During the period of the Cold War, the rivalry between the USSR and the U.S. played a dominant role in structuring the international system. During this period, ISA’s “Soviet Studies” section served as one of the organization’s most influential and vigorous thematic sections. The Soviet Studies section combined the interests of scholars from a variety of methodological perspectives and traditions, drawing on broad range of schools of thought as diverse as great power realism, national security studies, intelligence studies, Marxist theoretics and a number of different approaches.

The ISA Section on Soviet Studies reorganized itself in the early 1990s as the Post-Communist States in International Relations (PCSIR).

Several section members have grown uncomfortable with the name of the section for a number of reasons. It is questionable whether the most important aspect of contemporary foreign policy analysis of the PCSIR states is determined by their common historical connections. Given that the idea of “post-communism” has been criticized by some as being needlessly “backward looking,” proposals for renaming of the section will also be put to a vote at the 2008 San Francisco meeting.