a given discipline, the less frequently it comes up in debates about what limits academics should put on their research activities.

Let’s start with the natural sciences. Ethics are such a huge topic in the highly empirical fields of medicine and biology that, when Europe says “Ethics Committee” they mean „medical ethics“, and there are entire NGOs devoted to the ethics of biological research. For their potential to inform weapons development, chemists and physicists are also generally fairly aware of the potential ethical consequences of their work in terms of security. Einstein famously regretted encouraging the American government to pursue atomic weapons research, and Robert Oppenheimer, who led that research in the Manhattan Project, could hardly bear to remember his role in creating the most destructive of weapons.

Scroll To Top