BCSIA Communications Officer
Bridges and Boundaries: Historians, Political Scientists, and the Study of International Relations
Book, The MIT Press
Belfer Center Programs or Projects: International Security
"Unlike most attempts to build bridges across the chasms that divide academic disciplines, Bridges and Boundaries succeeds spectacularly in spanning the gap. The Elmans have collected a high-quality group of contributors, leaders in their own disciplines of history and political science, yet experienced bridge-crossers. Their penetrating essays, including paired treatments of international historical issues by scholars from both fields, are especially good at identifying what the real boundaries between the disciplines are, why they exist, and how these complementary differences can make intellectual exchange across the boundaries so profitable. This is simply the best volume on the topic, including the Elmans' highly acclaimed special issue of International Security, which this collection builds upon and surpasses."
--Jack Snyder, Chair, Political Science Department, and Robert and Renee Belfer Professor of International Relations, Columbia University
Bridges and Boundaries offers a conversation between what might loosely be described as traditionalist diplomatic and military historians, and political scientists who employ qualitative case study methods to examine international relations. The book opens with a series of chapters discussing differences, commonalities, and opportunities for cross-fertilization between the two disciplines.
To help focus the dialogue on real events and research, the volume then revisits three empirical topics that have been studied at length by members of both disciplines: British hegemony in the nineteenth century; diplomacy in the interwar period and the causes of World War II; and the origins and course of the Cold War. For each of these subjects, a political scientist, a historian, and a commentator reflect on how disciplinary "guild rules" have shaped the study of international events. The book closes with incisive overviews by Robert Jervis and Paul W. Schroeder.
Bridges and Boundaries explores how historians and political scientists can learn from one another and illustrates the possibilities that arise when open-minded scholars from different disciplines sit down to talk.
Colin Elman is Assistant Professor of Political Science at Arizona State University.
Miriam Fendius Elman is Associate Professor of Political Science at Arizona State University.
For more information about this publication please contact the ISP Program Coordinator at 617-496-1981.
For Academic Citation:
Document Length: 400 pp.