Policing Intellectual Boundaries? Émigré Scholars, the Council on Foreign Relations Study Group on International Theory, and American International Relations in the 1950s

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Abstract

During the 1950s, several intellectual endeavors on both sides of the Atlantic aimed to further theoretical principles of IR. One of these endeavors was the Council on Foreign Relations Study Group on International Theory that met between December 1953 and June 1954. It brought together scholars from across academic disciplines and professions, but particularly noteworthy is the involvement of émigré scholars. Tracing their contribution, this article takes a critical stance toward common historiographical accounts of the discipline in which émigrés’ involvement is characterized as a gambit to secure space for their alternative visions of scholarship in a hostile academic environment and that they had turned into critics of American liberal democracy due to their experiences with fascism in Europe. By contrast, this article calls for a reconsideration of the role of émigrés by arguing that their engagement in IR’s move to theorization was intended to help retain the discipline’s pluralism in an effort to bridge theory and practice. Getting involved in this interdisciplinary field constituted their attempt to sustain intellectual pluralism across American social sciences, as they believed that behavioralism could endanger American democracy by reducing the contingency, ephemerality, and relationality of human life to questions of social planning.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)(In-press)
JournalInternational History Review
Volume(In-press)
Early online date22 Apr 2019
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 22 Apr 2019

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study group
pluralism
international relations
democracy
social planning
fascism
contingency
critic
social science
profession
experience
1950s
Pluralism
International Relations
Contingency
Stance
Liberal Democracy
Ephemerality
Academic Discipline
Planning

Bibliographical note

This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in International History Review on 22/04/2019 available online: http://www.tandfonline.com/ 10.1080/07075332.2019.1598464

Copyright © and Moral Rights are retained by the author(s) and/ or other copyright owners. A copy can be downloaded for personal non-commercial research or study, without prior permission or charge. This item cannot be reproduced or quoted extensively from without first obtaining permission in writing from the copyright holder(s). The content must not be changed in any way or sold commercially in any format or medium without the formal permission of the copyright holders.

Keywords

  • Behavioralism
  • council on foreign relations
  • history of international relations
  • pluralism
  • Émigré scholars

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • History
  • Sociology and Political Science

Cite this

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title = "Policing Intellectual Boundaries?: {\'E}migr{\'e} Scholars, the Council on Foreign Relations Study Group on International Theory, and American International Relations in the 1950s",
abstract = "During the 1950s, several intellectual endeavors on both sides of the Atlantic aimed to further theoretical principles of IR. One of these endeavors was the Council on Foreign Relations Study Group on International Theory that met between December 1953 and June 1954. It brought together scholars from across academic disciplines and professions, but particularly noteworthy is the involvement of {\'e}migr{\'e} scholars. Tracing their contribution, this article takes a critical stance toward common historiographical accounts of the discipline in which {\'e}migr{\'e}s’ involvement is characterized as a gambit to secure space for their alternative visions of scholarship in a hostile academic environment and that they had turned into critics of American liberal democracy due to their experiences with fascism in Europe. By contrast, this article calls for a reconsideration of the role of {\'e}migr{\'e}s by arguing that their engagement in IR’s move to theorization was intended to help retain the discipline’s pluralism in an effort to bridge theory and practice. Getting involved in this interdisciplinary field constituted their attempt to sustain intellectual pluralism across American social sciences, as they believed that behavioralism could endanger American democracy by reducing the contingency, ephemerality, and relationality of human life to questions of social planning.",
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N2 - During the 1950s, several intellectual endeavors on both sides of the Atlantic aimed to further theoretical principles of IR. One of these endeavors was the Council on Foreign Relations Study Group on International Theory that met between December 1953 and June 1954. It brought together scholars from across academic disciplines and professions, but particularly noteworthy is the involvement of émigré scholars. Tracing their contribution, this article takes a critical stance toward common historiographical accounts of the discipline in which émigrés’ involvement is characterized as a gambit to secure space for their alternative visions of scholarship in a hostile academic environment and that they had turned into critics of American liberal democracy due to their experiences with fascism in Europe. By contrast, this article calls for a reconsideration of the role of émigrés by arguing that their engagement in IR’s move to theorization was intended to help retain the discipline’s pluralism in an effort to bridge theory and practice. Getting involved in this interdisciplinary field constituted their attempt to sustain intellectual pluralism across American social sciences, as they believed that behavioralism could endanger American democracy by reducing the contingency, ephemerality, and relationality of human life to questions of social planning.

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