Racialization—the processes that infuse social and political phenomena with racial identities and implications—is an assertion of power, a claim of purportedly inherent differences that has saturated modern diplomacy, order, and violence. Despite the field's consistent interest in power, international security studies in the United States largely omitted racial dynamics from decades of debates about international conflict and cooperation, nuclear proliferation, power transitions, unipolarity, civil wars, terrorism, international order, grand strategy, and other subjects. A new framework lays conceptual bedrock, links relevant literatures to major research agendas in international security, cultivates interdisciplinary dialogues, and charts promising paths to consider how overt and embedded racialization shape the study and practice of international security. A discussion of several research design challenges for integrating racialization into existing and new research agendas helps scholars reconsider how they approach questions of race and security. Beyond diversifying the professoriat itself, revealing and countering embedded biases are crucial to determine how alternative ideas have been marginalized, and, ultimately, to develop better theories.

Racialization fundamentally shapes the exercise of political power, and it deserves thorough consideration within security studies.1 Understood as the processes that infuse social and political phenomena with racial identities and implications, racialization is itself an assertion of power, interweaving purportedly inherent differences with patterns of authority and violence throughout the modern era. Despite the field's consistent interest in power,2 international security studies in the United States largely omitted racial dynamics from decades of debates over international conflict and cooperation, nuclear proliferation, power transitions, unipolarity, civil wars, terrorism, international order, grand strategy, and other subjects.3 Even amid growing recognition of this “willful amnesia,” there remains substantial uncertainty regarding how best to reintegrate the studies of race and security.4 This article jump-starts that process by laying conceptual bedrock, charting promising research opportunities, cultivating interdisciplinary dialogues, and bringing a wide range of related scholarship to bear on key questions of international security.5

The observation that race and security are intertwined was not always a provocative one. When U.S. President Woodrow Wilson learned of Germany's unrestricted submarine warfare in February 1917, he expressed an instinct to refrain from declaring war “in order to keep the white race or part of it strong to meet the yellow race—Japan, for instance, in alliance with Russia, dominating China.” Several cabinet members were “much impressed with the president's long look ahead,” but U.S. Secretary of Agriculture David Houston wrote that he was “not apprehensive in the least about Japan, or about Japan, Russia, and China combined,” because “they were relatively weak intellectually, industrially, and morally” and “at best, the danger from them was remote.”6 The fact that Wilson, famed liberal ideologist and “father of the League of Nations,”7 so readily anticipated a global race war—and that his cabinet engaged the notion using a shared language of racial hierarchy—illustrates how racialized worldviews can shape decisions for war and peace.8

Indeed, the modern study and practice of international security grew from racialized topsoil. As Alexander Barder argues, “the very notion of the global” was built on presumptions of racial hierarchy “that took for granted the idea that certain peoples were to be considered naturally inferior and hence exploitable for a wide range of purposes.”9 World politics were imperial politics from the fifteenth to the twentieth century: European powers knit formerly isolated regions into a global system of racialized orders, extracting wealth from others’ land and labor, and colonial competition and pacification fueled pervasive violence.10 Security-minded scholars in the early twentieth century debated questions of “race development” and “imperial administration,” with the Journal of Race Development serving as precursor to the modern Foreign Affairs.11 W. E. B. Du Bois, Alain LeRoy Locke, and others responded with penetrating critiques of race-based imperialism, war, and domestic discrimination.12 Whether they stood for or against racial equality, everyone recognized race as a fundamental concept in world politics.

One hundred years later, that consensus had been lost. After World War II, transnational movements tore down the normative scaffolding of white supremacy as a source of domestic and international legitimacy by harnessing Holocaust revelations, decolonization struggles, and Cold War pressures to inspire recognition that racism is morally wrong.13 Politicians accordingly cleansed overt racism from most public discourse, recasting their rhetoric in nonracial and post-racial terms.14 The academy mirrored this trend, and by the 1980s began to exclude racial considerations from theories of conflict and cooperation,15 under the mistaken assumption that they now held little significance for international security.16 By the 1990s, the preponderance of rationalist and materialist perspectives transformed the argument that “ideas matter” from a self-evident conventional wisdom into a scholarly revolution.17 Yet even as concepts like ideology, norms, status, and religion began regaining the spotlight, race remained backstage into the first decade of the twenty-first century.18

This is especially noteworthy given the field's enduring preoccupation with the world wars. Both World War I and World War II were struggles for domination among explicitly race-based empires. They were waged by leaders who openly endorsed racist ideologies, and they featured widespread racialized violence, including several of the worst genocides in history.19 The same policymakers who garnered praise for designing liberal postwar orders also preserved race-based imperial and segregationist systems, acted on racialized fears abroad, and persecuted racial minorities at home.20 Nevertheless, theories of war, deterrence, security dilemmas, military doctrines, and power shifts routinely omitted racialized considerations, treating even Adolf Hitler's racist ideology and the Holocaust as footnote-worthy aberrations rather than core subjects of interest.21 Among the many good reasons to revitalize the study of racialization, its saturation of these foundational cases highlights a disconnect that has primed the field for theoretical innovation.

