International order is normally seen as a secular arrangement, established by independent states to satisfy wants and desires including peace, security, wealth, and power. This project challenges the view that this framework is distinctively modern and secular. Bain argues that this conventional understanding is, in fact, a worldly application of a Christian theological pattern with medieval roots. Uncovering these theological and medieval foundations of international order invites revision of much of what is taken for granted in international theory, such as the historical narratives used by international theorists. It also provides a timely reminder that the quest for a truly global international theory must begin with better self-understanding.
William Bain holds a joint appointment at the National University of Singapore (NUS) Department of Political Science and as Head of Studies for Global Affairs at Yale-NUS College. His research focuses on international relations, the history of ideas, and how religion affects the theory and practice of international relations.
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Sponsored by Kellogg Institute for International Studies.