Global Networks Talk | Before the West: The Rise and Fall of Eastern World Orders

Before the West

Ayşe Zarakol, Before the West: The Rise and Fall of Eastern World Orders

In this Global Networks Talk in Spring 2022, Ayşe Zarakol, Professor of International Relations at the University of Cambridge, presented her new book: Before the West: The Rise and Fall of Eastern World Orders.

What if we stopped projecting back into the history of the East the stench of ‘decline’ from the nineteenth century? What if we did not assume that Asia was just a residual category, a variant of ‘not-Europe’, but indeed a space of with its own particular history and socio-political dynamics, not defined entirely by encounters with European colonialism? What would that history look like? And what would be the implications for International Relations? How would our understanding of sovereignty, as well as our theories about the causes of decline of great powers and international orders change as a result? Before the West offers a grand narrative of (Eur)asia as connected by normatively overlapping successive world orders from the thirteenth to the seventeenth century and uses that history to completely rethink the foundational concepts and debates of International Relations.

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