Research Centre

Centre for Historical International Politics


2019 (Ongoing)

In an age where the present to many seems new and befuddling, the study of International Relations (IR) has increasingly started to look to history, asking: What is the source of our current predicament? Or, to put it more bluntly – how did we end up here?

Over the last two decades, an increasing number of IR scholars have turned to the past, self-consciously describing their work as historical, and engaging in ever more sophisticated theoretical and empirical historical analyses. Where history was often seen simply as a quarry to be mined for data or a testing ground for different theories, today the study of Historical IR is self-consciously engaging in historical research to understand the institutions, processes and trajectories which made the current world. Closely related to History and Historical Sociology, Historical IR asks questions which pertain more specifically to the international.

Researchers at the NUPI Centre for Historical International Politics (CHIP) have been central to the articulation and codification of Historical IR, and the group of scholars at the centre makes it one of the most significant European hubs for this type of research. The research conducted at CHIP mirrors the diverse interests of NUPI researchers in processes of (systemic or structural) continuity and change at a variety of times and places, clustering around three distinct sets of questions:

The establishment of political authority
How have units such as empires, states and regions formed, changed and been reshaped? How they have strived for legitimate authority and sought to codify their rule?

The history of systemic interaction
How has political interaction between political units been established and conducted, in historical systems as well as in the current international system? The focus here is on particular on diplomatic interactions and varieties of violence.

Thinking the international
How has it become possible to think of something as being international? How have different thinkers, discourses and ideologies engaged with the international? Here we focus both on the emergence of international thought and different conceptualisations of the world.

Visit this page to see all our researchers and publications on the topic Historical IR.