Europe in Historical International Relations

Benjamin Herborth, Patrick Nitzschner

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    Almost any conversation about Historical International Relations (IR) appears to be, at least implicitly, always already about Europe. The geographical and intellectual centrality of Europe shapes the way in which historically oriented work in IR operates. Paradoxically, despite a long and powerful lineage of disciplinary Eurocentrism, Europe has only rarely emerged as a conceptual focal point of historical investigation. Quite the contrary, its presence appears to go without saying. This chapter locates the reason for this in a teleological theory of history implicitly invoked with the articulation of Europe. We excavate how this implicit theory of history organizes debates in the English School tradition, in Historical Sociology, and in European Integration Theory thereby producing Europe as vanguard and telos of world history. In this way, we demonstrate that the centrality of Europe for Historical IR is not a matter of empirical focus but more fundamentally a question of conceptual and epistemological presuppositions. By addressing such conceptual Eurocentrism, we suggest, the horizon of possibility for historical and political engagements with Europe can be significantly expanded.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationRoutledge Handbook of Historical International Relations
    EditorsBenjamin de Carvalho, Julia Costa Lopez, Halvard Leira
    Number of pages9
    ISBN (Electronic)9781351168960
    ISBN (Print)9780815347644
    Publication statusPublished - 28-Jun-2021

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