Centre for Historical International Politics (CHIP)

2019 (Ongoing)
Research Centre

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.


Bildet viser Halvard Leira

What does foreign policy really mean?

December 7, 2018

This, with other widely used IR concepts, is what Halvard Leira and his project CHOIR team have received funding to explore.

Bildet viser President Donald Trump og statsminister Erna Solberg

Today’s Status Seekers

February 20, 2018

Hanging out with the cool guys is just as important as ever.


Project : Research project

Empires, Privateering and the sea

EMPRISE studies the role of the importance of power at sea for the formation of empires and states from 1500-1856.
Project : Research project

A Conceptual History of International Relations

The purpose of CHOIR is to investigate taken-for-granted concepts of international relations.

Centre Manager

Foreign policy  Diplomacy  Historical IR
Mon 4 Nov 2019
Time: 12:15 Europe/Oslo
Location: NUPI

Theory Seminar: Global History and International Relations

Dr George Lawson from the London School of Economics and Political Science will present a paper on ‘Global History and International Relations’.

Sun 3 Nov 2019
Time: 13:15 Europe/Oslo
Location: NUPI

How do revolutions begin, unfold and end?

To mark the establishment of the Centre of Historical International Politics (CHIP) at NUPI, we have the pleasure of inviting you to a talk with Dr George Lawson on ‘Anatomies of revolution’.

Tue 7 May 2019
Time: 13:30 Europe/Oslo
Location: NUPI

Restraining Great Powers: Soft Balancing From Empires to the Global Era

When do states resort to soft balancing (relying on institutional and economic instruments) rather than hard balancing (relying on formal military alliances and intense arms buildups)? When do they combine both? What are the differences and similarities between the 20th and 21st century cases of soft balancing, one under multipolarity, the other under near-unipolarity?

Thu 6 Dec 2018
Time: 13:15 Europe/Oslo
Location: NUPI

Theory Seminar: Protest Diffusion During the 1919 Egyptian Revolution

Neil Ketchley will discuss his latest article on the diffusion of protest in a population.