This article aims to catalyze such innovation across seven sections. Its first section establishes racialization as a concept with profound strategic and distributional consequences, situating it as a core subject of interest to security scholars and laying conceptual foundations to constructively approach related questions. The second section addresses research design challenges associated with the study of race. It explores several advantages of focusing on racialization and develops a framework to consider its overt and embedded forms in the study and practice of international security. Using that framework, sections three to six identify many promising opportunities to examine racialization within both existing and new research agendas. Finally, the conclusion explores questions spanning the framework's internal boundaries and implications for academia and policymaking. Collectively, these discussions aim to cultivate productive interdisciplinary dialogues by bringing a wide range of relevant work by critical and postcolonial scholars, historians, sociologists, political scientists, and others to bear on key questions of international security.

What is racialization, and why should it concern scholars of international security? Whereas public discussions often employ the related concept of “race,” I argue that security scholars should prioritize “racialization”—the processes that infuse social and political phenomena with racial identities and implications.22 Race is socially constructed, and the ways in which it is created, propagated, and institutionalized inherently entail assertions of power. This section examines how historically contingent and context-specific factors generate racial identities, which function as socially imposed mechanisms of essentialization. In doing so, it underscores the relevance of racialization to international security, within which there is no concept more pivotal than power.

Race is an idea, not a physical property—a claim that certain groups share collective identities, mutual interests, and inherent qualities based on common descent or physical likeness. Widespread understandings of this claim shape real-world behavior, despite it lacking any physical (in this case, genetic) foundations. Accordingly, scholars recognize race as socially constructed; in Tukufu Zuberi's words, “It is the international belief in race as real that makes race real in its social consequences.”23 Europeans began widely employing the term during the sixteenth through eighteenth centuries “to designate a set of persons, animals or plants connected by common descent or origin” that might reveal “where they belonged in God's creation.”24 They linked the resulting racial categories to presumptions of their own superiority by accelerating exploration, enslavement, and imperialism, sparking protracted debates between emerging racialized worldviews and biblical teachings of a unified humanity.25 Amid a broader intellectual shift from seeing “man as a cultural, social, spiritual being … to [seeing] man as a biological being,” scientists began arguing during the early 1800s that certain physical traits corresponded to levels of civilizational achievement. Such arguments helped entrench racialized hierarchies at the local, national, and global levels.26

Yet even as the global color line became a defining feature of the international system, a century of efforts ultimately failed to identify any genetic differences that aligned with racial cleavages within or across societies.27 As Roxanne Doty observes, “Race does not follow from colour in any direct way. Human variation and difference have not been experienced as they ‘really are’ but by and through metaphorical systems that structure the experience and understanding of difference.”28 Accordingly, the content and meaning of race have varied across societies and changed over time, filtering through unique local histories to produce diverse and enduring legacies.29 While Brazil developed a complex racial typology and an ideology of “race mixture or miscegenation,” for example, India's caste system was molded to reflect the racialized worldviews of its nineteenth-century British colonizers.30 Despite its own relatively stark domestic “color line,” the United States initially racialized immigrants from Ireland, Italy, and elsewhere as non-white before later enveloping them into the “Caucasian race.”31 That identity itself emerged during the eighteenth century, declined by the late nineteenth century, and was revived amid rejection of the alternative “Aryan race” concept after World War II.32

Such variance in discursive patterns and ideational content situates race among other socially constructed phenomena that shape international security, such as ideology, religion, and norms.33 Race stands apart from those other factors, however, in the extent to which the concept itself is suffused with power. Racial identities are not just socially constructed but also socially imposed—applied to individuals by domestic or international society.34 As comparative identities defined in defiance of genetics, their very imposition is an assertion of power that warps social reality and facilitates discrimination in ways that alter physical reality in turn. With imperialism hardening the concept, adapting it to diverse contexts, and diffusing it around the world, race assumed its consequential role as a site for claims to power via racism (prejudice rooted in the purported superiority of one racialized group over another) and other less explicit avenues.35 From Europe to Africa, the Americas, and Asia, ruling elites used racial identities to subordinate Indigenous peoples and reinforce hierarchical orders, generating inequities of property, legal rights, and political access based on presumptions about others’ inherent and inherited inferiority.36 As Robbie Shilliam writes, racialization has “never been a passive project.”37

Power is intrinsic to race because racialization is essentialization. Not only do racial identities categorize people using physical markers; they tether those markers to myths about the essential natures of different groups. In doing so, they gain a potency that extends beyond the exploitative practices that often accompany them. As Michael Omi and Howard Winant write, “Perceived differences in skin color, physical build, hair texture, the structure of cheek bones, the shape of the nose, or the presence/absence of an epicanthic fold are understood as the manifestations of more profound differences that are situated within racially identified persons: differences in such qualities as intelligence, athletic ability, temperament, and sexuality, among other traits [italics in original].”38 Once broad swathes of a society attribute relative qualities, competing interests, and appropriate social roles to assumptions about the inherent natures of different groups, racial identities become virtually inescapable. This “illusion that racial identity is natural and fixed, rather than social and changeable” distinguishes it from related concepts such as ethnic or national identities and contributes directly to its potency.39 Racialization is thus a key dimension of the broader question regarding how actors assert power over others.40

In short, racialization is a core conceptual and empirical subject of interest to scholars of international security. Not only has it been used for centuries to launder supremacy and facilitate violence, but racialization itself consists of an assertion of power that reshapes perceived interests and threats. Whereas centering the concept of race may implicitly reinforce static perspectives on the subject, moreover, racialization emphasizes “dynamic” and “historically specific, ideological” processes that draw from “pre-existing discursive elements and … competing political projects and ideas” to generate racial identities and implications through discourse, practice, and institutionalization.41 The next section further explores why this dynamic concept offers the most useful starting point for scholars to engage questions of race and security.

How should scholars approach the task of integrating racialization into existing research agendas in international security and initiating new ones? Several research design challenges stand in the way—including whether to study it at all, how to handle such a thorny subject, how theories should account for its complexity, how to test related hypotheses empirically, and where to even begin incorporating it after decades of widespread neglect. This section addresses each of these challenges, discussing advantages that the racialization concept offers and developing a framework for considering its various roles in international security.

The first challenge is whether to study racialization at all. Some see race as a dangerous illusion that deserves to be eliminated from the academic lexicon—inaccurate at best (referencing supposedly natural differences that do not actually exist) and destructive at worst (instrumental in tremendous human suffering).42 Others judge it a niche subject, only tangentially related to questions of war and peace.43 But ignoring racialized dynamics does not diminish their social, political, and material consequences. Moreover, portrayals of the modern international system or powerful states within it as color-blind or post-racial have been roundly debunked.44 Indeed, the literature assembled throughout this article suggests that racialization's influence rather than its absence should be the implicit null hypothesis of much international security research. Given what is known about its prevalence throughout the modern international system, scholars should strongly suspect that racialization had to shape a wide variety of interactions and outcomes relevant to international security.45

A second challenge emerges from the recognition that how scholars handle race in the present affects its conceptual future. Academic research represents one among many forms of social discourse through which concepts such as race are contested and reconstructed. Academia occupies a position of authority in society and, it is important to remember, it actively participated in hardening racialized worldviews during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries through “scientific racism.”46 Accordingly, critical scholars have cautioned that employing “races” as independent variables “without any contextualization or explanation implies that the causal mechanism for social differences lies in the categories themselves,” thereby reifying racial identities and enabling “biology/genetics to re-enter through the back door.”47 In contrast, centering the concept of racialization—which connotes active social construction and reconstruction—helps to ensure that scientific discourse remains normatively self-aware, and that it more accurately reflects social reality.

Third, the same conceptual dynamism that lends nuance and explanatory power to racialization also works against the ambition for parsimonious theorizing. Yet this is ultimately a strength rather than a weakness; in Stephen Van Evera's words, “We can tolerate some complexity if we need it to explain the world.”48 Racialization does not occur in a vacuum. It frequently intersects with other factors such as international distributions of military capacity, institutional access, and trade, as well as individual characteristics such as class, gender, religion, and nationalism.49 Similarly, racialized “othering” frequently involves domestic, foreign, and transnational groups, and it blurs the common theoretical distinction between domestic and foreign policy—a divide that has itself helped perpetuate racial hierarchies.50 Accordingly, racialization may be better theorized not as a static and exogenous causal variable, but as an ongoing and interactive process that molds the security implications of other factors and alters the ways in which other processes operate. Perspectives rooted in racialization thus encourage meticulous attention to potential mutual causation, conditionality, constitutive effects, and other possibilities in theory development.51

