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Links that might interest you after listening to this episode’s introduction:

Extra link: United Nations International Days Calendar

As I mentioned in the video, June is the month with the most International Days. If you want to see which issues the UN is hoping to raise awareness about through their International Days, have a look.

Extra link: How to be an Anti-Racist by Ibram X. Kendi

This book’s purpose is to explain why not being a racist is simply not enough.


Book One: Biography / Autobiography

This month: Helen Clark: Inside Stories

  • Written by Claudia Pond Eyley
  • Published by Auckland University Press

You might already know this, but it’s still worth mentioning. Helen Clark was not NZ’s first Prime Minister. That was Jenny Shipley. Helen was the country’s first elected Prime Minister. Helen is not a typical leader, and this is not a typical biography. In fact, instead of a narration of the life and times of New Zealand’s arguably most powerful and well known civil servant, we are presented with sections of interviews which were conducted as part of the production process for a documentary. Through these snippets, we learn about her life and her work, and we also get insider input about some darker sides of NZ politics. I chose Helen this month because she is known for her commitment to sustainable development, gender equality, health and drug policy, and social justice.

If you read Inside Stories, I am willing to bet that you’ll be interested in learning more about Helen. That’s why there are three extra links in this month’s blog post. The first link takes you to a talk that Helen herself gives and you can see her in action for yourself. The second link takes you to the trailer for the recent (2017) and much talked about documentary about Helen which documents her life in the months leading up to the nomination of the UN’s Secretary General. The third provides you with excerpts from the documentary which led to the publication of Inside Stories.

Extra link: “Yes she can”: Helen Clark at TEDxAuckland

Extra link: My year with Helen (Official trailer)

Extra link: Helen Clark: The Road to Power (excerpts)


Book Two: “In the words of an Expert”

This month: The Black Door

The title makes direct reference to Number 10 Downing Street, the official residence and office of British Prime Ministers. The books tells the tale of the relationships that each PM has had with secret intelligence operations since the beginning of the 20th century. Far from being a dry and boring historical recount of events, this book debunks some of the more common misconceptions about espionage while also proving that truth is often much stranger than fiction. You can trust what you’re reading because the research and the writing has been done by two of the most revered academics in the field, who happen to teach at two very prestigious Russel Group universities. Rory Cormac teaches at University of Nottingham and Richard Aldrich teaches at University of Warwick. 

Extra link:  Out of the Shadows Project  

This project is run by Luca Trenta from Swansea University

Out of the Shadows Podcast (Includes interview with Rory Cormac)

Swansea University is known for its excellent research and high quality publications about International Relations and Professor Luca Trenta’s Out of the Shadows project lives up to the reputation. Whether you want to find out what the project involves or just listen to Cormac himself discuss his book with Trenta, you’ll be happy you took the time to explore these links. 


Book Three: Guidance and Orientation

This month: Thinking Globally: A Global Studies Reader

  • Written by Mark Juergensmeyer

  • Published by University of California Press

Every bit of this book is informative. As the title indicates, it is not one text from one author, but rather a collection of publications from authorities on the foundational topics with which any International Relations scholar should be familiar. It has an attention grabbing Introduction, which also serves to put non-IR academics into context and the selection of texts ensures good representation of viewpoints from across the globe. If you like cats, there’s an interesting reference to them in the introduction.  

Extra Link: Naked Humanity Podcast: The Religious Causes of Violence with Mark Juergensmeyer

Oxford University’s PhD candidate Stefani Ruper interviews Mark Juergensmeyer. They discuss the roles and importance of religion as well as how people with the best of intentions can sometimes cause more harm than good. It’s a long interview that has its peaks and valleys, but overall, you’ll get a much clearer idea of the work that is being done to reduce violence connected to religion. 


Book Four: Inspiring and Informative Fiction

This month: Coconut

  • Written by Kopano Matlwa (Mobaso)

  • Published by Jacana Medi

In Wikipedia you can find a very long list of South African slang words. One of them is coconut and it’s defined on the page as “a racist remark towards black people who behave like Caucasians, "brown on the outside, white on the inside". Matlwa’s novel discusses what it means to grow up black in a white world in post-Apartheid South Africa. Your heart will break at various points in this novel and it will remind you that the struggle is not over. The South African government may have officially ended Apartheid, but in the day to day, among the people, and in the system, there is still a long way to go. 

Extra Link: Kopano Matlwa Mobaso’s website

Extra Link: Why I call myself a 'coconut' to claim my place in post-apartheid South Africa 

(An article from The Guardian by Panashe Chigumadzi)

Learn more about the life and motivations of Matlwa though her website and read more about the power of language in Chigumadzi’s article. 


I hope you enjoyed this post and I really hope that you take the time to explore the links! Until next time, take care!