International Relations and Non-Western Thought: Imperialism, Colonialism and Investigations of Global Modernity, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

International Relations and Non-Western Thought

Imperialism, Colonialism and Investigations of Global Modernity, 1st Edition

Edited by Robbie Shilliam


288 pages

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International Relations, as a discipline, tends to focus upon European and Western canons of modern social and political thought. Alternatively, this book explores the global imperial and colonial context within which knowledge of modernity has been developed.

The chapters sketch out the historical depth and contemporary significance of non-Western thought on modernity, as well as the rich diversity of its individuals, groups, movements and traditions. The contributors theoretically and substantively engage with non-Western thought in ways that refuse to render it exotic to, superfluous to or derivative of the orthodox Western canon of social and political thought. Taken as a whole, the book provides deep insights into the contested nature of a global modernity shaped so fundamentally by Western colonialism and imperialism. Now, as ever, these insights are desperately needed for a discipline that is so closely implicated in Western foreign policy making and yet retains such a myopic horizon of inquiry.

This work provides a significant contribution to the field and will be of great interest to all scholars of politics, political theory and international relations theory.


'One of the most rewarding aspects of the book is its cohesiveness, something often missing from edited collections. There is passion here, and even if it is wholly unfamiliar terrain and theoretically uncomfortable, I would highly recommend that you read this book.' - Lucy Mayblin, International Affairs, Vol. 87, 5, September 2011

'International Relations and Non-Western Thought offers us precious glimpses into the diversity and complexity of the various paths to modernity. A stimulating read, it should help us to overcome many false dichotomies which too often permeate international-relations discourse without our even noticing.' -Survival, Feb-Mar 2011, 188

Table of Contents

Biographies: 1. Non-Western thought and International Relations Robbie Shilliam 2. The perilous but unavoidable intellectual terrain of the "non-West" Robbie Shilliam Part I : Colonial Conditions 3. On colonial modernity: Civilization versus nationhood in Cuba, c.1840 Gerard Aching 4. Anti-Racism and Internationalism in the thought and practice of Cabral, Neto, Mondlane and Machel Branwen Gruffyd Jones 5. Voices from the "Jewish Colony": Sovereignty, Power, Secularization and the Outside Within Willi Goetschel Part II:Cultural Contexts 6. International Relations of Modernity in Sayyid Qutb’s thoughts on Sovereignty: The Notion of Democratic Participation in the Islamic Canon Sayed Khatab 7. Decoding Political Islam: the International Historical Sociology of Ali Shariati's Political Thought Kamran Matin 8. Beyond Orientalism and "Reverse Orientalism": Through the Looking Glass of Japanese Humanism Ryoko Nakano 9. Culture in Contemporary IR theory: The Chinese Provocation Arif Dirlik Part III: Beyond the Nation-State 10. Alternative sources of cosmopolitanism: Nationalism, universalism and Créolité in Francophone Caribbean thought Martin Munro and Robbie Shilliam 11. The Internationalist Nationalist: Pursuing an Ethical Modernity with Jawaharlal Nehru Priya Chacko 12. Radical anti-colonial thought, anti-colonial Internationalism, and the politics of human solidarities Anthony Bogues Reflections: 13. Untimely Reflections Mustapha Pasha

About the Editor

Robbie Shilliam is a Senior Lecturer in International Relations at Victoria University of Wellington. He is currently working on the interface between the anti-colonial struggles of the indigenous Pacific and those of the Black Americas. He is author of German Thought and International Relations (Palgrave, 2009) and co-editor of Silencing Human Rights (Palgrave, 2008).

About the Series


The Series provides a forum for innovative and interdisciplinary work that engages with alternative critical, post-structural, feminist, postcolonial, psychoanalytic and cultural approaches to international relations and global politics. In our first 5 years we have published 60 volumes.

We aim to advance understanding of the key areas in which scholars working within broad critical post-structural traditions have chosen to make their interventions, and to present innovative analyses of important topics. Titles in the series engage with critical thinkers in philosophy, sociology, politics and other disciplines and provide situated historical, empirical and textual studies in international politics.


We are very happy to discuss your ideas at any stage of the project: just contact us for advice or proposal guidelines. Proposals should be submitted directly to the Series Editors:

  • Jenny Edkins ( and
  • Nick Vaughan-Williams (

‘As Michel Foucault has famously stated, "knowledge is not made for understanding; it is made for cutting" In this spirit The Edkins - Vaughan-Williams Interventions series solicits cutting edge, critical works that challenge mainstream understandings in international relations. It is the best place to contribute post disciplinary works that think rather than merely recognize and affirm the world recycled in IR's traditional geopolitical imaginary.’

Michael J. Shapiro, University of Hawai'i at Manoa, USA


Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Public Policy / City Planning & Urban Development
POLITICAL SCIENCE / History & Theory
POLITICAL SCIENCE / International Relations / General