Fourth, scholars face several empirical difficulties when testing theories that involve racialized dynamics. Most notably, racialization need not always entail observable behavior; prejudices are often unstated (especially when prevailing norms formally embrace racial equality).52 While overtly racist discourse within primary-source documents may offer clear evidence that racialization shaped a foreign policy decision, its absence should not be interpreted as proving that racialization had no effect on that decision.53 In such cases, scholars may use methods such as comparative historical analysis, spatial analysis, discourse analysis, and ethnography to triangulate relevant contextual details, to examine institutional rules and behavioral trends, or to assess divergent outcomes across racialized groups.54 Surveys, interviews, and experimental methods may also produce useful proxy data for testing causal mechanisms that involve racialized perceptions and interactions.55 Statistical analysis is often crucial for assessing inequitable distributions, if: it avoids implicitly treating race as a manipulable variable; it includes nuanced theoretical discussions that avoid reifying races as discussed above; and it guards against potential covariance between racial identities and other factors of interest such as region or per capita gross domestic product.56 Longitudinal studies must especially account for how “comparing race over time is in reality a comparison of the changing social meaning of race.”57 Statisticians have developed a variety of approaches to multicollinearity, though its appearance should also prompt scholars to consider employing increasingly sophisticated theoretical models.58

A fifth challenge facing security scholars is where to even begin incorporating racialization into existing research agendas, given its absence from most of the literature underpinning the field's current debates. The remainder of this section develops a framework to help scholars think about racialization in international security, apply related interdisciplinary work to existing research agendas, and identify pathways for new research. This framework is based on two questions: First, do the processes infusing political phenomena with racial identities and implications operate directly and openly, or are they obscured and indirect? Second, do those processes concern the practice or the study of international security? Using these questions, figure 1 depicts four distinct types of racialization.

Figure 1.

Types of Racialization

Figure 1.

Types of Racialization

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First, some racialization operates overtly—casting phenomena directly in terms of racial identities and generating clearly observable racial implications. For example, policymakers may candidly express racist motivations, frame decisions using racialized language, or implement policies that generate divergent consequences for racialized groups. When racialization is overt, that visibility can help overcome some of the methodological challenges discussed above, making approaches such as process tracing and archival research particularly useful for examining its relationships with other dynamics. On the other hand, much racialization occurs through embedded pathways. It indirectly biases phenomena that are not formally framed in racial terms, but that may be derived from overtly racialized sources. Theorizing embedded racialization often requires that scholars account for historically contingent path dependency, intersubjective and constitutive relationships, and reciprocal or otherwise complex causal dynamics. Empirically testing such theories may require them to employ contextual triangulation or statistical analysis using reasonable proxy measures.

The framework's second dimension distinguishes racialization in the political world under study from its manifestations within the academic enterprise itself. From threat perceptions and uses of force to alliances and international orders, racialization has shaped many political phenomena of interest to the field of international security. Yet scholars are not impartial observers removed from the sociopolitical conditions of their time, and racialization can shape their understandings of international security beyond its actual practice. The origins of academic international relations during the early twentieth century were saturated by that era's prevailing racialized worldviews, and the field has barely begun to grapple with persistent legacies, including the composition of the professoriat, which questions or cases merit attention, predominant theoretical framings, and how to define concepts as central as security itself.

To consider how each type of racialization should inform current and future research agendas in international security, the next four sections address two key questions: How does each type of racialization bear on major questions, theories, and debates within the field? What new research avenues does a perspective rooted in each type of racialization suggest deserve greater attention from security scholars? In answering these questions, these sections fulfill four interrelated purposes: identifying new pathways for research on racialization in international security; demonstrating its widespread pertinence within the field; facilitating security scholars’ engagement with relevant interdisciplinary literatures; and encouraging collaborative dialogues as racialization attracts increasing attention within security studies.59

For many, the primary association between race and security concerns overt political racialization, which directly casts political phenomena in terms of racial identities or generates clearly observable racial implications. This form of racialization is arguably the most straightforward to integrate into existing research agendas because it entails relatively conspicuous causal mechanisms that generate clear observational evidence. Security scholars understand how social psychological elements such as uncertainty, fear, and prestige drive leaders to make presumptions about their security environment, to take preventive measures that make conflict more likely, and to demand more onerous concessions from some relationships than others. The conceptual discussion above implies that racialization should directly influence these and other processes. This section identifies several pathways to examine overt political racialization in international security, exploring its roles in three research questions of long-standing interest: how leaders perceive threats, how they reach policy decisions (including uses of force), and how the state is constituted as a security actor.

