politics and international relations

Fun Fact 212

Pakistan’s name comes from a pamphlet published by an independence activist in 1933. The word PAKSTAN was used as an acronym to refer to the five northern regions of the future country: Punjab, Afghania, Kashmir, Sindh, and Baluchistan. The letter “i” was later incorporated for ease of pronunciation and in Persian, Pakistan means “land of the pure”.

Merkel says EU cannot completely rely on US and Britain any more
German chancellor tells election rally in Munich that Europe must take its fate into its own hands after ‘unsatisfactory’ G7 talks

German Chancellor Angela Merkel is tired of the UK and USA, deciding to encourage the EU to stand more on their own feet than rely on either the Americans or the British.

“I’M A PRIVILEGED STRAIGHT WHITE MALE AND EVEN I’M OUTRAGED”. My favorite sign at Seattle’s March for Truth on Saturday June 3, 2017, part of the nationwide march.


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Fun Fact 213

US President Franklin D. Roosevelt spoke such good German that when he hosted Albert Einstein for dinner at the White House, the two conversed in German. 

Is WW3 Coming?

I’ve always thought I’d never live to see WW3 happen. Of course, that belief shook when Trump got elected as president, but I was still confident in the White House and the public’s ability to keep him in check. But as each day passes with Trump in office, I became less and less certain about my belief. And after hearing the repeated provocations between Trump and Kim, I’m not sure what I believe in anymore. 

‘They will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen.’ were Trump’s exact wordings. Had I not seen it on the news, I would’ve thought it was a line from Game of Thrones. North Korea is unstable, unpredictable, and unsafe - this comes as no shock to most people. But what truly surprised me was Trump’s tactless and undiplomatic way of handling the situation. Simply put, in a hostage crisis, the first thing authorities usually do is to negotiate with the hostage-taker, instead of instantly threatening to fire machine guns and toss grenades, to refrain from further escalating the situation. Trump’s method, is to meet threats with more threats, as if that would ever lead to anything good. 

Both leaders share some similar qualities - they’re both egotistical and self-centered, as if they are living in a world of their own. Trump doesn’t want to appear weak when threatened, so threatens back, but is that really the wisest thing to do? Every move the leader of the free world makes will directly impact everyone in this world. I understand that we shouldn’t have to live under the fear of North Korea forever, but as cliche as it sounds, violence never solves violence, it only ever results in deaths of countless civilians, especially with modern improved weaponry. One can only hope they remain empty threats.

Article submitted by 17-year-old Ivan from the USA.

Trump is Unworthy to Shake Angela Merkel’s Hand, Anyway

It was reprehensible DJT didn’t shake Merkel’s hand today. 

But she’s the better for it. 

The leader of the free world shouldn’t have to touch that goon.

Types of Literary Criticism


  • Also known as ‘practical criticism’.
  • This theory was dominant in the US and UK between the 30s and 70s. 
  • A formalist, decontextualised approach to literature where the text is examined independently of other influences.
  • Explores the essential elements of language, imagery, symbolism, figures of speech, ambiguity, irony, paradox.
  • Pretty huge span of approaches - for example, within Shakespearean new criticism you had A.C. Bradley’s character-based critique, Harley Granville-Barker’s study of stagecraft, G. Wilson Knight’s exploration of image and theme, and L.C. Knights’ suggestion that Bradley is a douche and Shakespeare was a poet, not a dramatist. (Yeah, fuck you, Knights.)


  • Funnily enough, this approach believes that historical context influences interpretation.
  • Stuff like: religion, political idealism of the time, cultural shifts, social attitudes, war, colonialism (although that’s a whole other bag of cats, see below), pop culture references and in-jokes, and anything that might have influenced the text during the era in which it was written.
  • Within historicist criticism there should be a distinction between text and context; history is the background that the text passively reflects.
  • Buuuut often this approach reveals more about the critic’s political/social/personal values than the period they are studying. Natch. 


  • Popular at the beginning of the 1900s - literature and art are timeless, revealing a universal truth about humanity.
  • Like, writers are totally free agents whose intentions shape the meaning of their writing, man. 
  • Like, human consciousness shapes language, culture and society, NOT the other way around.


