What Ukraine Teaches Us About International Relations and Vice Versa


The Russian full-scale invasion of Ukraine on the 24 February 2022 is seen by many as a catastrophe of global proportions and a critical juncture for the International Relations, both as academic discipline and as political practice. In this review essay, I offer a stock-taking exercise that puts Ukraine-specific debates into the broader context of the International Relations (IR) discipline. My aim is twofold: to show how debates about Ukraine go right to the heart of major meta theories in IR and to use Ukrainian specificity and complexity to problematize compartmentalized approaches to “area studies” and to some strands of “postcolonialism”. I conclude by showcasing recent publications of scholars of and from Ukraine to provide a glimpse into this relatively small but vibrant academic community. I further argue that Ukraine’s predicament helps highlight the persistence of Cold War binaries, with their strong colonial baggage, including within the so-called critical IR.

DOI Code: 10.1285/i20398573v9n2p97

Keywords: International Relations; Global IR; Ukraine; postcolonial critique; decolonisation


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