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The Big Bangs of IR Notes.docx

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Political Science
POLS 4200
Susan Henders

The Big Bangs of IR: The Myths That Your Teachers Still Tell You about 1648 and 1919, Benjamin de Carvalho *key words: empire, eurocentrism, first great debate, historiography, historical sociology, IR Theory, textbooks, Westphalia - International relations as we know them emerged through the peace of Westphalia, and the discipline of International Relations emerged in 1919 and developed through a First Great Debate between idealists and realists - The article talks about how historical scholarship has demolished these myths (Westphalia and the First Great Debate), the problems of IR being too reliant on ‘mythical’ origins, why there has been little revisionist insight, and what possibilities there are for enhancing this dialogue. - 1648 and 1919 are known as the big bangs of the discipline, these were presented as the origin of the discipline as if it were carved in stone. - Through the years, there has been an evolution of the discipline and thus, there have been revisionists attempts to try to rethink 1648 and 1919 as nothing more than sacrilegious myths. 2 - It doesn’t help the fact that the learning tools and readings of student lack revisionist works and as a result it creates a cycle whereby myths are perpetuated into the minds of generations. - There is a lack of dialogue between mainstream scholars and revisionists, and it is detrimental to the discipline. Specifically, with making sense of 1919 and 1648. - 1648: is detrimental because it provides a distorted view of how the modern sovereign state and states-system came into being. 1919: is detrimental because 1) it provides an outdated view of the discipline 2) provides Eurocentric/racist foundations of the discipline 3) exaggerated assumption that IR was birthed simply overnight in 1919 following the European wars. 3 The Myth of 1648 Treatise of Westphalia: - Mainstream IR has dated ontological emergence of the sovereign state, the state- system and the end of the suzerain states to Treatise of Westphalia.  4 - Classic revisionist theories suggest that the modern state nor the anarchic states- systems were founded in 1648 and that the in
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