Skip to main content
School of Politics and International Relations

Canons in International Relations and History

When: Thursday, November 16, 2023, 5:00 PM - 7:00 PM
Where: QMUL Graduate Centre, GC601, QMUL, Mile End Road London E1 4NS, Reception Arts One Foyer, Mile End Campus

Canons of “intellectual giants” and “great books” structure the history and scope of academic disciplines. In recent decades, feminist and postcolonial critics have increasingly drawn attention to the gendered and racialised logics that have shaped canon formation in Western academies, with many voices calling for the “decolonisation” of university curricula. At the same time, despite such valid critiques, canons seem to remain – in some shape or form – indispensable for holding fragmented fields together. A canon not only provides a discipline with a sense of common identity, but also serves as a nodal point around which intellectual debates may coalesce. Their resilience is manifest in the incorporation of critical figures such as Michel Foucault or Edward Said into the very canons that they sought to dismantle. Rather than disappearing, canons seem to expand, contract, and transform, as different thinkers and texts move in and out of view.

To explore these themes, this event brings into conversation four scholars working around the intersection of International Relations and History: Kimberly Hutchings (QMUL SPIR), Andrew Fitzmaurice (QMUL History), Shruti Balaji (LSE IR), and Martin Bayly (LSE IR). The conversation will investigate the varied functions of canons in our research and teaching, explore ways of engaging with canons in a critical manner, and consider how disciplinary differences between International Relations and History might affect their relationship to the idea of a canon.

Drinks will be served at the reception.

Back to top