IASH Intellectual and Literary History Public Seminar Series

Cultures and Values

Cultural Diversity and the International Order 

The rise of non-Western great powers, the spread of transnational religiously justified insurgencies, and the resurgence of ethno-nationalism raise fundamental questions about the effects of cultural diversity on international order. Yet current debate—among academics, popular commentators, and policy-makers alike—rests on flawed understandings of culture and inaccurate assumptions about how historically cultural diversity has shaped the evolution of international orders. Christian Reus-Smit will speak to the themes of his forthcoming book—On Cultural Diversity: International Theory in a World of Difference. The major theories of International Relations, he will argue, have consistently misunderstood the nature and effects of culture, returning time and again to a conception long abandoned in specialist fields: the idea of cultures as coherent, bounded, and constitutive. Drawing on theoretical insights from anthropology, cultural studies, and sociology, and informed by new histories of diverse historical orders, he will present a new theoretical account of the relationship between cultural diversity and international order: an account with far-reaching implications for how we understand contemporary transformations.

Professor Christian Reus-Smit is Professor of International Relations at the University of Queensland and a Fellow of the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia. Before joining UQ, Professor Reus-Smit held Chairs at the European University Institute and the Australian National University (where he was the Head of the Department of International Relations from 2001 to 2010 and Deputy Director of the Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies from 2006 to 2008). In 2013-2014 Professor Reus-Smit served as a Vice-President of the International Studies Association. 


Seminar Room, Level 4 Forgan Smith Tower (Building #1)