Sources of empire: Negotiating history and fiction in the writing of historical IR

Julia Costa Lopez*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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In framing themselves as myth-busters, historical IR scholars have inscribed the distinction between history and fiction into how they speak to the discipline. And yet, engagement with what this might mean for the status of historical knowledge has mostly focused on broad metatheoretical distinctions and debates. Against this, I argue that questions about historical knowledge and its status are best understood as contingent settlements in the research practice of writing history, pursuing specific questions and writing specific answers. Through an exploration of the early stages in the creation of the Iberian Empires in the fifteenth century and the chronicles that provide an account of it, the article seeks to make visible the negotiations and settlements involved in writing history along four aspects of the distinction between history and fiction: facticity, emplotment, genre and the situated politics of history.

Original languageEnglish
JournalCambridge Review of International Affairs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 22-Oct-2023


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