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Order Projects and Resistance in the Global Political System: A Framework for International Relations History with Case (1851-67)

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This paper, part of a larger book manuscript, both introduces a new framework for understanding the main forces of change in the “global political system” (GPS) and discusses a case: French resistance to the British order project in the years 1851-67. Convinced of the importance of constructing useful, accurate historical narratives to tell the story of international relations to ourselves and our students, the GPS framework focuses on major powers and their order projects as a parsimonious means of charting the contexts and periodization of international political history in international affairs and, to a considerable extent, inside countries. It builds on two unit-focused literatures: the historical IR literature which uses predominant unit or regime type to periodize IR history, and the new transnational-comparativist literature on regime-type imposition and waves of regime change (Gunitsky, MacDonald, Narizny, Owen) to synthesize a toolkit of key processes and concepts to apply to international relations history. The French case uncovers and describes Napoleon III ’s counter to the British free trade order project of 1832-68, looking at French policy for reconfiguring the Ottoman Empire and Latin America, and acquiring colonies in Asia and Africa.

This talk is part of the International Relations & History Working Group series.

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