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History of






States, Empires, Global Spaces:
Visions of order beyond
liberal internationalism

A one-day conference exploring the ideas and practices of international relations from a historical perspective.

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8 November 2019

University of Manchester

Conference 2019

The History of International Thought Network's 2019 conference aims to bring together researchers in the fields of in history, international relations, international law and political theory to investigate the history of visions of international order in the modern age. 

Download Call for Papers

Call for Papers

States, Empires, Global Spaces

Visions of order beyond liberal internationalism


8 November 2019, University of Manchester

Organizing Committee: Liam Stowell (Manchester), Giuseppe Grieco (QMUL)

Keynote Speaker: Or Rosenboim (City, University of London)

Since the Napoleonic era and the Congress of Vienna, global actors have developed multiple ideas of global governance and projects of rules-based international order(s). The shaping of imperial, inter-state and supranational  institutions and organizations such as the System of Congresses (1815-1822), Mazzini’s Young Europe (1834), the First International (1864), the League of Nations (1920), the German Neue Ordnung (1941), the European Economic Community (1957) or the G7 (1975), has always been associated with – and often guided by – the spatialization of politics and the imagination of spaces of regional influence, dominion, hegemony, cooperation or emancipation.

During the transition from the ‘modern’ to the ‘global’ age, independent and state agents such as political thinkers, revolutionaries, national patriots, bureaucrats, policymakers and imperial practitioners have developed imperial ideologies and geopolitical ideas by spatializing politics and projecting systems of power and sovereignty over territories and seas. These multiple strands of international thought were overshadowed, after the demise of the USSR and the end of the Cold War, by the global expansion of the American-led ‘liberal international order’, centred on liberal-democratic institutions, multilateral cooperation, free trade and economic integration.


At a time in which the Western ‘international order’ is being questioned by destabilizing social inequalities, the advent of ‘civilizational states’ and new illiberal hegemonic systems – while the European Union is faced by the resurgence of nationalisms and nation-states – the historical thinking about spatial visions of global order, interdependence and governance can offer useful insights to tackle the present dilemmas of reconciling sovereignty and interdependence, order and self-determination, national patriotism and cosmopolitanism in the international society.


By investigating the evolution of alternative conceptions of political spaces and international relations from a historical perspective, this conference aims to contextualize the idea of ‘liberal international order’ while also questioning some of the fundamental assumptions underlying liberal internationalism. Moreover, by shedding light on the history of ideas and practices that have challenged liberal internationalism since 1815, it will offer a more complex narrative of the modern visions of international relations and of the relations between space and political thought.

We invite submissions from postgraduate and early career researchers in history, international relations, international law and political theory, drawing from different genres of writing, periods and places since 1815, on topics including, but not limited to:

  • geopolitical thought and theories of international law

  • national independence and anti-imperialism

  • the relationship between national and international spaces

  • boundaries and frontiers

  • the interaction between states and empires

  • alternative internationalisms (e.g. fascist, socialist, communist, Catholic)

  • international populism

  • migration, refugees and humanitarianism

  • commonwealths, leagues, imperial and international federations

  • supranational/transnational organizations and movements (e.g. Pan-Africanism, Pan-Arabism, environmentalism, anti-Westernism)

  • global governance and transnational citizenship

To submit a paper or propose a panel, please email a C.V. alongside an abstract or panel proposal to Abstracts should be no more than 300 words for papers of 20 minutes in length. Panel proposals should include the titles of individual papers and not exceed 1000 words in total. The call for papers will close on the 31 July at 23:59 GMT. Successful applicants will be notified no later than 8 September.

The Conference Committee will subsidize the travel expenses of participants coming from outside Manchester.

For any additional information or queries, please contact:;

Call for Papers
History of International Thought Network

History of International Thought Network

An academic network providing a forum for research into the history of international thought, international law, and international relations. 

About the Network
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