Regimes of Difference: Culture and Order in World Politics


Regimes of Difference: Culture and Order in World Politics

Room 920, Level 9
Melbourne Law School
185 Pelham Street


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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 rests on flawed understandings of culture, and inaccurate assumptions about how cultural diversity has historically shaped the evolution of international orders.

In this seminar, Christian Reus-Smit discusses the new perspective detailed in the first two volumes of his unfolding trilogy on cultural diversity and international order. He explores how the major theories of international relations 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 presents a new theoretical account of the relationship between cultural diversity and international order, illustrated with historical and contemporary cases.

To be followed by a drinks reception with Professor Reus-Smit in Room 924, Level 9, Melbourne Law School.

This seminar is a collaboration between the Institute for International Law and the Humanities and the Discipline of Political Science in the Melbourne School of Social and Political Sciences at the University of Melbourne.

Image credit: Christian Reus-Smit, On Cultural Diversity: International Theory in a World of Difference.


  • Professor Christian Reus-Smit
    Professor Christian Reus-Smit, Chair in International Relations