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Leading international politics site publishes article of student Aileen Schuurmans

Aileen Schuurmans finished her MA International Relations this summer. She wrote an article titled 'How to Change the Story of the Pandemic with Daoist IR', which got published on E-International Relations, the world’s leading open access website for students and scholars of international politics.

Challenging narratives

In this article, Aileen challenges the narratives that are used by state leaders to address the crisis caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. She states that IR scholars tell stories about the world and the way it works, with the type of stories they tell influencing our perception of the world. Currently however, International Relations Theory (IRT) is dominated by different versions of a single story of Western IRT. This risks seeing the world in a unidimensional way, in which there is no room for other stories, or they are not understood. As an alternative, Aileen proposes in her article a narrative based on Chinese, Daoist IR that advocates more solidarity and alternative views.


Her inspiration for this article came from the course Decentering International Relations which she followed during her Master's, which focuses on alternative, non-Western perspectives to International Relations. 'This course taught me a lot; it not only enabled me to challenge the mainstream schools of thought in IR but also to look for alternative voices in other matters.'

Read more

Aileen Schuurmans' publication How to Change the Story of the Pandemic with Daoist IR can be read on the website of E-International Relations.

About Aileen Schuurmans

Before starting the MA International Relations here at Leiden University, Aileen obtained her BA at University College Utrecht, where she majored in Politics, International Relations, Psychology and International Law. 

In between her BA and MA, she took a gap year in which she did two internships – one at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands, and one at the museum and platform Humanity House in The Hague. 'The practical experience I gained during the internships, as well as the broad, multidisciplinary view I got from my BA greatly influenced the way in which I approached this MA, in which I followed the specialization of Global Conflict in the Modern Era.'

What's next?
Aileen has no concrete idea yet about what she wants to do after her MA, but she would want to continue looking for alternative views in her future work, and to keep on challenging the mainstream.

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