Monday, February 9, 2015

Thanking members for bringing Sapphire Series omission to our attention

Both President Acharya and ISA-HQ have responded positively and satisfactorily to this note.

Dear Members:
Thank you for bringing to our attention the fact that the interesting Sapphire Series being inaugurated at ISA-New Orleans contains no speakers from the global south. To ensure that our participation is considered in future at these and other important events, the EXCOM of the GSCIS has sent to ISA the following note:


GSCIS members have brought to the attention of the caucus’ Executive Committee the inauguration of what seems to be a highly pertinent “Sapphire Series” devoted to current events, teaching and professional topics, and general debates on theorizing IR. As those who have followed the caucus know, these are all themes which we have been addressing since our foundation four years ago. Members have, however, also expressed their concern that the participants in this important exercise are almost exclusively from North America and Europe.

The EXCOM has discussed the matter and agreed that in view of the mandate of the caucus, the omission of persons from the global south is disappointing at best and alarming at worst. As you know, one of the purposes of the caucus is to encourage the integration—on equal terms and with respect-- of GS academics and researchers into the mainstream of IR from which we have (in large part) felt historically excluded. Alas, when members see that important series like this one include no recognizable GS scholars, especially at a time when a glance at any set of international news headlines will attest to the fact that GLOBAL SOUTH problems generate significant IR concerns and insecurities that percolate into the GLOBAL NORTH, they/we naturally feel excluded and frustrated. As one member has noted, “the selection of this Sapphire cohort … represents a mindset entrenched in the academy. The mindset reflects underlying complex power relations at play and which blur the dividing lines between gender, ethnicity, and socio-economic class.”

The EXCOM of the caucus therefore suggests that in the future, ISA/the organizers of such key series invite Caucuses and Sections within ISA to nominate speakers. The gesture would be much appreciated and we are sure that the audience will benefit from hearing diverse perspectives. We look forward to participating in later series.


J. Braveboy-Wagner

On behalf of the Executive Committee of the Global South Caucus


In other news, you've probably noticed that we have taken a little vacation from blogging post Singapore. We will be up and running again soon, including putting out some reminders before the New Orleans conference. Stay tuned.