International History versus International Relations - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

1 / 29
About This Presentation

International History versus International Relations


International History versus International Relations Different means and different ends? – PowerPoint PPT presentation

Number of Views:278
Avg rating:3.0/5.0
Slides: 30
Provided by: TonyB252


Transcript and Presenter's Notes

Title: International History versus International Relations

International History versus International
  • Different means and different ends?

  • 1. What is international history?
  • 2. What is international relations?
  • 3. How are the two related?

Why do IR scholars need history?
  •     Why can I.R. scholars avoid history?
  •     What are the distinguishing characteristics
    between historical and political/social
    science or international political theory
    approaches to international affairs?

Useful essays on IH/IR
  • Colin Elman and M F Elman (eds) Bridge and
    Boundaries. Historians, Political Scientists and
    the Study of International Relations (MIT Press,
  • Introductory essays on theory and history
  • Four case studies with 3-4 chapters in each on
  • the 30 year crisis,
  • the rise and fall of British hegemony,
  • the cold war, and
  • the Revolution in Military affairs
  • 'Special Issue' on International
    History/International Relations, in International
    Security - available 'online' vol. 22 Summer
  • Excellent collection of essays on International
    History / IR interface

International Historians versus IR Scholars
  • Need to distinguish how international historians
    (e.g. NW) write international history from how IR
    theorists make use of the past (e.g. MR)
  • e.g. Dr Matthew Rendall is an IR scholar who uses
  • e.g. Dr Neville Wylie is an international
    historian. Other historians in School of Politics
    and International Relations past present e.g.
    Matthew Jones, Alex Danchev, Malika Rahal etc.

History I.R
  • British tradition Nottingham strength
  • Particular characteristic of I.R. team at
  • Yet built on British tradition
  • Differences between two disciplines appear
    greater in US than Europe

The British International History Group
  • The British International History Group (BIHG)
    was founded in 1987, as a sub-group of the
    British International Studies Association
    (BISA).  It exists to draw together all those
    interested in teaching and researching into the
    history of international relations at university
    level in the United Kingdom. As well as
    organising panels at the BISA conference each
    December, the Group holds its own conference in
    September, which includes the annual general
    meeting. The BIHG committee, elected at the
    conference, also acts as a link to other
    institutions such as the Foreign and Commonwealth
    Office and The National Archives.
  • http//

Organisations in the field of International
  • British International Studies Association (BISA)
    the parent organisation of BIHG
  • Centre for Contemporary British History
  • Foreign and Commonwealth Office
  • Institute of Historical Research
  • H-Diplo for those interested in diplomatic method
  • Royal Historical Society
  • Society for Historians of American Foreign
  • Transatlantic Studies Association
  • http// -
    see here for links

Approaches of international historians
  • What are the research techniques and
    methodologies adopted by international
    historians? (NW)
  • Key Text Marc Trachtenberg, The craft of
    international history a guide to method (PUP,

Principal Differences between IH/IR
  • 1. Questions
  • What drives the analysis?
  • Lumping or splitting
  • Parsimony over thick description
  • Deductive logic vs coherent narrative

2. Approach towards the past
  • 2.Historical
  • - Locate a Problem/Issue
  • - assess quantity/quality of sources
  • - balance sources issue via selection of
    particular approach
  • Pol Sci.
  • - Formulate hypothesis
  • - test by applying theory and empirical study
  • - Refine theory

3. Subject Matter
  • Human society continuity or change
  • Versus Underlying patterns and structures
  • 4. Audience
  • Policy relevant research?
  • Academic historians
  • Popular historians

5. Sources
  • Primary v Secondary
  • Official documentation v interviews
  • Closed/confidential v open.
  • Qualitative data v quantitative data
  • http//

National Archives, Kew Gardens Tube, London
Understand the archives in minutes
  • http//

Security or defence archives
  • http//

IH/IR on Origins of First World War
  • Historians perspective
  • IR perspective
  • Innenpolitik vs Aussenpolitik explanations
    polarity power transitions and preventive war
    offence-defence theory, cognitive psychology  

IH IR on the Concert of Europe
  • The IR scholar may seek to apply IR
    theories/methods to events over 150 years ago
  • The Concert of Europe
  • 1. Historians perspective
  • 2. IR perspective (MR)
  • Realist/institutionalist debate
  • Was the Concert a successful collective security

