May 23-24-25, 2024 INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE 1974-2024 “The history of contemporary international relations. » Sorbonne University – Paris France

Thursday 27 May 2021 / International conference “The Mediterranean, Twenty-five years after Barcelona (1995-2020)” IFA- (Germany)- Fondacion Yuste (Spain)
6 September 2021
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21 September 2023

May 23-24-25, 2024 INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE 1974-2024 “The history of contemporary international relations. » Sorbonne University – Paris France


The history of contemporary international relations: A discipline in transition

Paris Sorbonne University, May 23-24-25, 2024


On the occasion of its fiftieth anniversary in 2024, the journal International Relations wishes to undertake a fundamental evaluation of the changes that have affected the history of relations for half a century. international as a discipline of historical sciences, under the effect of multiple epistemological “turns”.

The dilution of disciplinary boundaries, due in part to the rise of studies, the transnationalization and “globalization” of numerous objects of study encourage us to rethink our identity, our objectives and our methods. The historian cannot underestimate the force of the event or events either: set in a very particular context, marked by the global health epidemic of the coronavirus and the outbreak of war in Ukraine, this anniversary invites also to question again a founding alternative of the international debate, between cooperation and national confrontations and the relationship between two readings, cultural and political, of international relations, which have tended for forty years to be experienced in an antagonistic mode.

We encourage interventions focused on redefinitions and new uses of the concepts of the discipline (such as that of “foreign policy” or “power”) or on certain recent analytical concepts (like that of “circulation”, which has already been the subject of an incisive analysis2), or on words, expressions, metaphors at the heart of the discourse of the actors themselves (such as “peace”, “solidarity”, “development”, “security”, “norm” etc. ), and which could be taken up and integrated (or not) into the analytical lexicon of historians (questioning the metaphorical trajectory of the “Three Circles” from Churchill to Nasser is an example).

If wars have, for a long time, structured the time of international history into a "before", an "after" and an "in-between", the questioning of a chronology of a political nature, structured by a legal vision, has led, since the 2000s, to question traditional periodization’s and to focus on periods of transition, on the overlap of different temporalities, which make it possible to grasp continuity in discontinuity, and according to the point of view adopted to read there the end of an era or, and this is the tropism of the present 21st century, to look for the premises of our time.

Towards a non-Western conceptualization of the world order in transition

Reflections on “the universal history of Ibn Khaldoun” and the precepts for the emergence of an Arab-Islamic vision of international relations

Mohieddine Hadhri

Professor Emeritus of History of International Relations at the University of Tunis

Discussion of Western centrism of international relations theory is not a recent trend for IR scholars. Since the 1960s and 1970s, particularly with the period of decolonization, Western-centered IR has been criticized by theorists of the post-colonial school. This is how Edmond Jouve in “International Relations of the Third World”, Paris (1976) just like Barry Buzan in his famous work “Non-Western International Relations Theory” Routledge, (2010) and others have already raised the nagging and recurring questions, namely: “Why is there no theory of non-Western international relations? »

However, efforts to generate non-Western IR theory in peripheral states are a phenomenon of recent years. Even if the majority of these studies are located in Asia, particularly in China (Marthe Engelborghs-Bertels, 1981; Benjamin Tze Ern Ho, 2019), many voices have been raised in recent years in Arab countries (Tunisia, Egypt) and in the Islamic world in general (Turkey, Malaysia, Indonesia) with regard to the debate on the possibility of the emergence of an Arab-Islamic school of international relations. (Tadjbakhsh, Shahrbanou, 2010)

This contribution, which is inspired by a reflection that we have been carrying out for around ten years on the history and place of international relations in the Arab World (See our article in Badel.L, History of international relations, 2020) is proposes to critically and exhaustively examine recent and diverse research that aims to overcome the Western centrism of IR based on the system of thought of Ibn Khaldoun and the theory of international relations) (Say, Seyfi.2012, Yalvaç , F. (2016)

Based on a review of studies that embody local (Arab and Islamic countries) conceptualizations of international phenomena in the periphery,