17. 12. 2023

(En)Countering epistemic imperialism: A critique of “Westsplaining” and coloniality in dominant debates on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine

Marjan Blan, Unsplash

In their recent article, Míla O'Sullivan and her colleagues explore the impact of Russia's invasion of Ukraine and Ukraine's resilient response through mainstream and feminist International Relations (IR) debates. The article is an open-access.


On February 24, 2022, the world was surprised by Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine and, perhaps even more so, by Ukraine’s fierce resistance to it. In this article, we examine mainstream and feminist International Relations (IR) debates that have emerged in response to Russia’s invasion, as well as the older debates revived through them. Building on decolonial and feminist scholarship, prominently centering feminist debates from Europe’s East and Central Asia, we argue that dominant Western IR debates on Russia and Ukraine are shaped by inter-imperiality. We trace issues of epistemic injustice, epistemic imperialism and coloniality of knowledge production in mainstream IR and see them replicated in feminist debates, including from global South perspectives. We conclude with a contemplation on the structural changes warranted across academia to eliminate the coloniality of knowledge production about Ukraine and fellow societies as well as Indigenous nations affected by Russian colonial and imperial violence.

The full-text article is available in the link below.