IR/IH from below?
  • History of Mat Salleh Rebellion during British
    Protectorate rule of North Borneo under North
    Borneo Chartered Company 1882-1946
  • North Borneo inland non-literate groups entering
    world history
  • Colonial company records in Malaysia and UK
  • Limits of company records, memoirs etc
  • Use of oral history oral tradition to
    reconstruct history
  • Historical/anthropological account contributing
    to IR understanding of conflict politics of
    peace negotiations and conflict management (or
    its failure)
  • Plus understanding of stateless society and an
    anarchic system
  • Potential relevance to understanding
    international system as anarchic system
  • PhD research Sanen Marshall, November 2009 

IH/IR Differences can be exaggerated
  • 1. Questions
  • General v Specifics
  • Whats the bigger picture?
  • So what?
  • 2. Narrative not un-analytical.
  • Narrative implicit theoretical assumptions,
    priorities etc.
  • 3. General/Particular
  • Historians - explain the particular, refer to the
  • Political Scientists explain the general by
    generalising the particular. 

IH/IR Differences can be exaggerated
  • 4. Sources
  • 30 Year rule makes us all Political
  • Selective release of official papers.
  • Government control
  • Scaling the mountain
  • Use of theories to sift sources and fill gaps
  • 5. Approach
  • Demise of structural explanations in I.R.
    theory in favour of constructivism plus
    postmodern turn in both leading to more overlap

What can I.R. scholars take from History?
  • 1. Perspective
  • Perspective transient over historically
    important. Extend the hinterland
  • Prediction
  • I.R. claims for predictive quality frequently
  • 2. Understanding of Historians craft to improve
    quality of case study method
  • 3. Better Selection of Material Choice of
  • Learn to fit and unfit, rather than use and
  • 4. Heighten sensitivity to human agency and
  • 5. Shift from structuralism to constructivism in
  • But criticism theoretical turn in IR in 1990s
    also guilty of neglect of empirical

IR theoretical turn neglect of empirical?
  • IR theory in Britain the New Black?
  • Review of International Studies, Volume 32, Issue
    04, October 2006, pp 677-687
  • Anniversaries are occasions for celebration and
    reflection. The thirtieth anniversary of BISA
    presents the opportunity to look back over what
    has been achieved in the eventful years since the
    foundation of the Association, but also the duty
    of identifying things that have gone wrong, paths
    not taken or promising avenues that turned out to
    be dead-ends. We owe it to the people who founded
    BISA some still here, others, sadly, gone to
    preserve the critical spirit even when
    celebrating our achievements, and I will
    certainly honour that debt in this talk.
  • Transcript of a plenary lecture given at the
    British International Studies Association,
    University of St. Andrews, December 2005.

Footnote History debatesHistorical Narrative
  • Postmodernist challenge its culturally relative
    and merely a figment of imagination
  • Is one narrative better than another?
  • Is a narrative merely a reflection of our current
    concerns and vantage point
  • Is there an historical truth?
  • Has the craft of history improved?

Theory in history
  • Scepticism towards prejudicing objective
    reading of the events by admitting to
    pre-conceived ideas/expectations
  • Theoretical assumptions grounded on
    contemporary experience which is an
    antithetical to the task of reconstructing past

  • But what about implicit assumptions about the
    past, or our subject do they have a theoretical
  • Isnt our choice of subject affected by our
    theoretical outlook?
  • Historians as theorists Gaddis, Schroeder

Key to Historical craft sensitivity
  • What evidence are you looking for
  • Where are you likely to find it
  • Whats its provenance?
  • How do you read the document what does it
    tell us about the past explicitly and
  • Dangers?
  • Is the archive an analogue of reality?
  • Who has selected what, for preservation?
  • How can you scale the mountain?
  • Freedom of Information Act (Foia!)

  • Is the archive an analogue of reality?
  • Who has selected what, for preservation?
  • How can you scale the mountain?
  • Freedom of Information Act (Foia!)

Thank You and Happy Study Vacation from me
  • Remember final lecture next week with Dr Sabine
Write a Comment
User Comments (0)