Threat perceptions are central to any notion of security, and scholars have identified a variety of biases that can divert leaders from making rational assessments of military capabilities and signaled intentions.60 Racialization can do so in cross-cutting ways, making adversaries seem both more hostile (based on presumably irreconcilable differences and predispositions to violence) and less capable (based on presumably inferior strategic thinking, technical capacity, and organizational culture). Fears of a “Yellow Peril” fueled U.S. efforts to contain Japanese expansion in the early twentieth century, for example, and 9/11 catalyzed hostility toward several racial minorities in Europe and the United States.61 On the other hand, racist disdain impaired strategic planning before the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor—as Commander in Chief of the U.S. Pacific Fleet Adm. Husband Kimmel later confided, “I never thought those little yellow sons-of-bitches could pull off such an attack.”62 Israeli intelligence similarly downplayed signals that Syria and Egypt were preparing to attack in 1973 because, in the words of Mossad Director Zvi Zamir, “We simply did not believe they were capable…. We scorned them.”63 Further research on racialized dynamics in military assessments and strategic narratives is particularly important amid current U.S.-China tensions.64

Racialization can also shape threat perceptions when leaders interpret threats through racial ideologies or treat racialized institutions and hierarchies themselves as national interests. Just as security scholars recognize how ideological rifts may breed perceptions of an existential threat (e.g., among European monarchies witnessing French Revolutionary liberalism), there is ample room for future research on how ideologies that promote racialized domestic hierarchies might accentuate the perception of specific threats—even from far weaker actors.65 For instance, resistance to settler-colonial policing and imperial intervention has been framed as an outsized security threat in contexts from Canada to Afghanistan.66 U.S. leaders from the antebellum South demonized Haiti after its 1804 independence, fearful that a successful “Black Republic” would threaten slavery at home and abroad.67 In 2016, presidential candidate Donald Trump promoted replacement fears toward Latin American refugees and asylum-seekers with statements like “they're going to be able to vote and once that all happens you can forget it,”68 and as president his declaration of a “national emergency concerning the southern border” in 2019 was based far more on the perceived otherness of migrants than their military capabilities.69 Racialized immigration policies and rhetoric have drawn substantial attention among scholars of securitization, raising questions about racialized securitization processes, who is empowered to securitize, and related issues.70

Another research area that is ripe for scholars to consider racialization concerns how leaders formulate policy options and make decisions, particularly those involving coercion and uses of force. Racialization may distort assessments of a policy's feasibility, normative desirability, and likely consequences, driving leaders to dismiss some options and prioritize others. U.S. policymakers felt pressure to refrain from using nuclear weapons during the Korean and Vietnam Wars because further nuclear strikes in Asia after the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki would, in the words of Under Secretary of State George Ball, “inevitably be met by a Communist accusation that we use nuclear weapons only against yellow men (or colored men),” and would generate “profound shock … among the non-white nations on every continent.”71 Public attitudes on racial issues generated incentives for elected officials to ban the slave trade and slavery itself during the nineteenth century and to implement anti-apartheid sanctions on South Africa during the 1980s.72 That said, racialized assumptions can also fuel intervention, as when U.S. leaders ruled out independence for the Philippines in 1898 because they judged its “heterogenous compound of inefficient Oriental humanity” incapable of self-governance.73 Recent work on global racial imaginaries and “worldmaking” further opens the door for security scholars to examine how leaders’ racial understandings shape foreign policy decision-making.74

No subject commands more attention than why, how, and against whom states employ violence. Scholars should examine the racialized dynamics of those decisions. Most notably, racialization contributes to dehumanization—diluting the perceived moral value of the lives of others, disqualifying them from human rights, and paving the way for “war without mercy,” or even genocide.75 Even societies that prize individual rights have tolerated extensive civilian casualties among racialized others in the service of strategic objectives, including British inaction during the 1943 Bengal famine, Iraqi civilian suffering under 1990s United Nations (UN) sanctions, or “collateral damage” during the U.S. War on Terror.76 Likewise, racist notions of a civilizing mission generated moral and legal exceptions that countenanced systematic violence throughout European empires well into the twentieth century.77 In domestic settings, stereotypes associating minorities with violence fuel harsher policing of nonviolent resistance movements among them than among racial majorities.78 From policymakers to soldiers to civilians, questions regarding how racialization shapes political violence deserve sustained attention from theories of international conflict.

