Theory Talks interviewed PTJ. Go check out the results. A sample:
I don’t have some kind of extraordinary experience fueling my interest… It’s an old insight about how the United States, if you’re a citizen of the US, you can kind of ignore the rest of the world—it’s the privilege of empire or hegemony. So international relations never really had a direct impact on me growing up; the rest of the world was simply out there some place, or it was the place that foreign exchange students and British sci-fi shows like Doctor Who came from. Living in the US, you don’t have to confront the world in quite the same way, particularly not during the time I was growing up, the ‘70s and ‘80s; you didn’t necessarily have Cold War drills where you’re hiding under the desk in case of a nuclear assault, so IR was a distant phenomenon. I didn’t start out with world politics; world politics was kind of a consequence of what I became interested in, which was really diversity of knowledge claims and the encounter with the idea that different people and different groups of people know things differently. And some of that for me came from just seeing the variations within the United States which, from the outside, look all the same. But within the US, there’s a difference between being on the East Coast and being in the Midwest. This struck me as weird! Different things sort of are true in these different places—not necessarily that they contradict each other but it raises the question of translation in interesting ways.