‘How did we end up here?’, Leira and de Carvalho ask in their introduction to Historical International Relations, a unique collection of important texts, published by SAGE.

Historical International Relations is all about the historical prerequisites for today’s international relations. This is not international history, but history as seen through the lenses of the field of International Relations, or IR’, explains Leira.

Important knowledge

‘The collection presents central works, with comprehensive and clarifying introductions. Here we aim to take history seriously in another manner than in many other traditions, where one merely peeks into history searching for anecdotes to substantiate own expectations’, Leira continues.

‘Why should IR bother about history?’

‘IR should definitely occupy itself with history, because history can make us wiser and more aware of the factors that predispose for stability as well as change. No, history doesn’t provide blueprints, and it may sometimes offer false analogies – but it does say something important about possible and likely outcomes.’

Crème de la crème

In many ways history has remained unacknowledged within the general field of international relations. However, the past two decades have seen a considerable increase in the interest for historical international relations.

‘The main challenge for this field is the fact that it has existed in the shadow of other parts of IR, without its own “home”. Many are interested in history, but have had no meeting place’, Leira explains.

The collection presents major texts, both classics and newer material.

‘The texts included in our four volumes represent the crème de la crème. Our collection is unique in offering an introduction to key works and debates in the field’, Leira concludes.