Bridges and Boundaries: Historians, Political Scientists, and the Study of International Relations (BCSIA Studies in International Security)

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9780262550390: Bridges and Boundaries: Historians, Political Scientists, and the Study of International Relations (BCSIA Studies in International Security)

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.

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About the Author:

Colin Elman is Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science at the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, Syracuse University. Previously he was Assistant and Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science at Arizona State University. He is coeditor, with Miriam Fendius Elman, of Bridges and Boundaries: Historians, Political Scientists, and the Study of International Relations (MIT Press, 2001).

Miriam Fendius Elman is Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science at the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, Syracuse University. Previously she was Assistant and Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science at Arizona State University. She is coeditor, with Colin Elman, of Bridges and Boundaries: Historians, Political Scientists, and the Study of International Relations (MIT Press, 2001).

Review:

Unlike most attempts to build bridges across the chasms that divideacademic 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)

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