Universiteit Leiden

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Research programme

History and International Relations

Research in the History and International Relations specialisation starts with the interconnectedness and interdependence of global political, economic and cultural developments.

Contact André Gerrits

These issues are studied from multidisciplinary and multilevel perspectives, which are grounded in historical and regional contexts, and viewed through a broad range of theories and concepts. Our time frame is flexible, but we mostly focus on the contemporary, post-World War II era. Researchers investigate issues and topics that cross or combine different disciplines, History and International relations in particular, adding a historical dimension to International Relations research and giving an explicitly comparative, trans-national and international dimension to historical research.

Three main realms

The group's interests cover three specific themes. Firstly, researchers investigate the major aspects of European integration. We study this process from a variety of disciplinary approaches (History, Law, Politics, and International Relations) and at various administrative levels (the national state, the European polity, and the wider regional or global perspective). Secondly, researchers are particularly interested in the ideational aspects of global political and international relations. We study ideas, beliefs (sovereignty, legitimacy, nationalism, justice, equality) and how they influence international relations and global politics. Thirdly, researchers study aspects of international history and cover specific research areas of international relations and global politics such as security, culture, and political economy. In our research related to conflict and security we focus on a variety of actors, states and especially non-state actors. Generally, non-Western perspectives figure prominently in our research.

Beyond traditional borders

Researchers in this specialization are aware of the diverging traditions and approaches of History and Political Science/International Relations, and of the possibilities to learn and benefit from each other. Global politics is shaped by the often unpredictable, contingent combination of actors and circumstances, which need to be considered in their wider historical contexts. Researchers study historical paradigms, challenge dominant historiography, and identify and interrogate hypotheses that shape understandings of the past and how historical experiences may be harnessed to inform today’s global political developments.

Within the Leiden University Institute for History

The research specialization History and International Relations can be distinguished from other specializations in the Institute for History especially through its multi-disciplinary nature, its focus on international relations and global politics rather than on the connection of domestic politics and culture, and its mostly contemporary time-frame.