The Centre brings together scholars across the world and at all stages in their careers. We are interested in the social, cultural, political, economic, intellectual and legal fabric of our world of nation-states and international institutions.

Our mission

The Centre takes a broad view to make sense of internationalism in its various guises, past and present.

‘Internationalism’ can refer to a number of very different ideas and practices: the search for intergovernmental agreements and conventions; the practice of international assembly; the projection of national agendas across the globe; the transfer of ideas, resources, objects or people across national boundaries.

These different models of internationalism each draw on different intellectual and political traditions, and in practice are shaped by different constellations of foreign policy objectives, economic policies, humanitarian concerns, and the priorities of self-governing professions.

Merze Tate
Merze Tate


Research conducted by members of the Centre takes a broad and critical view of internationalism in the past and present. Their research is positioned within a range of different academic fields of enquiry and tackles broad questions — about actors, institutions and processes, ideas and concepts, and much more.


  • Who are the internationalists?
  • Why and when do people think and act ‘internationally’?
  • How have different groups experienced the international realm at different points in time?
  • When and why do people oppose international agendas?
  • Have men and women played different roles in the construction of international agendas?
  • What role have race, ethnicity or religion played in the nature and success of international projects?
  • How do individuals reconcile their local and global identities in practice?
  • What can we learn about internationalism by studying its emotional underpinnings (such as hope, disappointment, or fear)?

Institutions and Processes

  • How do different institutions envisage and construct the international realm?
  • How do they respond to the political realities of a globalized economy?
  • In what ways does the history of internationalism intersect with that of empire and decolonization?
  • What, if any, common ground do the processes of internationalization and globalization share?
  • Is it possible for institutions to resist or reverse the processes of internationalization and globalization?
  • How have nation states and international institutions related and shaped one another?
  • What roles have regional institutions played in the history of internationalism?

Rules and Norms

  • What norms underlie attempts to institute international regulation?
  • How do technical and scientific standards shape international exchange?
  • Have any specific rules or norms proved to be particularly successful?
  • How do international rules and norms change over time?
  • How does language facilitate or limit international cooperation in different settings?

Objects and Materiality

  • What role does the circulation of goods and commodities play in the development of international projects?
  • How do material infrastructures such as communication and transport technologies shape international exchange?
  • How do objects and technologies shape the way people imagine and experience the international realm?
  • What impact do war, revolution, natural disasters have on the circulation and mobility of objects?

Ideas and Concepts

  • How has internationalism, as a term and concept, been understood and constructed historically?
  • What, if any, are the core ideas or assumptions shared by different international projects?
  • How do international discourses and institutions provide an arena for competition among rival agendas and ideologies?
  • What factors enable or limit the circulation of texts and ideas about internationalism?


  • What makes a technical expert? Are all forms of expertise considered equal?
  • How is technical expertise defined and constructed in different international contexts?
  • When and how do epistemic communities emerge or dissolve? What sustains them?
  • What roles do formal and informal expert networks play in the construction of the international realm?
  • What tensions do experts face between their universalizing ambitions and local identities and realities?