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Sajed Alina, Associate Professor (on research leave July 2018 - July 2019)

photo of Alina Sajed

Alina Sajed

Associate Professor (on research leave July 2018 - July 2019)

Department of Political Science

Institute on Globalization & the Human Condition

Area(s) of Interest:


After obtaining her PhD in International Relations from McMaster University in 2008, Alina took up the position of Assistant Professor of International Relations at the University of Hong Kong in 2010 (until August 2013).  She joined the Department of Political Science at McMaster in September 2013.

Her core research interests lie in the areas of international relations theory, globalization and transnationalism, the politics of the Global South, and political violence.  She is particularly interested in colonialism and decolonization, anticolonial theory and praxis, North Africa and the Middle East, political Islam, and decolonial/postcolonial approaches to IR.  

Her current project examines Third Worldism as a global political project, with a particular focus on Algeria. More specifically, this project pursues two directions. The first attempts a diagnosis (however partial and incomplete) for the reductionism into which the Third World liberation state (inevitably) fell, while suggesting an alternative political horizon that comes closer to Fanon’s idea of ‘national consciousness’, especially in its attention to the ‘international dimension.’  The second focuses on a number of Algerian intellectuals: their involvement in Algeria’s decolonization struggles translated into translocal solidarity with other decolonization projects, whether in Vietnam or in Palestine or with the political activism of Western intellectuals, such as Jean Genet and James Baldwin. These lateral engagements speak of an unrealized potential of Third Worldism as a political and intellectual project, pushing against the rigid boundaries of programmatic nationalism, and gesturing towards a Third World space experienced as lateral engagement, anticolonial connectivity and decolonial promise. 


PhD (International Relations), McMaster University

MA (International Relations), McMaster University

MA (European Studies), Al.I. Cuza, Iasi, Romania

BA (Honours) (English and French Literature), Al.I. Cuza, Iasi, Romania




3LB3 - Globalization and World Order

4KB3 - Non-Western International Relations 


767 (cross-listed with Globalization Studies) - Politics of the Global South: An IR Perspective

777 (cross-listed with Globalization Studies): Global Governance

717 (Winter 2018): Political Violence and Revolution 


Research Grants:

Third Worldism revisited: anticolonial connectivity and the politics of national liberation

SSHRC Insight Development Grant - CAD 65,712 (2018-2020)

Arts Research Board (McMaster) - CAD 5,590 (2016-2018)

While attention has been given to liberalism and Marxism in International Relations, there has been virtually no systematic investigation of Third Worldism, the political ideology that emerged during 1950s1960s decolonization struggles and which remained prevalent for two decades after. This ideology had a major impact on Western leftist intellectuals and movements, prompting vivid debates about colonialism, decolonization, the promised political alternatives offered by (then) ongoing decolonization projects, and the failures of leftist politics in the West. France, in particular, was arguably the most significant stage in the West where this debate unfolded. This project reexamines Third Worldism as a political ideology, with a view to understanding both the missed opportunities but also the complex context of decolonization in which postcolonial societies have acquired their independence.

By using a decolonial perspective, this project pushes against a prevalent assumption (present in the literature on Third Worldism), which reduces Third Worldism to national self-determination. This assumption erases the multiplicity of political visions that inspired decolonization movements, and conceptualize Third Worldism, as an ideological orientation, as nothing more than an aspiration towards postcolonial national independence. This project, however, takes into consideration (Algerian) voices that push against the rigid boundaries of methodological nationalism, and provide a much more complex picture of decolonization as a deeply contested and fragmented political terrain. What is at stake then is understanding decolonization as an unfinished project whose current manifestations complicate our perception of contemporary political dynamics such as immigration debates, refugee flows, radicalization, and political violence.



 Postcolonial Encounters in International Relations. The Politics of Transgression in the Maghreb. Routledge, 2013. (Now also in paperback
(with William D. Coleman) Fifty Key Thinkers on Globalization. Routledge, 2012.
Randolph B. Persaud and Alina Sajed (eds). Race, Gender, and Culture in International Relations. Postcolonial Perspectives. Routledge (March 2018)

Journal articles:

"Interrogating the postcolonial: on the limits of freedom, subalternity, and hegemonic knowledge." International Studies Review 20:1(March 2018), 152-160. 

(with John M. Hobson) "Navigating Beyond the Eurofetishist Frontier of Critical IR Theory: Exploring the Complex Landscapes of Non-Western Agency." International Studies Review, 19:4(2017), 547-572.

"Race and International Relations – What’s in a Word? A debate around John Hobson''s The Eurocentric Conception of World Politics." Postcolonial Studies, 19:2(2017), 168-172.

(with Naeem Inayatullah) "On the Perils of Lifting the Weight of Structures: An Engagement with Hobson’s Critique of the Discipline of IR." Postcolonial Studies, 19:2(2017), 201-209.

"Peripheral modernity and anti-colonial nationalism in Java: economies of race and gender in the constitution of the Indonesian national teleology." Third World Quarterly, 38:2(2017), 505-523.

"Insurrectional politics in colonial Southeast Asia: colonial modernity, Islamic "counterplots", and translocal (anti-colonial) connectivity", Globalizations, 12:6 (December 2015), 899-912. 

"Fanon, Camus and the Global Colour Line: Colonial Difference and the Rise of Decolonial Horizons", Cambridge Review of International Affairs, 26:1 (April 2013), 5-26.

"The Post Always Rings Twice? The Algerian War, Poststructuralism and the Postcolonial in IR Theory." Review of International Studies, 38:1 (January 2012), 141-163.

"Everyday Encounters with the Global Behind the Iron Curtain: Imagining Freedom, Desiring Liberalism in Socialist Romania."Cambridge Review of International Affairs, 24:4 (December 2011), 551-571.

"Postcolonial Strangers in a Cosmopolitan World: Hybridity and Citizenship in the Franco-Maghrebian Borderland." Citizenship Studies, 14:4 (August 2010), 363-380.

Chapters in edited volumes:

(with Randolph B. Persaud) "Introduction: Race, Gender, and Culture in IR." In Randolph B. Persaud and Alina Sajed (eds), Race, Gender, and Culture in International Relations. Postcolonial Perspectives, Routledge (March 2018).

"Securitized migrants and postcolonial (in)difference: the politics of activisms among North African migrants in France." In Peter Nyers and Kim Rygiel (eds), Citizenship, Migrant Activism and the Politics of Movement (Routledge, 2012).

"Waiting for the Revolution. A Foreigners Narrative." In Naeem Inayatullah, ed., Autobiographical International Relations: I, IR, Routledge, pp. 78-92 (Interventions book series; 2011).

"Women as Objects and Commodities." In Robert Denemark et al., eds.  The International Studies Compendium Project.  Feminist Theory and Gender Studies. Vol XI, pp. 7513-7533 (Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 2010).

"Late modernity/Postmodernity." In Robert Denemark et al., eds.  The International Studies Compendium Project. International Political Sociology. Vol. VIII, pp. 4787-4805 (Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell; 2010).

Other peer-reviewed publications:

"Empire Writes Back: Between Dreams of Trespass and Fantasies of Resistance." Institute on Globalization and Human Condition. Working Papers Series, McMaster University, November 2006:

"Between Scylla and Charybdis: the Ethical and Moral Dilemmas of Humanitarian Action." Working Paper Series of the York Centre for International Security Studies. Working Paper no. 31, York University, January 2005: