The Self, and Other Stories is an autoethnographic reflection on the value in the act of writing, illuminating the life of the researcher—in particular the researcher as human. Shepherd explores the multitudes of the academic, feminist self through expanding vocabularies of how scholars, researchers, writers, teachers, and academics can make sense of their worlds.
At the intersection of international relations theory and the personal, Shepherd presents seven reflexive essays on aspects of being and knowing as she has encountered them. The essays are grounded in and inspired by her experiences as a way of asking readers to imagine how knowledge production in the social sciences might look different if we could create and hold space for different ways of writing, being, and knowing. The disciplining practices which produce our limited modes of academic expression can be encountered otherwise. She calls on us to reflect on academic subjectification across the interconnected spaces we simultaneously inhabit and produce.
Laura J. Shepherd is professor of international relations at the University of Sydney, Australia, and visiting senior fellow in the Centre for Women, Peace and Security at the London School of Economics and Political Science. Much of her research focuses on the United Nations Security Council’s Women, Peace and Security agenda, and attendant dynamics of gender, violence, and security governance. Laura is author or editor of many books, including, most recently, Narrating the Women, Peace and Security Agenda: Logics of Global Governance and New Directions in Women, Peace and Security (edited with Soumita Basu and Paul Kirby). Laura was elected president of the International Studies Association for a 2023–2024 term. She spends too much time on Twitter, where she tweets from @drljshepherd.
About the Author
Academia is a death cult and yet it saved her life, writes Laura Shepherd. This book returns the favors. With courage and meticulous precision, she investigates how academia causes her pain, dooms our profession, and inflicts death on the body politic. Her ceaseless searching and beautiful writing mean to change our profession so that we center grief, care, collaboration, and love. Laura writes this transformation via a profound humility, with exact excavations of uncertainty, and through the cultivation of fired hope. This work is a gift to be savored.
This book is a gift and an offering. With her characteristic care, feminist wisdom, and generosity, Laura Shepherd has crafted a book that accomplishes what the best stories do: The reader feels seen, held, gently prodded, and accompanied.
Drawing on a wide range of personal reflections, Laura Shepherd reveals—at times with brutal honesty—how everyday experiences have shaped her scholarly contributions that so many of us know and appreciate. The ensuing journey takes the reader back and forth between memoir, epistemology, and feminist politics.
Laura Shepherd’s personal narratives are not contained by a what—“British,” “middle class white woman,” “scholar,” or any other reified, inanimate object. Instead, her book reveals a who that, because it is made of entanglements, is unrepeatable, relational, indeterminate, plural, and political. This journeying self reaches inside and outside, staying with us as she walks away from the spotlight so the reader can become present and visible within the story. As a result, the encounter with Laura is nurturing, healing, illuminating, and freeing. This is political narrative at its best.
Publication in open access of the book The Self, and Other Stories by Laura J. Shepherd is funded by The University of Sydney, Australia.VIEW & DOWNLOAD