  • A criticial theory systemised in the 20s, based on the materialist philosophy of Karl Marx (1818-83) and Friedrich Engels (1820-95) whereby the material circumstances of life are determining factors in the individual’s experience.
  • So, like, the economic organisation of society shapes culture, politics, philosophy, religion, education, law and art.
  • So, like, fuck liberal humanism; people are shaped by their environment, NOT the other way around. Authors and their works are basically products of society. 
  • These guys believe that art reflects changing economic conditions and class values. There’s a little cross-over with historicist criticism in the approach that literature should be interpreted within the context of the period and its political inflections - often with a focus on the lower classes.
  • Get yourself familiar with the Marxist concept of ‘ideology’ - a function which ‘naturalises’ the inequalities of power through a complex structure of social perceptions which renders class division invisible. 
  • Yeah. It’s heavy, dude.


  • Based on the linguistic theory of Ferdinand de Saussure (1857-1913)
  • The belief that language shapes humanity, culture, communication, and the way we perceive the world. Yay, go language.
  • Structuralism was a radical theory during the second half of the 20th Century whose central argument opposed liberal humanist ideas (Recap: lib-humans reckoned that human consciousness creates language and culture - structuralists reckoned the complete opposite. At this point everyone is basically being completely contrary for the sake of it.)


  • A critical theory prominent in France in the 1960s, primarily associated with philosopher Jacques Derrida and critic Roland Barthes - a reaction against structuralism as well as a development of it. <sigh>
  • Ok, so this language thing? How about we agree that reality is constituted through language BUT language itself is unstable and beyond our control. Like, language is an unreliable narrator, yeah? Yeahhh.
  • Essentially, it’s language that speaks, not the author. So let’s call it THE DEATH OF THE AUTHOR because we are needlessly dramatic. 
  • So, like, literary texts don’t present a single or unified view and the author cannot claim authority on interpretation. (The curtains are blue…)
  • You can trace a whole thread of critical development here from formalist criticism to structuralism to post-structuralism and later to deconstruction - all of which are concerned with the ambiguity and contradictions within text and language. To make it even more confusing, new historicism (see below) can also be seen as post-structuralist since it places stress on a text’s connection to culture rather than relying on the autonomy of the text itself.
  • Time for a stiff drink.


  • A term coined by Stephen Greenblatt (Shakespeare-critic-extraordinaire) in the 80s - a reaction against old historicism (where text is a reflection of historical background) and a move away from Marxist and post-structural theories.
  • New historicism asserts that the text is an active participant in historical development.
  • So, like, art and literature help to create the cultural values of the period in which they are produced. BUT, we are also formed and tied to cultural ideologies, so it ain’t all about the text. 
  • Involves close reading of the text, taking into account political ideology, social practice, religion, class division and conflict within society.
  • A pessimistic take on Foucault: the belief that we are ‘remarkably unfree’ of the influence of society and socio-political power operates through the language of major institutions to determine what’s normal and demonise ‘otherness’.
  • Seriously. Fuck society. 


  • We can’t let the Americans monopolise this kind of criticism.
  • Goddamn Greenblatt.
  • So consider this: how much freedom of thought do we actually have? Does culture shape our identities or can we think independently of dominant ideologies? Huh? Huh? Are we saying anything new yet? 
  • Basically, a historicist approach to political criticism with a revised conception of the connection between literature and culture. 
  • Culture is a complex, unstable and dynamic creature which offers an opportunity for the radical subversion of power and society.
  • Unlike historicism or Marxism, cultural materialists believe the author is able to achieve a degree of independence from prevailing structures of power and discourse. 
  • Often demonstrates optimism for political change - once again, critical theory reflects the critic’s personal opinions and hopes for change in present day society. Literary criticism can change the world, man.
  • Some crossover into feminist/queer/post-colonial theory, because FUCK ALL THOSE OLD WHITE GUYS.


  • Following the women’s movement of the 1960s, feminist theory was established in the 70s and 80s and founded on texts Le Deuxieme Sex by Simone de Beauvoir and Sexual Politics by Kate Millett.
  • Explicitly political – similarities to new historicism and cultural materialism - challenging the subordinate position of women in society and deconstructing/contesting the concept of essentialism, whereby men and women have intrinsically separate qualities and natures. 
  • Often seen as an attack on the Western literary canon and the exclusion of female writers throughout history. Focuses on female characters and authors, exploring the influence and restrictions of patriarchy, and constructions of gender, femininity and sexuality (both in text and culture).
  • Feminists influenced by post-structuralism tend to disregard the positive discrimination of women writers, claiming “it is language that speaks, not the author.”
  • Feminism and psychoanalytical theories (esp Freud and Lacan) contributed to the erosion of liberal humanist ideas, redefining human nature and the concept of child development, and exploring the psychology of patriarchy and male-dominated culture. 


  • During the 80s, queer theory was influenced by post-structuralist ideas of identity as being fluid and unstable, and investigates the role of sexual orientation within literary criticism from a social and political viewpoint.
  • An opposition to homophobia and the privilege of heterosexual culture and an exploration of themes that have been suppressed by conservative critical theory.
  • A look at LGBQTA, non-binary characters and authors and their influence within a historical, political, religious and social context.
  • The end of ‘gal-pals’ and ‘no-homo’, fuckboys.


  • A critique on the English canon and colonial rule with a focus on canonical texts written during periods of colonisation.
  • An exploration of cultural displacement/appropriation and the language and cultural values thrust upon/developed by colonised people.
  • Post-colonial theory gives voices to colonial ‘subjects’ and looks at the impact on individual and collective identity, as well as the complexity of colonial relationships and interaction.
  • Gonna have a lot to do with politics, history, social ideology, religion and international/race relations, obvs. Stay woke.

leranem  asked:

I guess you've already done that But can you recommend some resources for studying politics & political science? Thank you so much, I absolutely love your blog 😌

Thank you!!

Full disclosure: I was a joint political science and international relations major, so some of the following resources may be more international relations focused.

Generally, the most ‘useful resources’ will depend on the region and system you’re studying. I’ve included a range of general sources (for those pesky ideology based topics), and some region-specific sources.  

 Penguin Dictionary of International Relations (.pdf format) 

Using a subject dictionary is a brilliant way to get an overview of a new topic. You can use the concepts and theorists noted in the definition to expand your research and refine your understanding on the topic.

Note: don’t follow definitions blindly - even"official" dictionaries hold some political bias.

Open Yale Courses: Introduction to Political Philosophy

[Resources] [Watch Lectures Here]

Yale (and other leading universities) offer online “intro courses”, recorded on youtube. While the topics are US centric, the lectures on philosophers and theories (e.g. Hobbes, Locke, John Stuart Mill, Marxism etc.) provide a useful introduction, regardless of region.  

The Conversation

Editions: Australia, United Kingdom, United States, France, Africa

Stay ontop of “current issues”. They may serve as useful examples to illustrate theories, explain concepts and solidify your argument. A good way to do so is to follow a monthly magazine or read academic journals (See below) 

For example, The Conversation is written by leading academics and practitioners, but targeted at the layman. It deals with contentious current (and often complex) affairs in an accessible manner. I find that it’s an easy way to get a brief intro into current events, without getting bogged down by political jargon etc. 

Academic Journals (e.g. accessed through JSTOR)

Dear god, please utilise your university/ school’s access to academic databases. They should be your point of call when doing a research essay/ any other assignment - not google.

Look at the authoritative journal in your region. It’ll give you a good idea of 1. what the important issues/ discourse in the current literature are and 2. The opinions of the leading academics. For example, the Australian Political Science Association ranks and lists a variety of academic journals here.  

Oxford University Press Resources

Aside from being a leading publisher of introductory textbooks, OUP has an interactive site to support its publications. It contains flashcards, revision exercises, examples, and further commentary by the authors. It’s very handy regardless of whether you have the textbook or not. 

Crash Course

Sometimes, simple is best! With particularly complex topics,I find its always easier to take a broad stroked view, and then slowly build upon the detail. For example, Crash Course does a brilliant intro to the US system.

Ted ed: Government Declassified

Many of these videos are US centric. Nevertheless, there’s a few interesting videos on political philosophy. And heck, its always a lot more interesting to watch a video than struggle through a 20+ page article!  

By region/ subject area

The following resources list a range of additional websites etc which are helpful if you want specific information on a particular region. 

UK: Keele’s Guide 

US: Library of Congress 

AUS: USYD’s resources for political science and international relations and you can find a list of uni resources, think tanks and other orgs here.  

Hope that helps! 

- fuckstudy 

nightsky6  asked:

I don't understand, aren't liberals democrats and progressives...? I'm a little confused. Pls shed some light

Anonymous said to berniesrevolution:

I thought Bernie was a liberal

Anonymous said to berniesrevolution:

Protip: don’t say the whole “left” thing. Bernie is a progressive and wonderful person. Applying simply “left” to him is not a good discription. It kind of fucks both parties here.

Anonymous said to berniesrevolution:

Is a liberal now like a neo-liberal? Sorry, I’m confused by all the terms now…

We have had a few of these recently, so I figured I would address them all at once. 

