Film in IR/Filming IR: A Conversation with Professor Michael C Williams

Film and visuality have long been used as sources of text and political interpretation in the subject of International Relations (IR). Much more recent is the emergence of IR scholars as direct producers of films about topics of international politics. Using the theme of ‘Film in IR/Filming IR’, an ISA workshop held in San Francisco in 2013 (organized by Laura Shepherd and Rune Saugmann Andersen) and attended by TVM’s Roger Stahl and Seb Kaempf, tried to identify and address the intellectual opportunities and challenges of this development.

What are the challenges that emerge out of using the production of film in the context of the modern university? How does one legitimately evaluate film as a piece of academic work? How does this relate ethically to the political economy of the modern public university? And how creative do or should scholars become with film? How should scholars engage with students over the interpretation of film?

In this Innerview, Roger Stahl and Seb Kaempf talk to another attendee of this workshop, Professor Michael C. Williams (University of Ottawa), who – as a self-declared ‘sympathetic skeptic’ of this interesting development – reflects upon the possibilities and intellectual challenges surrounding film in IR/filming IR. This video is intended as a platform to kick off further discussion of these themes within the wider academic and non-academic community. To find out more and to join the debate, please visit thevisionmachine.com

Filmed, produced and edited by Roger Stahl and Seb Kaempf. Interview held in San Francisco on 5 April 2013.

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