Studies of overt political racialization should also consider the domestic foundations of states as security actors. Racialized dynamics shape national leader selection via citizenship laws, immigration policies, and local identity politics, raising questions about how they perpetuate or stifle certain perspectives within policymaking circles.79 State-sanctioned racial discrimination has been found to impair military effectiveness by fueling desertion, side-switching, and reluctance to fight among soldiers from victimized groups.80 It can also generate security externalities from terrorism and irredentism to migration and diaspora mobilization.81 As scholars increasingly problematize the assumption that states rationally advance consistent national interests, racialized dynamics within their construction as security actors remain a vibrant area for future research.82

Much racialization is not overt but embedded in phenomena that exhibit biases and inequities despite the absence of formally racialized trappings. As Branwen Gruffydd Jones writes, racism is “reproduced not only through intentional acts but also, more routinely, as a result of structural forces arising from the configuration of social relations.”83 While the relative scarcity of causal-process evidence makes embedded racialization easier to overlook, scholars can nevertheless track it using correlational methods such as statistical analyses and macrohistorical case studies. Divergent educational and health outcomes, postcolonial comparative advantages, concentrations of financial leverage, and the “digital divide” in technological access and proficiency have all been found to perpetuate international economic inequities in ways that stem from their colonial origins.84 Four out of five permanent seats on the UN Security Council are held by European countries and by the United States, an allocation that informs Security Council resolutions and peacekeeping missions. The result is a tendency for military interventions to target areas of the Global South, separating the international system, in Marc Trachtenberg's words, into “two castes of states.”85

Whereas systemic inequities are relatively widely recognized, more research is needed on subtler racialized elements in international diplomacy. For instance, objectifying racial others may cause leaders to approach diplomatic interactions as opportunities to dictate rather than negotiate, drive publics to support allocating foreign aid paternalistically, and undercut efforts to cultivate trust or pursue cooperative security activities such as intelligence sharing.86 Scholars have noted how U.S. policymakers structuring Cold War alliances in Asia preferred bilateral relationships with themselves as senior partners, whereas in Europe shared identities helped foster a sense of security community.87 Racialized bonds may also facilitate other forms of international cooperation, such as smoothing the rapprochement between the United States and Britain during the late nineteenth century—the most prominent modern case of a peaceful power transition—and helping sustain U.S. partnerships with Australia and South Africa against transnational condemnation of white supremacist institutions during the mid-twentieth century.88 The racial equality norm renders it increasingly unlikely that written records will feature overtly racialized rhetoric in more recent cases. It is therefore particularly important to consider how institutionalized practices, relationships, and other long-standing path-dependent phenomena may perpetuate embedded racialization in modern diplomacy.

International law scholarship has had some of the greatest success to date in unveiling embedded racialization. As Jennifer Pitts observes, “International law, together with structures of international governance, is in important respects a product of the history of European imperial expansion.”89 European legal philosophers divided the world into “uncivilized,” “semi-civilized,” and “civilized” nations, understanding the last to include all Christian European nations.90 They used such gatekeeping categories between the fifteenth and twentieth centuries, along with other legal mechanisms—often racialized in their effects if not always in their terminology—to deny others sovereign recognition and facilitate European domination.91 For example, the doctrines of discovery and of terra nullius categorized many areas populated by non-European peoples as legally uninhabited, granting sovereignty to whichever European power “discovered” them.92 Treaties and property laws similarly functioned as vehicles for racialized dispossession. As Benjamin Rhode writes, “Many deemed it quite natural for those states considered incapable of ‘self-government’ to be governed instead by those who were.”93 Although scholars routinely identify legalization as a centerpiece of the “liberal international order,” related debates within security studies rarely engage much with international law scholarship.94 In this area, as in others, cultivating interdisciplinary conversations can help scholars consider how embedded racialization shapes international security.95

Recent research on international orders has emphasized how they take root among preexisting networks of authority and influence, reflect exclusionary motives, and fall short of equitable standards.96 Yet racialization's roles in these processes—and in the resistance that they encounter—have so far been investigated primarily by scholars beyond security studies.97 Moreover, legal principles that are otherwise favored for helping mitigate international conflict (e.g., sovereignty, territorial integrity, and uti possidetis) have been found to simultaneously enable global and local actors to evade the racial equality norm and solidify racialized distributions of property and power.98 Even the rule of law—a central element of liberal prescriptions for good governance—can privilege dominant actors by perpetuating a status quo that reinforces preexisting inequities instead of remedying them.99 Assessing how various ordering approaches affect security issues requires disentangling their virtues in principle from potentially racialized implementation in practice.

