IR beyond the West: Challenges of Orientalism and the Middle East

Ayla Göl

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


Contemporary International Relations as well as the discipline of IR remains moored in Western ideas of sovereignty, statehood and identity that privileges fixity over fluidity, the secular over the temporal, and territoriality over flows. The non-western powers such as China and India are in fact even bigger defenders of these ideas. Postcolonial IR sought to remind us of the parochialism, historicity and particularities of these Western-turned-universal ideas and yet it has often failed to see non-Western states as actors rather than as entities over whom the West acts. Entering into this debate, this paper will focus on the specific issue of reincarnation in Tibetan Buddhism and argue that this is not an esoteric and religious issue outside the realm of IR but at the very heart of the national politics of Tibet and China and the international relations between China and India. Where the next Dalai Lama may get reincarnated has the potential to destabilise the region and increase the chances of war in case the reincarnation takes places in territories that is beyond Chinese control. The paper will also highlight the ways in which the principle and practice of reincarnation poses a radical challenge to the basic tenets of IR.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2014
EventBISA Annual Conference - Novotel Birmingham, Birmingham, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
Duration: 20 Jun 201321 Jun 2013


ConferenceBISA Annual Conference
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
Period20 Jun 201321 Jun 2013


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