International History, the Cultural Turn and the Diplomatic Twitch

Author: Reynolds, David

Source: Cultural and Social History, 1 January 2006, vol. 3, no. 1, pp. 75-91(17)

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Abstract:

To many cultural and social historians, international history (an updated version of diplomatic history) may seem old hat. This essay looks at how the field has developed under pressure from changes in the historical discipline and examines the impact of the 'cultural turn' through recent work on gender, memory and 'otherness'. But the essay also raises questions about this new 'culturalist' international history, especially what to do with the now problematic concepts of agency and causality. And it ends by reaffirming the importance of the traditional agenda of international history – life-and-death governmental decisions for peace or war.

Document Type: Commentary

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1191/1478003806cs053xx

Affiliations: Christ's College, Cambridge

Publication date: January 1, 2006

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