Beyond the practice of international security, understandings of it can also be racialized through the analytical scaffolding that scholars bring to their subject matter. As in the political world, the languages, theories, and worldviews that scholars consciously or unconsciously employ end up bounding “conceptions of possibility” and “modes of thought and discourse” within academia.100 Patterns in those intellectual frameworks should be expected to vary systematically in ways that reflect the composition of the professoriat. This section probes several forms of overt academic racialization relevant to international security, including the use of concepts that reinforce rather than problematize the essentialization of racial identities and academic structures that promote the perspectives of specific racial groups.

It is now widely understood that the origins of academic international relations in the United States were saturated by overt racialization.101 Early twentieth-century scholars saw races as natural building blocks of world politics. Consequently, they deployed racialized concepts in ways that perpetuated the essentializing dynamics discussed above—in Duncan Bell's words, “Race was widely and explicitly considered a fundamental ontological unit of politics, perhaps the most fundamental of all.”102 Accordingly, theories that would now be condemned as unapologetically racist and factually incorrect represented conventional wisdoms throughout that era.103 The field's “early works were firmly situated in the prominent social Darwinist evolutionary theses of the day,” Errol Henderson observes, “which assumed a hierarchy of races dominated by white Europeans and their major diasporic offshoots in the Americas, Australia and South Africa, with nonwhites occupying subordinate positions.”104 As Robert Vitalis notes, scholars “continued to think both in terms of territorial and phenotypical units of analysis” well after World War I, and the fallout from this extensive academic racialization remains ripe for further study.105

Even as the failure of scientific racism and growing respect for racial equality delegitimized overtly racist approaches during the late twentieth century, some prominent theories continued to employ essentializing logic using concepts like ethnicity, nation, or civilization rather than race.106 “Primordialist” theories of nationalism and ethnic conflict located the roots of those phenomena in supposedly inherent bonds passed down through centuries of shared ancestry.107 Samuel Huntington's “clash of civilizations” thesis argued that purportedly essential differences between “Muslim and Western societies” would trigger a central fault line of international conflict.108 Such arguments generated far more heat than light, and their claims to identify fundamental divisions within humanity have been debunked. Yet in attracting enough attention to escape the ivory tower and enter public discourse, they attest to the cognitive ease with which people can fall back on essentialist myths. Indeed, such ideas continued to echo in public commentary amid Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine that began in 2022.109 Accordingly, efforts to unveil and critique essentialist logics will remain important contributions to the study of international security.

Just as academic perspectives can demonstrate overt racialization, so too can academic institutions. As table 1 shows, scholars identifying as “Black” or as “Hispanic” combined to make up less than 9 percent of the International Studies Association's International Security Studies Section in 2019 and roughly 6 percent of the American Political Science Association's International Security section in 2020, despite more than 31 percent of the U.S. population sharing those identities. In contrast, roughly 80 percent and 75 percent of those sections, respectively, identified as “White,” reflecting demographic overrepresentation that was previously even more extreme.110 Academia has long suffered from a “leaky pipeline” of non-white PhDs leaving the field (mirroring similarly inadequate retention of female scholars).111 Studies also find that “the IR [international relations] community in the United States appears to be relatively insular compared to its counterparts in other countries,” spurring efforts to cultivate underrepresented perspectives.112 Because academic institutions with relatively homogeneous memberships are likely to suffer corresponding blind spots and reproduce collective biases, sustained attention to unveiling and uprooting those biases should promote better understandings of international security. There is also ample room for greater reflection on how internalized racial identities and personal experiences with racialization and racism (or the lack thereof) inform theoretical perspectives in the field.113

Table 1.

Comparison of Racial Identities in 2020 U.S. Census and in Professional Organizations for the Study of International Security

Self-Reported Racial Identity (%)
U.S. Census (2020)ISA ISSS (2019)APSA IS (2020)
Asian 6.0 8.3 14.5 
Black 12.4 2.3 2.7 
Hispanic 18.7 6.5 3.4 
White 61.6 80.1 74.5 
Self-Reported Racial Identity (%)
U.S. Census (2020)ISA ISSS (2019)APSA IS (2020)
Asian 6.0 8.3 14.5 
Black 12.4 2.3 2.7 
Hispanic 18.7 6.5 3.4 
White 61.6 80.1 74.5 

SOURCES: U.S. Census Bureau, “Race and Ethnicity in the United States: 2010 Census and 2020 Census,” August 12, 2021, https://www.census.gov/library/visualizations/interactive/race-and-ethnicity-in-the-united-state-2010-and-2020-census.html; Maria Rost Rublee et al., “Do You Feel Welcome? Gendered Experiences in International Security Studies,” Journal of Global Security Studies 5, no. 1 (January 2020): 226, https://doi.org/10.1093/jogss/ogz053; Data on Profession, APSA Organized Section Dashboard, American Political Science Association, February 2020, https://www.apsanet.org/RESOURCES/Data-on-the-Profession/Dashboard/Membership/Organized-Sections.

