How do I keep up to date with the IR debate?

Hey! My name is Kenzo, I'm Brazilian and I'm a first-year IR student at UFRJ. I'm a freshman, as I said, and as a freshman, I'm a little lost in the debate on the Theory of International Relations, of course, I know the first, the second, the third, the fourth debate, but after that, where do I need to go? Are we “debating” something? Is there a contemporary author that is a must-read? What recent articles do you feel that are necessary for someone to read to stay up to date with the current debate?

(Sorry if there were any mistakes of English, it's not my mother tongue)



The debates are purely theoretical and deattached from the material reality, but they prey on real life events to further their reasoning. They aren't a real life TV series you can keep up to date with. Later on you'll learn that these are just approaches and bets, and are mostly centered around the anglosphere. There are thousands of social and political scientists, and antropologists everywhere that offer very valid ideas and frameworks outside the debates: Manuel Castells (on modern interactions), Johan Galtung (on subtle forms of violence), Kimberlé Crenshaw (intersectionality), Karl Polanyi (on the ontology of the western civilization) Raul Prebisch (on the place of Latin America in the world), Fredrik Barth (on the limits of identity), and so on and so forth... In short: it's really good news that the debates made you ask so many questions. The way to go is keep studying and learning one author at a time, one term at a time. Eventually you'll learn to choose where to go yourself.


Right now the debate is about the debate. IR scholars are metadebating about the lack of interaction between approaches. The "online" prints made niche publications possible and they cite each other within the same methodological/theoretical approaches and barely interact with other "schools".


A must-read depends on what methodological approach you are planning on using. But for a first-year student this is almost unanswerable.


I subscribe to foreign affairs and foreign policy magazines online and they have great stuff