Work in Progress
Books, Textbooks, and Edited Volumes
(Gendered) International Relations, under contract, Oxford University Press.
The textbook opens by providing evidence that gender is a pervasive power structure in global politics, guiding divisions of power, violence, labor, and resources and playing a key role in the preservation of race, class, sexual, and national divisions in global politics. After introducing this theoretical framework, the textbook appears much like a “normal” IR textbook – with chapters on different paradigmatic approaches to the study of global politics. The difference between this text and others on the market (e.g., Goldstein, Baylis and Smith, etc.) is that, as it explains each theoretical approach and provides examples used as evidence to support or rebut each theoretical approach, it also provides a critical feminist analysis of each paradigm. These analyses are accessible and in plain language, relating to the empirical and theoretical interests of IR theorizing traditionally and extending and pushing its boundaries all at once.The distinctiveness of such a textbook is this: this isn’t a book solely for a “gender and IR” class, and “gender” shouldn’t be just a chapter in an IR text that you have to take another course to learn about. Instead, IR is fundamentally different when viewed through feminist lenses, and that argument, while often made, has rarely been explained and supported in textbook form. We tell our students, in monographs and textbooks, that you “cannot think about IR without thinking about gender” – this book means to supply them with the tools to do just that.
Sexual Relations as International Relations, drafting.
I am currently working on two book projects as a part of a grant project entitled “Sexual Relations as International Relations.” The first is a book on dynastic marriages, sexual relationships, and territory transfers in the establishment and development of the imperial state. With cases from Britain, France, China, India, and Ethiopia, the book, tentatively titled State/Marriage, looking at the making of empire through marriage, the control of vassals through marriage, the control of succession through marriage, the settling of the borders of the state through marriage consummation, and the signification of consummation in the relationship between church and state. Contending that state politics and marriage politics have been always and already intertwined, the project explores an underexplored part of the ways that gender inequity influences the structure and function of government. The second is a book project tentatively titled Sexual Relations as International Relations, which traces the conceptual relationship between borders and sex performances through laws and practices around partner and marriage migration, as well as gender- and sexuality-based asylum, from 1980 to 2020. Combining content analysis and jurisprudential analysis, the book looks at the ways that states use sex acts to distribute (and deny) admittance. It will be bookended by theoretical chapters framing sexual relationships as international politics, and international politics as hierarchically structured in part through sexualities.
Peer-Reviewed Journal Articles
with J. Samuel Barkin, project on failure in International Relations Theorizing
Referencing the recent debate about the “end of IR theory,” we make an alternative proposition: IR theory is not over, it is failing. We see two constitutive features of the field right now. First, we see a variety of reactions to the failure of the neo(realist)-neo(liberal) synthesis in IR, ranging from a retreat into neopositivist hypothesis-testing to a proliferation of critical and constructivist alternatives to the synthesis – all of which look to (re)create a grand narrative in IR. Second, and relatedly, we see two types of failure in IR theory: intellectual failure to find another grand narrative, and disciplinary failure resulting from the commitment to that impossible goal. IR theorizing currently denies and fights against that failure; we argue that a different position is possible and advantageous. Failure in the grand project of IR theory, we argue, is something to be both celebrated and, at the same time, actively participated in. We understand failure here in queer theory terms; not as a normative bad, but as a potential paradigm-shift.
With Cameron Thies and Kelly Kadera, “Critiquing the Feminist Peace,” being edited for submission
Are states that exhibit domestic gender equality more peaceful internationally? Recent quantitative work has begun to explore the role of gender equality in a variety of conflict related outcomes, including at the level of interstate relations. We explore the theoretical foundations of these arguments drawing on feminist theory and the lack of robustness of empirical findings by considering good social science research design. Rather than end with solely a critique, we argue for better measures for representing common understandings of gender equality and external conflict and cooperation, and use them to run statistical analyses of the relationships between gender equality and state behavior. Even with arguably better measures of gender equality and conflict, our results represent a mixed bag of evidence for the feminist peace.