I am very happy to announce that I have taken up a position in the Coral Bell School of Asia Pacific Affairs at the Australian National University, where I will be serving as the Convenor of Bachelor of Asia Pacific Affairs. This role entails working on the new dual degree program ANU has established with Ritsumeikan University, which is due to commence in early 2019. I will be based primarily at Ritsumeikan’s College of Global Liberal Arts, located at its Osaka Ibaraki Campus. I completed my PhD at the ANU, and it has always felt like my academic home, so I am glad to be able to return to the university, while continuing to contribute to the further globalisation of higher education in Japan. More information about the Bachelor of Asia Pacific Affairs & Bachelor of Global Liberal Arts can be found on the ANU site and the Ritsumeikan site.
I have been rather lax with updating this page. Above is a picture with Waseda University President Kamata at a ceremony in February 2018, when I was awarded a research award by the university. I was very happy for my work to be acknowledged. At the end of August 2018 I left the School of Political Science and Economics, after spending 5 years working there. I would like to thank all my students, especially those who joined my seminar, as well as the administrative staff for their support and assistance. I learned a lot during my time at Waseda and developed as a scholar.
I have a new op-ed in The Japan Times, which is based on my research on democracy and its trajectory. Without wanting to downplay or understate the many problems democracy is currently facing, with this piece I wanted to provide some historical perspective to suggest things are not quite as bad as some are suggesting. It is important we are realistic about what we can hope from democracy, and on a more fundamental level, not lose hope in its promise.
Perspectives on Politics is a journal that I have long admired, so I am very happy to now appear in both the September and December 2017 issues. In the September issue I have a full length article that argues democratic peace scholarship is not looking enough at changes within established democracies, specifically how trends like populism and neoliberalism are changing how democracy operates, which has consequences for thinking about their international behaviour. This is followed by a review on two important recent books on democracy: Breaking Democracy’s Spell, by John Dunn and Politics Against Domination, by Ian Shapiro. And in the December issue, there is a review of my book, The Rise of Democracy, by Michael Thompson. Links below.
- Christopher Hobson, ‘Democratic Peace: Progress and Crisis’, Perspectives on Politics, 15:3 (September 2017).
- Christopher Hobson ‘Review: Breaking Democracy’s Spell, by John Dunn and Politics Against Domination, by Ian Shapiro’, Perspectives on Politics, 15:3 (September 2017).
- Michael Thompson, ‘Review: The Rise of Democracy: Revolution, War and Transformations in International Politics Since 1776, by Christopher Hobson and The Trouble with Democracy: Political Modernity in the 21st Century, edited by Gerard Rosich and Peter Wagner‘, Perspectives on Politics, 15:4 (December 2017).
This year’s annual Millennium conference is on the politics of time in IR. Unfortunately I am not able to make it this year, but an older article of mine relevant to the conference has been available for free this month. The article is entitled ‘Beyond the End of History: The Need for a “Radical Historicisation” of Democracy in International Relations’. I argue that there is a tendency to remove democracy from the historical context in which it developed, which has had negative consequences for how we understand its current role and future potential. This was a precursor to what I explore in much greater length in my 2015 book with Edinburgh University Press, The Rise of Democracy. I think the arguments I make in the article and book have some extra relevance in light of the recent travails of established democracies exemplified by Brexit and the Trump presidency. The perspective I develop tries to chart a course between excessive confidence and equally misleading pessimism.
Click on this link to read the article for free. Thanks to SAGE and Millennium for making the piece available more widely.
My forthcoming article in Political Studies Review, ‘Democracy: Trap, Tragedy or Crisis?’ is now available through SAGE’s OnlineFirst. It is a synthesis review of a series of recent books considering whether democracy is in crisis, or experiencing multiple crises. This is a topic that will presumably only be increasing in significance. Here is the abstract:
A quarter of a century after the fall of the Berlin Wall and the confidence once surrounding liberal democracy has been replaced with increasing concerns over its health. Reflecting this change of mood, there has been a proliferation of books examining whether democracy may be in crisis. This review surveys some of these recent contributions, which are united by a much more pessimistic tone. As these books detail, democracy now confronts major problems in essentially every sphere, with changes in the economic realm arguably being the most consequential. Rather than theorising more expansive forms of democracy, the challenge increasingly seems to be one of holding onto what we already have.
If you have access, you can download the article here, otherwise the original version (before revisions) can be downloaded here.
After a bit of silence, I have a new op-ed in The Japan Times. Until now I have avoided writing about Trump and the US elections, but – like many – I am deeply concerned about what his victory portends. This piece is my first cut at trying to think through what it means and how we should respond.
I’ll be heading back to London this week for the 2016 edition of the annual Millennium conference at the LSE. This year the theme is race and racism in world politics. I must admit, this is relatively new territory for me, so I am looking forward to listening and learning a lot over the weekend. My contribution will be further developing my critical engagement with the Responsibility to Protect doctrine. It builds on my paper from last year, which was recently published in the conference special issue of the journal. This year I’ll be thinking about R2P through the lens of the conference theme, and focusing specifically on the limits in the way that R2P proponents conceive of violence. A draft of the conference program can be found here.
My monograph from last year, The Rise of Democracy, is now available as an eBook at the more manageable price of £19.99. If you want to get a better idea of what my book is about, you can download the book’s introduction here. And you can purchase the book – in either electronic or hardback format – through Edinburgh University Press.
I am very happy to see that the United Nations University has published the final report from the Fukushima Global Communication Programme. The report provides a comprehensive summary of the main findings from the joint research project, as well as information about all the different activities associated with it. I am grateful to have had the opportunity to participate and contribute to the project, and I hope the findings might be of some use. The full report is available here. Two working papers I wrote for the project are also still available: ‘Rethinking Human Security after the March 2011 Tohoku Earthquake, Tsunami and Nuclear Accident’ (March 2014) and ‘Rebuilding Trust After Fukushima’ (March 2015).