Historical periods are a central part of how the field of international relations (IR) defines the subject of its analysis but also how it regards itself as a field of analysis. On the one hand, historical periods represent the temporal unfolding of specific (spatial) logics of interactions among various and differentiated political units in a space that come to define what the international is. On the other hand, historical periods are not simply a referential point the boundaries of which are set outside the writing of history. Quite the contrary, historical periods are constructed and as such offer a window into the practice of that writing in IR. The aim of this chapter therefore is to set some of the parameters to conceptualise and discuss the processes of periodisation by first seeing how historical periods, beyond their historical accuracies and robustness, should be seen as heuristic devices dependant on a scholar's working hypothesis. The chapter then reflects on why Historical IR tends to largely consider ‘remarkable’ periods – such as economic or systemic ruptures, or the (Western European) state. Finally, some of the challenges and invitations that could be further explored by Historical IR are discussed.
|Title of host publication||Routledge Handbook of Historical International Relations|
|Editors||Julia Costa Lòpez, Benjamin de Carvalho, Halvard Leira|
|Place of Publication||London|
|Number of pages||9|
|Publication status||Published - Jun-2021|