CRIA and Historical International Relations

by Lucas de Oliveira Paes

Amh-6605-kb map of the world in two globes

Map of the world in two globes, Jodocus Hondius, c. 1596, via Wikimedia Commons.

In the first issue of Volume 32 of the Cambridge Review of International Affairs (CRIA), back in January 2019, our editorial team was happy to announce its pivot to Historical International Relations. Throughout its three decades, CRIA has always been a pluralistic academic outlet for novel ideas and research. During these decades, the field of International Affairs has undergone a significant transformation. From the rise and fall of paradigmatic debates to the challenging of their founding Eurocentrism, the discipline has progressively opened new avenues in the pursuit of greater pluralism and explanatory purchase. CRIA has always endeavoured to keep these routes open and has welcomed the unfolding of these multiplex turns. Committed to remaining at the forefront of trends within the discipline, we envisioned that CRIA could strengthen its contribution to the academic community by paving the way for one of these new strands to flourish: Historical International Relations.

A year has passed since CRIA stated its new editorial direction and we have advanced some important steps on that route. At the International Studies Association (ISA) Annual Convention 2019, CRIA officially became a partner outlet for ISA’s Historical International Relations Section (HIST). As part of this partnership, we are very pleased to publish in issue 33.1, forthcoming in January 2020, the first forum dedicated to the winners of the 2019 Francesco Guicciardini Prize for Best Book in Historical International Relations.

In 2019, the prize had two joint winners, Or Rosenboim and Tarak Barkawi. Rosenboim’s The Emergence of Globalism, as its title indicates, traces the construction of the global as a concept and a political space through the dialogue among competing visions of world order in Britain and the United States. Barkawi’s Soldiers of Empire delves into the social fabric of the multinational British Indian Army through a post-colonial perspective. Both books are reviewed by a superb team of experts from affiliated academic fields, put together by the authors and our Features Editor, Jaakko Heiskanen. The forum on the books is introduced by Lucian M. Ashworth, Chair of the Francesco Giucciardini Prize Committee. This forum is just the first step in this partnership between CRIA and HIST. Starting in 2020, CRIA will also dedicate a forum to the winner of the Joseph Fletcher Prize for Best Edited Book in Historical International Relations.

This new editorial direction is also an opportunity for closer engagement with the academic community CRIA represents. The University of Cambridge and the Department of Politics and International Studies (POLIS) have long been centres of excellence for the historical study of politics and international affairs, and the founding of the Cambridge International Relations and History Working Group in 2016 presents an axis of cooperation that places CRIA in a privileged place in the historical turn. To this end, we are proud to have been one of the sponsors of the Annual Conference of the Working Group in 2019 and look forward to continue working together in the years ahead.

CRIA’s historical turn is already manifested in our pages. In the last year, we have hosted some excellent special issues, commissioned by our previous Editors-in-Chief, Adam B. Lerner and Lucia J. Linares, that advance historically informed IR through distinct prisms. Issue 32.3 addresses the pressing topic of contemporary populism through the historically constituted ontological insecurities that surround its politics. Issue 32.4 focuses on the harnessing of history as narrative power in East Asian international politics. Issue 33.5 contrasts the Anglophone and Sinophone traditions of relational theorizing, which have in common the aim of recasting putative social entities as bundles of relations – a set of “congealed histories”. The journal has also had the fortune of attracting some outstanding historical IR scholarship that should appear in forthcoming issues, so stay tuned. All of our published content is available online at

We believe that CRIA is in a unique position to provide a receptive environment for historically oriented scholarship in International Relations, which at present lacks a representative home, while still maintaining the pluralistic ethos of the journal. CRIA seeks to attract submissions from contributors from around the world in order to continue promoting debate on international affairs across the social sciences – including International Studies, International Relations, International History, International Law, and International Political Economy – and between scholars and policymakers.

We are certain that the academic community will always find in CRIA a forum for a truly global pluralistic dialogue and now also a reference point for historical world politics and international affairs.

About the author

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Lucas de Oliveira Paes is a PhD candidate in the Department of Politics and International Studies, University of Cambridge. He is Editor-in-Chief of the Cambridge Review of International Affairs.

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