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Lineages of Indian international relations: the Indian Council on World Affairs, The League of Nations, and the pedagogy of internationalism

Bayly, Martin J. (2021) Lineages of Indian international relations: the Indian Council on World Affairs, The League of Nations, and the pedagogy of internationalism. International History Review. ISSN 0707-5332

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Identification Number: 10.1080/07075332.2021.1900891


Despite a vibrant literature on the intellectual lifeworlds of anti-colonial international thought, the development of the formal study of International Relations in postcolonial states is frequently described as derivative of European or American practices. In India a privileging of the moment of India’s independence in 1947 has obscured pre-independence literature and sustained the notion that the origins of Indian ‘IR’ were atheoretical, utilitarian, or simply absent. This paper challenges this understanding by playing closer attention to deeper intellectual lineages of Indian international thought and their institutionalization through the League of Nations Societies in India and the Indian Council of World Affairs – India’s first independent international affairs think tank. Drawing upon archival material and postcolonial theory the article shows how Indian intellectuals and activists knowingly navigated the epistemic terrain of international thought, frequently discussing the ‘international’ as a realm of instruction allowing India to escape the constraints that imperialism had foisted upon Indian intellectuals: a ‘pedagogy of internationalism’. Rather than standing apart from the world, Indian international affairs thinking was part of a global shift towards the sytematization of knowledge, a process driven not just by states, but by international organizations and globally connected think tanks.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2021 Informa UK
Divisions: International Relations
Subjects: J Political Science > JZ International relations
D History General and Old World > DS Asia
H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
Date Deposited: 08 Mar 2021 15:33
Last Modified: 20 Oct 2021 03:34

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