The GSCIS Developing Eurasia subsection proposal
Jason E. Strakes
International School for Caucasus Studies
Ilia State University
While the recently independent states of former Soviet Eurasia exhibit many of the conditions and characteristics of post-colonial and developing nations, the study of these countries in the U.S. and Western European academy has traditionally been either relegated to a generic "post-communist" subfield, or framed according to narratives of an enduring geopolitical dichotomy between power centers representing a reified "East" and "West". It is thus arguable that these disciplinary conventions have possibly imposed unnecessary limitations on the ability of regional scholars to introduce new approaches and, more importantly, to generate novel findings regarding the foreign policies and international relations of these states. I would therefore like to take this opportunity to extend a proposal for establishing a research agenda within GSCIS directed at developing a conceptual framework for integrating "Eurasian" and "developing"/Global South perspectives in IR.
One recent empirical example which underscores the relevance of this endeavor is provided by the case of Azerbaijan, which in spring 2011 became the third former Soviet republic (following Belarus and Turkmenistan) to join the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), defying the expectations of observers who have sought to characterize it as an inherently "pro-Western" or "European-oriented" state. The creation of a Eurasian/developing north facility within GSCIS would serve to attract participation by regional scholars who question prevailing standards of categorization, as well as to address current trends and expand the scope of regional studies within the discipline. Interested parties may direct correspondence to: firstname.lastname@example.org.: