International Relations Reading List

This is the place where you can see my personal reading list regarding IR divided by the time based subheadings with short reviews. Needless to say I won’t be writing the textbooks written by the Anadolu University.

Before the Semester

I have seen this book in Hacettepe University’s IR department’s reading list. And because it is my alma-mater I have started to read this book. It turned out that this book gave me exactly what I needed. As the writers said to the student in the preface:

This textbook is a map that can orient you to the main topics, debates, and issue
areas in international relations.

I am currently reading it and learning the general outline of the field. So if you want to see what’s what, go with this book. Doesn’t delve too much in theory but we are going to do it while studying I guess. At any rate I am content with my reading, it is fun, makes you think about the complexities of statecraft by putting some role playing exercises and doesn’t do what I call “academical voice” which sounds to the ear very nasal and irritating. On the contrary you realize that this book has been written by people who are genuinely excited about what they are teaching.

This is a book referenced by many of the curriculum of various universities which provide IR education in Turkish. I have bought this book today and, to be frank, blown away by it as far as I’ve read. Writers have created a template for each subject they are discussing: first they give a brief introduction to the subject and second they ask several questions at the end of each chapter, which is titled as “Questions for the Curious” interestingly, and let the student/reader build on this fundamental knowledge grain they have discussed.

The questions are not designed to have a fixed answer or make you read/write a dictionary definition. Let me give you an example:

How do you evaluate the relation and/or the differences between international relations and internal relations?

Needless to say, this has an answer but your answer and my answer will indubitably change in details. You might see the IR as a tool of Internal relations of a state and henceforth is bound to it; or you might see it as a long term endeavor, independent from ruling administration. I think I will be providing my answers to these questions as blogposts in the coming semester.

All in all, it is a good reference book; maybe not because it contains all the theoretical and/or practical information of the IR field but it gives a good start and best of all, it asks questions – in humble opinion – any scholar in this field should have asked during their training.

This is also another book that’s been used as a cornerstone reference in many curricula. Rightly so if I might add. This three volume set meticulously explains the history of Turkish Foreign Policy starting from 1919 and ends in 2012 so far. Although it is meticulous, it has a lively voice and doesn’t bore you while reading. What I found most interesting is, this set allows you to read it vertically, as in chronologically investigating foreign policies with different countries, or horizontally, as in, say,what happened between USA and Turkey between years this and this.

The only downside I can find is, it has a point of view from Turkey, which is not surprising considering the title and all. But if it had an English translation I believe it would be an invaluable resource for IR scholars worldwide who are interested in Turkey.