global politics, relationally

ISA-Northeast Method Workshop Announcement


“Interpretive and Relational Research Methodologies”

A One-Day Graduate Student Workshop

Sponsored by the International Studies Association-Northeast Region

8 November, 2014 • Baltimore, Maryland

The field of International Studies has always been interdisciplinary, with scholars drawing on a variety of qualitative and quantitative techniques of data collection and data analysis as they seek to produce knowledge about global politics. Recent debates about epistemology and ontology have advanced the methodological openness of the field, albeit mainly at a meta-theoretical level. And while interest in techniques falling outside of well-established comparative and statistical modes of inference has been sparked, opportunities for scholars to discuss and flesh out the operational requirements of these alternative routes to knowledge remain relatively infrequent.

This tenth annual workshop aims to address this lacuna, bringing together faculty and graduate students in a pedagogical environment. The workshop will focus broadly on research approaches that differ in various ways from statistical and comparative methodologies: interpretive methodologies, which highlight the grounding of analysis in actors’ lived experiences and thus produce knowledge phenomenologically and hermeneutically; holistic case studies and forms of process-tracing that do not reduce to the measurement of intervening variables; and relational methodologies, which concentrate on how social networks and intersubjective discursive processes concatenate to generate outcomes.

In the two morning sessions, four established scholars, whose work utilizes such approaches as ethnography, discourse analysis, historical criticism, and linguistic analysis, will talk about precisely how they do their empirical work. These tutorial sessions will be followed by an extended afternoon session in which graduate student participants will have an opportunity to receive feedback from the established scholars and from their fellow workshop participants.

This year’s faculty participants include:

Francois Debrix (Virginia Tech)

Patrick Thaddeus Jackson (American University)

Lauren Wilcox (Cambridge)

Jennifer Mitzen (Ohio State)

The workshop will be held in conjunction with the International Studies Association-Northeast’s annual conference, which will take place from 7-8 November in Baltimore,Maryland. Although all attendees of the conference may come to the workshop sessions, the 6-8 graduate students officially participating in the workshop will have the opportunity to receive detailed feedback and specialized instruction in the methodologies under discussion.

Graduate students interested in participating in the workshop should send their c.v. and a letter describing their current research project to Jessica Auchter by e-mail: Applications must be received by 15 July 2014.