A Retrospective of Interstate – Journal of International Affairs

Catherine Lillington

Originally published in 1996/1997, Issue 2

This edition of Interstate marks the fiftieth publication of the journal that was launched more than thirty years ago. It would seem that the earlier titles of ‘Interpol’ and ‘State’ did not evolve that imaginatively although the content of later journals has continued to live up to the aspirations of the first group of International Politics students who banded together to produce a publication in 1965. Since then production has continued successfully, and although production of the journal has seen sporadic gaps over recent years, an enthusiastic team is now in place to ensure a successful future for Interstate.

Over the last thirty years changes that have taken place in international politics are marked by lively articles that have covered anything from the more traditionally academic themes of changing theoretical standpoints to articles that reach to the heart of the matter of important issues and historical landmarks. The collapse of the Berlin Wall and the subsequent demise of the Iron Curtain were received with surprise by the editors of the jounal at the time. Colin Wight a member of the editorial team during the academic year 1990-91 comments upon how these changes resulted in, “interesting times within the department”.

Certainly the content of the journal has changed since it first began and since the end of the Cold War. Articles about state relations and strategic affairs are now joined by a wealth of articles concerning individual and human rights. In this issue alone there are three articles concerning humanitarian intervention in the post-Cold War world.

This change of focus is in contrast to the first edition of ‘State’ in 1965 which featured an Interpol student Jenny Hide posing for an advert that the contemporary editorial team hoped would boost sales. This publicity stunt, although tongue-in-cheek, was done without her knowledge and illustrates the degree to which the journal has changed since its heyday.

The changing role of the United Nations is also well-documented. The twenty-fifth and fiftieth anniversaries of the UN were treated by articles which took two different approaches to the organisation’s effectiveness. The first criticises and the second article (published in the previous issue) defends the role of the UN. These contrasting views are representative of the value of Interstate which seeks to represent the broad spectrum of opinion in the discipline.