Co-IRIS (International Relations and Islamic Studies Research Cohort)
International Relations (IR) as a field is not a unilateral project rather it is an intellectual platform. The aim of Co-IRIS is to explore Islamic contributions to the field. The inclusion of Muslim contributions is not meant to create an isolationist, judicious divide between what is Islamic and what is not. Co-IRIS is created to act on the inclusion of that knowledge as a building bloc in the IR field. It is premised on the idea that knowledge is fluid: peoples adopt and utilize thoughts and ideas regardless of faith, gender, nation, etc. The mainstream idea that all knowledge presented by the West is from an “Orientalist” perspective or that there is a “clash of civilizations” are both notions that are antithetical to our mission. Co-IRIS is created by a group of researchers interested in developing and sustaining a body of knowledge that addresses the theories and practices of the Muslim civilization and of Muslim societies with regards to international affairs and to the discipline of IR.
Co-IRIS was previously known as IR-IS Research Cohort. IR-IS Research Cohort was created by Dr Nassef Manabilang Adiong on December 29, 2012 through various social networking sites. His blog and twitter served as temporary web places where he formulated his thoughts and disseminated information. It was his aspiration to introduce Muslim contributions to the field and study of the “International” as he observed tremendous non-recognition of Islamic scholars’ theories and practices of IR among mainstream scholars, particularly in the West. His dream is to find shared values and mutual understanding between Islam and IR. Until he found avenues and academic tools as starting point to gradually materialize his aspirations by editing a book, creating a section conference, and organizing meetings with people who have similar passion and interest. Firstly, through exchanges of correspondence with Dr Raffaele Mauriello and Dr Deina Abdelkader and, later, a meeting in Rapallo (Italy) from October 30 to November 02, 2013 held as part of the annual Exploratory Symposia organized by the European International Studies Association, the Co-IRIS was born.
– Introduce Co-IRIS to institutions, think-tanks, and prominent scholars.
– Gather interested people to exchange research notes and share experiences.
– Survey review of related literature.
– Develop working concepts and frameworks of studying the subject matter.
– Present papers, panels, and sections to international conferences.
– Maintaining a dedicated website that will inform the public regarding Co-IRIS works and publications.
– Establishing a university or research center headquarter that will sustain Co-IRIS.
– Solicit funding via donations or volunteered contributions.
– Organize Co-IRIS international conferences and workshops.
– Establish e-branches and linkages to several institutes and universities in different countries.
– Establish an academic journal and a number of book series.
– Building up “Islam and IR” as a form of research agenda through developed paradigms and methodologies.
Logo and Title Head
The (green) crescent moon usually symbolizes political (flags and emblems) and economical (coins) representations from pre-Islamic Arabia, Sassanid and Ottoman empires to contemporary Muslim-dominated nation-states. Its representation is commonly accompanied by a star, but we chose a blank circle with its latitude and longitude lines to represent the entire world (i.e. International Relations) sans geographical lines of continents and countries to avoid political misrepresentations.
The title head is a combination of the logo, dash, and letters ‘I R I S’. The logo connotes the letters (capital ‘C’ being the green crescent moon and small ‘o’ being the blank world) and it is joined by the dash to connect with letters (IR for International Relations in colored blue and IS for Islamic Studies in colored green). While other letters/words such as ‘Research Cohort’ are in colored grey. This title head is use in every correspondence and other communicative and marketing tools in representing the research cohort.
Activities and Events
Meetings from April 2013 to January 2015
(1) An informal dinner meeting took place at a restaurant located in Tunalı, Ankara together with Turkish colleagues. It was held on April 27, 2013 after Nassef presented his paper for the 2nd Ankara International Relations Graduate Symposium organized by the Yıldırım Beyazıt University. They discussed forming a core group, finding a headquarter (secretariat office), and presenting research proposals to some Turkish research institutes. In addition, one Turkish colleague offered Nassef to do a talk to present IR-IS Research Cohort (Co-IRIS now) to IR professors and students at Sakarya University. However, all of these things never materialized despite the fact that Nassef continuously sent them emails of updates but he received lukewarm (oftentimes cold) responses.
(2) Informal talks were held to some participants of the section on Critical Relations between IR and Islam of the 8th Pan-European Conference on International Relations organized by the European International Studies Association (EISA) and hosted by the University of Warsaw on September 18-21, 2013. This was also the first time Nassef met Dr. Mauriello and talked about a possible platform for an IR-IS Research Cohort (Co-IRIS now).
(3) As part of the 2nd Exploratory Symposia organized by EISA in Rapallo, Italy on 31 October and 01 November 2013, the soon-to-be-founders (Nassef, Dr. Mauriello, and Dr. Abdelkader) of Co-IRIS met. It was an intensive 2-day symposium of Co-IRIS that leads to the establishment of website, edited book proposal, and participation to international conferences. It was also in this meeting that they coined Co-IRIS.
(4) The founders gathered for the XII Conference of the Italian Society for Middle Eastern Studies on January 16-17, 2015 at Universita Ca’ Foscari in Venice, Italy to present their panel. They also discussed edited book projects and forthcoming participation for the 56th Annual Convention of International Studies Association in New Orleans, USA.