Postcolonial Theory and International Relations

A Critical Introduction

Edited by Sanjay Seth

© 2013 – Routledge

216 pages

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Paperback: 9780415582889
pub: 2012-12-14
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Hardback: 9780415582872
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About the Book

What can postcolonialism tell us about international relations? What can international relations tell us about postcolonialism?

In recent years, postcolonial perspectives and insights have challenged our conventional understanding of international politics. Postcolonial Theory and International Relations is the first book to provide a comprehensive and accessible survey of how postcolonialism radically alters our understanding of international relations.

Each chapter is written by a leading international scholar and looks at the core components of international relations – theories, the nation, geopolitics, international law, war, international political economy, sovereignty, religion, nationalism, Empire etc. – through a postcolonial lens. In so doing it provides students with a valuable insight into the challenges that postcolonialism poses to our understanding of global politics.

Table of Contents

Introduction Sanjay Seth Part I: CRITIQUE 1. Postcolonial Theory and the Critique of International Relations Sanjay Seth 2. The Other Side of the Westphalian Frontier John M. Hobson 3. Slavery, Finance and International Political Economy: Postcolonial Reflections Branwen Gruffydd Jones 4. Time and the Others Christine Helliwell and Barry Hindess Part II: PERFORMANCE 5. War, Armed Forces and Society in Postcolonial Perspective Tarak Barkawi 6. Deferring Difference: A Postcolonial Critique of the ‘Race Problem’ in Moral Thought Siba N. Grovogui 7. IR and the Postcolonial Novel: Nation and Subjectivity in India Sankaran Krishna 8. The ‘Bandung Impulse’ and International RelationsMustapha Kamal Pasha 9. The Spirit of Exchange Robbie Shilliam

About the Editor

Sanjay Seth is Professor of Politics and co-Director of the Centre for Postcolonial Studies at Goldsmiths, University of London. He has published extensively on social and political theory, postcolonialism, and modern Indian history. He is the author of Subject Lessons: The Western Education of Colonial India (Duke UP 2007) and a founding co-editor of the journal, Postcolonial Studies (1998-).

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


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