Ayşe ZarakolMar 29, 2022
Before the West
The Rise and Fall of Eastern World Orders
Cambridge University Press 2022
Ayse Zarakol, Professor of International Relations at the University of Cambridge, is the author of Before the West: The Rise and Fall of Eastern World Orders (Cambridge University Press, 2022). Before the West offers a grand narrative of (Eur)Asia as a space connected by normatively and institutionally overlapping successive world orders originating from the Mongol Empire. It uses that vast history to rethink the foundational concepts and debates of international relations, such as order and decline. How would the history of international relations in 'the East' be written if we did not always read the ending - the Rise of the West and the decline of the East - into the past? What if we did not assume that Asia was just a residual category, a variant of 'not-Europe', but saw it as a space with its own particular history and sociopolitical dynamics, not defined only by encounters with European colonialism? How would our understanding of sovereignty, as well as our theories about the causes of the decline of Great Powers and international orders, change as a result?
Vladislav Lilic is a doctoral candidate in Modern European History at Vanderbilt University.