History of International Relations: A Non-European Perspective

Erik Ringmar
Forthcoming

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Existing textbooks on international relations treat history in a cursory fashion and perpetuate a Euro-centric perspective. This textbook pioneers a new approach by historicizing the material traditionally taught in International Relations courses, and by explicitly focusing on non-European cases, debates and issues.
The volume is divided into three parts. The first part focuses on the international systems that traditionally existed in Europe, East Asia, pre-Columbian Central and South America, Africa and Polynesia. The second part discusses the ways in which these international systems were brought into contact with each other through the agency of Mongols in Central Asia, Arabs in the Mediterranean and the Indian Ocean, Indic and Sinic societies in South East Asia, and the Europeans through their travels and colonial expansion. The concluding section concerns contemporary issues: the processes of decolonization, neo-colonialism and globalization – and their consequences on contemporary society.

History of International Relations provides a unique textbook for undergraduate and graduate students of international relations, and anybody interested in international relations theory, history, and contemporary politics.



History of International Relations: A Non-European Perspective
Erk Rigmar| Forthcoming 2016
ISBN Paperback: 9781783740222
ISBN Hardback: 9781783740239
ISBN Digital (PDF): 9781783740246
ISBN Digital ebook (epub): 9781783740253
ISBN Digital ebook (mobi): 9781783740260
DOI: 10.11647/OBP.0074

Introduction. The History of International Relations

 

1. Overview: the history of international relations and the study of international systems

The idea of an "international system" and the introduction of key concepts including "the state," "empire," "nation" and the idea of the "inter-national." Discussion of international practices, including diplomacy, warfare, international law, international organizations and balance of power.

 

Part One. International Systems

 

2. East Asia

 

East Asia and the rise of the imperial Chinese system. The institutionalization of the tribute system and the rituals to be followed at the Chinese court. The role of the tribute system in integrating and organizing international politics in East Asia. The development of the system in the Qing dynasty. The role of European tribute bearers -- Portugal, Holland, Great Britain. The breakdown of the system in the middle of the 19th century.

 

3. The Indian Subcontinent

 

The political divisions and cultural diversity of the Indian sub-continent. The division between southern and northern India. The origin, development and eventual demise of the Mogul empire.

 

4. Sub-Saharan Africa

 

The international relations of Sub-Saharan Africa. The importance of kinship and religion in connecting the African states. The institutionalization of slavery, and slavery’s relationship with African warfare and diplomacy. The rise, fall and transitions in various empires including Kongo. The integration of the Portuguese and other Europeans into this system.

 

5. Pre-Columbian South America

 

Aztecs, Mayas and Incas. The organization of their respective empires and relations to subordinate states. Cultural and religious integration. The collapse of these empires.

 

7. Pacific Ocean

The international relations in Polynesia, Tahiti, the Easter Island and Hawaii. Conceptions of state and society. The role of kingship. War and other forms of competitive behavior.

 

8. Europe

Overview of the international politics of the European Middle Ages. The role of the Church and the Holy Roman Empire. The relative independence of the city-states in northern Italy. The emergence of shared institutions and practices of diplomacy. The idea of "sovereignty" and changes in conception of kingship. Wars and balances of power. The Cameralist state of the 17th century; the emergence of nationalism in the 18th century. How nationalism changed the nature of the European international system. Warfare, civilization and international law.

 

Part Two. Integration and Change in International Systems

 

9. The Mongols and the bridge between Europe and Asia

The unification of the Mongol tribes under Zhengis Khan. Military technology and strategies. The spread of the Mongol empire under Zhengis' successors from contemporary Indonesia to the Baltic Sea. Pax mongolica and commercial contacts between Europe and Asia. The Silk Road, the Polo brothers and other European travelers. Central Asian conceptions of khanship and the impact on Russian political development. The legacy of the Mongols in Mongolia, in Russia and China.

 

10. Indic cultures in Southeast Asia

The spread of Indic influences throughout what today is Southeast Asia. The constitution of states in Burma, Thailand and Cambodia. The influence of Buddhism, Hinduism and Islam. Warfare and military strategy. The constitution of tributary relations within the members of the system.   

11. The Islamic system in Africa

 The spread of Islam in North Africa.  Resistance and acceptance of Islam in Sub-Saharan Africa. Implications for political organization in the North. Influence on trade between Africa, Europe and the Middle East.

 

12. The European expansion and colonization

 

European commercial expansion in the early modern period and the European "discovery" of the world. The establishment of colonies in the Americas and of trading posts everywhere else. The slave trade. The second wave of colonization in the 19th century. How, and why, Europe colonized most of the rest of the world. The doctrine of free trade in theory and in practice. Economic, social and cultural consequences. Anti-European resistance. The idea of a European "civilization." Racism.

 

Conclusions. The Contemporary World

 

13. Decolonization and neo-colonialism

 

Decolonization after 1945. The decline of Europe and the rise of the United States. The reasons for the European retreat and the consequences of independence. New forms of nationalism and traditional allegiances -- to tribes, local rulers and religious systems. Civil and ethnic wars and "failed states." The legacy of colonialism and forms of neo-colonialism. European conceptions of international law and human rights. The push for economic development. Authoritarianism and democracy.

 

14. Living in a global world

 

The meaning and aspects of "globalization." The liberalization of economic markets and new conceptions of international politics. New perspectives on the "state" and on "sovereignty." The relative obsolescence of inter-state wars. New conflicts, terrorism and civil wars. The rise of China and East Asia. The status of the "developing" world. The legacy of previous international systems and the future of the current world system.

 

Erik Ringmar is professor of political science at Lund University, Sweden. He has a PhD in political science from Yale University and taught for 12 years in the Government Department at the London School of Economics. He has written five books and some 40 articles exploring the history of international relations both from a European and an East-Asian perspective. He is currently writing a book, Performing International Systems: Alternatives to the European World, which will be published in 2015.