The Premodern World

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    Engagements with the premodern world in International Relations have so far focused on specific periods and spaces. Rather than examining each locale separately, this chapter unpacks the ways in which specific assumptions about the emergence of modernity and its fundamental features have coloured our narratives of the premodern. Specifically, I reconstruct four existing ways of tackling the premodern world that respectively emphasize its religiosity, localism, complexity, and similarity to the present, and interrogate what types of questions these different premoderns allow us to pose, but also what types of inquiry they preclude. Against these, I consider what insights it could yield to have an alternative conceptualisation of premodern world, one which places plurality, diversity, and global interconnectedness centerstage. Approaching the premodern in this way, however, raises serious questions about concepts and methods and ultimately calls into question the use of the 'premodern' itself.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationThe Oxford Handbook of History and International Relations
    EditorsMlada Bukovansky, Edward Keene, Christian Reus-Smit, Maja Spanu
    PublisherOxford University Press
    ISBN (Print)9780198873457
    Publication statusPublished - 12-May-2023


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