There is a problem with using the term Liberal in politics, especially in the United States. Two facets of any ideology are Social and Economic policy. In the United States, we have had an odd arrangement with our political parties. Prior to Clinton, the Democratic party had Liberal Social and a more Conservative Economic Policy. The Republican’s, since Reagan, have had Conservative social and Neo-Liberal Economic Policy. Since Clinton, the Democrats have been pushing Liberal Social and Neo-Liberal Economic Policy. 

See how confusing that is? When you say “Liberal” context is important. Are we talking economic issues, social issues or the amount of cheese on nachos? 

It can become very confusing. 

That being said, here are some basic definitions to help you out:

Hence why Bernie is a Leftist, a Progressive and a Liberal. 

This is also why I am @theliberaltony

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson says the Trump administration is open to direct talks with North Korea as long as the agenda is right — that is, denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula.

As he prepared to chair a U.N. Security Council meeting on the subject, Tillerson sat down with NPR’s Steve Inskeep to explain his approach. The secretary says North Korea has to come to the table willing to talk about giving up its nuclear weapons.

“You know if you listen to the North Korea, their reason for having nuclear weapons is they believe it is their only pathway to secure the ongoing existence of their regime,” Tillerson explained. “We hope to convince them is that: you do not need these weapons to secure the existence of your regime. … We do not seek a collapse of the regime. We do not seek an accelerated reunification of the peninsula. We seek a denuclearized Korean peninsula,” he stressed, adding he believes that China shares this goal and is beginning to question whether North Korea is a “liability.”

Trump Administration Wants North Korea At Negotiating Table On Nuclear Weapons

Photo: Ariel Zambelich/NPR

ID #68463

Name: Nico
Age: 18
Country: Canada

Hi! My name is Nico and I’ve just finished high school here, and I’ll be studying international relations in college come September. I’m from British Columbia, Canada, and would love to have a penpal that I can send cool little snacks and other things to (despite being a broke student). I’m a huge Geography and History nerd as well, and enjoy talking and debating about politics and current events.
I’m a very easygoing person that tries to have a positive outlook on life, and I’m really open to meeting all sorts of people.
That being said, my hobbies include hiking, needle felting (ask me about it sometime?), and gaming. I play a lot of Overwatch, Stardew Valley, and I love love love Dragon Age. My favourite shows are The Amazing Race, and Skam. I listen to Sigur Ros, Of Monsters and Men, Sekai no Owari, and Bastille just to name a few. :P
I also speak French, Japanese, and am currently learning Norwegian. I’m really open to anyone and anything so feel free to send a shout! \o/

Preferences: Preferably someone around my age so 16-17+ ish

Macron Wins! Well done, France!

Yes, I know Macron is a 39 year-old banker with no electoral experience, but he’s smart and sane and, right now, that counts for something.

It’s like France saw Britain then the U.S. dive headfirst into an empty pool and said, “Hey! Let’s swim instead!”

Two huge concerns:

1) LePen and her supporters won’t go silently into that good night. France must still contend with burgeoning fascism. But unlike in the U.S., it won’t be emanating from the seat of power.

2) France is one of five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, the others being the U.S., the U.K., Russia, and China. Which means two of the five, the U.S. and now France, are led by political novices.

We’re in uncharted waters, but at this moment, let’s celebrate the wisdom of the French voters and be grateful they resoundingly rejected fascism.

Vocab List: Théorie des relations internationales

Originally posted by maptitude1

Since now I’m studying International relations and I managed to find a book of IR theory in French, I figured I’d put together my two fields of study. These are highly specific terms as they refer to the theories of international relations. 

  • Réalisme: realism
  • Hégémon: hegemon
  • État de nature: state of nature
  • Souveraineté: sovereignty
  • Régime: regime
  • Sécurité: security
  • Puissance: power
  • Intérêt national: national interest
  • Idéologie: ideology
  • Relations interétatiques: interstate relations
  • Anarchie: Anarchy
  • Système international: international system
  • Monopole: monopoly
  • Course aux armements: arms race
  • Grandes Puissances: Great Powers
  • Stabilité: stability
  • Dilemme de sécurité: security dilemma
  • Organisations internationales: international organizations
  • Diplomatie: diplomacy
  • Libéralisme: liberalism
  • Acteurs non étatiques: non-state actors
  • Constructivisme: constructivism
  • Paix démocratique: democratic peace
  • Interdépendance: interdependence