History and International Studies
Research in the History and International Studies specialisation addresses the interconnectedness and interdependence of contemporary global political, economic and cultural developments from a multidisciplinary perspective which is rooted in the humanities.
- André Gerrits
Our research is grounded in historical and regional contexts, and viewed through a broad range of theories and concepts drawn from many disciplines. Our time frame is flexible, but we mostly focus on the contemporary, post-World War II era. We value regional and linguistic expertise. Our researchers investigate issues and topics by synthesising contributions from different disciplines, particularly history, area studies, and international studies broadly defined. By so doing we give a historical dimension to international and area studies research and 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 process and history of European integration. We study this topic 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 and global perspective). Secondly, researchers are particularly interested in the ideational aspects of global political and international relations. We study ideas and conceptual beliefs (sovereignty, legitimacy, nationalism, justice, equality) and how they influence international relations and global politics. Thirdly, researchers study specific aspects of international history and relations such as security, culture, and political economy. Our research into conflict and security is marked by a focus on a variety of regions and actors, particularly non-state actors. An appreciation of non-Western perspectives and actors figures prominently in our research.
Beyond traditional borders
Researchers in this specialization are aware of the diverging traditions and approaches of history and international studies and strive to cross boundaries so that these disciplines may learn from one another. Global politics is shaped by an often unpredictable, contingent combination of actors and circumstances which need to be understood in their wider historical context. Our 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 Studies can be distinguished from other specializations in the Institute for History by its multi-disciplinary nature, its focus on international studies and global politics rather than on the connection between domestic politics and culture, and its focus on the contemporary.