International history, theory and the origins of the second world war

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This review article explores the relationship between international history and postmodernist theory through the case study of recent work on the origins of the Second World War. It explores the predominantly conservative nature of the discourse of international history and the understandings which underpin that character, before discussing the possible implications of a continued non‐engagement with theory for the subdiscipline. Three possible features of a ‘postist’ international history are then suggested: a new reflexive historiographical praxis; critical histori‐ographical studies; cultural history approaches emphasizing discourse analysis and the cultural construction of international subjectivities.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)357-379
Number of pages23
JournalRethinking History
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 01 Dec 1997


  • Discourse
  • Historiography
  • International history
  • Origins of the Second World War
  • Postmodernism
  • Reflexivity


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