‘What is the point of studying international relations?’ I was once asked by a persistent parent on behalf of their daughter, a prospective student, at a university open day. ‘If my daughter studies medicine, she can find the cure for cancer, something useful!’ ‘Well yes’, I responded, ‘and if she studies international relations, she can find a way to make the world a peaceful place and find a cure to why mankind opts for war’.
I don’t know whether or not my response convinced that parent but that reflexive defense of my profession on that day spoke to me perhaps even more than I had intended. Relations between
‘Peaceful space’ manifests itself in other ways too as I visit Japan and live in Australia—the quiet gardens just metres behind the noise and excitement of hundreds of tourists at the statue of the Kamakura Buddha; trying to emulate Buddhist chants on my bass clarinet as the full moon rises; responding to the calls of the pale-headed parrot in my backyard. I soon realise my ‘peaceful space’ dissolves the vacuum between my personal and professional lives.
Bio: Donna Weeks is Lecturer in Japanese Studies and International Relations at the University of the