Ayse Zarakol of the University of Cambridge to Deliver CESS Keynote Address

We are pleased to announce that the CESS 2023 annual conference keynote speaker is renowned Dr. Ayşe Zarakol, author of After Defeat: How the East Learned to Live with the West and Before the West: the Rise and Fall of Eastern World Orders.

Foreign Affairs describes her latest book as “an ingenious way” out of the intellectual impasse of the “Eurocentric view of the past” which to this date continues to dominate international relations scholarship.

The professor of international relations and a politics fellow at Emmanuel College of the University of Cambridge will delve into “Central Eurasia in International Relations: A Rethinking” at CESS23.

​​“I am a Professor of International Relations at the University of Cambridge, where I also have an appointment as a Politics Fellow at Emmanuel College.

I grew up in Istanbul, Turkey and moved to the US to attend Middlebury College, Vermont (BA in Political Science and Classical Studies). My graduate degrees are from University of Wisconsin – Madison (MA and PhD in Political Science). After graduation I worked as a tenure-track Assistant Professor in Politics at Washington & Lee University, Virginia, until I moved to Cambridge University in 2013. 

My research is at the intersection of historical sociology and IR, focusing on East-West relations in the international system, history and future of world order(s), conceptualisations of modernity and sovereignty, rising and declining powers, and Turkish politics in a comparative perspective. My articles have appeared in journals such as International Organization, American Political Science Review, International Affairs, International Theory, International Studies Quarterly, European Journal of International Relations, Review of International Studies ​etc. (for a full list see here).  

I am the author of After Defeat: How the East Learned to Live with the West (Cambridge University Press, 2011), which deals with international stigmatisation and the integration of defeated non-Western powers (Turkey after WWI, Japan after WWII and Russia after the Cold War) into the international system. This book was also published in Turkish as Yenilgiden Sonra: Doğu Batı ile Yaşamayı Nasıl Öğrendi from Koç University Press (2012), with a new introduction I wrote for Turkish readers. A second Turkish edition was published in 2019. Between 2013 and 2017, I oversaw an international collaboration aimed at theorising Hierarchies in World Politics (Cambridge University Press, 2017) [runner up for 2019 ISA Theory section prize].  

My new book, Before the West: the Rise and Fall of Eastern World Orders, which advances an alternative global history for IR focused on (Eur)asia, was published in March 2022 by Cambridge University Press. In this book I re-theorise sovereignty, order and decline from a more global perspective.  Before the West has won the 2023 book prize from the ISA HIST section and has a received an Honourable Mention from the book prize committee of the ISA THEORY section. (Click here for more, including reviews.)

I was recently awarded a two year Knowledge Frontiers Grant by the British Academy to oversee a collaboration of IR scholars and historians to study historical periods of disorder in comparison with the present.”