NOTE: The data are from the 2020 U.S. Census (categories: “Asian alone,” “Black or African American alone,” “Hispanic or Latino,” “White alone”), a 2019 survey of the International Security Studies Section of the International Studies Association (categories: “Asian,” “Black,” “Hispanic,” “White”), and a 2020 survey of the International Security section of the American Political Science Association (categories: the sum of “East Asian or Asian American,” “South Asian or Indian American,” and “Middle Eastern or Arab American”; “Non-Hispanic White or Euro-American”; “Black, Afro-Caribbean, or African American”; “Latino or Hispanic American”).

Given the pervasiveness of overt academic racialization only a few generations ago and enduring demographic imbalances within the academy, it would be naive to expect no lingering symptoms within security studies. Beyond diversifying the professoriat itself, revealing and countering embedded biases is crucial both to determine how alternative ideas have been marginalized, and, ultimately, to develop better theories.114 Fortunately, scholars increasingly recognize that the exorcism of overtly racist rhetoric from social discourse and academic writing does not adequately solve these issues. This section explores several modes of embedded racialization within conventional approaches to international security that deserve further attention, including how scholars conceptualize security itself, employ other inherited concepts, and construct empirical data.

The academic boundaries of international security hinge on scholars’ conceptions of what security itself means. Although long-standing tradition emphasizes “threats of external aggression,” Arnold Wolfers noted seventy years ago that defining security in that way or any other way inherently involves a moral choice, “comparing and weighing values in order to decide which of them are deemed sufficiently good to justify the evil of sacrificing others.”115 Should conceptions of security prioritize the protection of borders, lives, wealth, health, power, honor, identity, or something else—and for whom? These trade-offs frequently reflect stated or unstated biases, as policymakers decide whose values should be secured and whose sacrifices, both domestic and international, are justified. Likewise, scholars decide whose vulnerabilities and struggles warrant studying as security.116 For instance, broadening prior research agendas to include gender-based violence and women's political roles has changed our understandings of war, democratic peace, and other security issues.117 Similar attention should be directed toward racialized subordinations of human security (e.g., amid international investment projects across Latin America, the Middle East, and India).118 Even the choice to define security in terms of military defense while downplaying threats such as climate change, pandemics, and poverty carries racialized domestic and international consequences.119 Broadening the security concept can thus help scholars better explain underappreciated experiences of insecurity and the construction of security perspectives among policymakers and publics.

Beyond security itself, many other core concepts of security studies also exhibit embedded racialization. Most notably, postcolonial scholars have laid bare the Eurocentric roots of anarchy and “Westphalian” sovereignty, which remain building blocks of major theories of international security despite having been crafted by nineteenth-century German historians and international jurists with overtly normative and racialized agendas.120 European perspectives on international order are routinely universalized, treating states as exogenous units for theorizing purposes and neglecting the racialized processes of state formation and expansion that produced their privileged modern positions.121 Both foreign policies and studies of them reference concepts like “development” and “good governance,” often with little regard for the racialized histories that predispose certain nations to seem backward by such measures.122 Meera Sabaratnam critiques canonical theories of international relations for uncritically extrapolating from the experiences of great powers, advanced industrial states, or nations displaying “standards of civilization,” thereby emphasizing episodes and forms of conflict and cooperation that have been prominent among those states while downplaying “peripheral” cases.123 At a minimum, such critiques suggest that the field would benefit from greater self-reflection on the appropriate prerequisites for theories to claim generalizability.

Racialization is also frequently embedded in the data that scholars use, biasing the standards by which some theories gain widespread acceptance and not others. Eurocentrism has constrained how scholars select cases and develop theories,124 with Europe and its settler-colonial offshoots overrepresented across empirical scholarship and graduate education.125 Furthermore, to the extent that both overt and embedded racialization have influenced the academic study of history, they have helped curate which historical perspectives, depictions of events, and primary-source quotations have merited inclusion in the secondary sources on which political scientists routinely depend for data. The resulting fallout plagues not only case-study research but also widely used statistical datasets. Reflecting a “state-centric perspective,” for instance, the Correlates of War dataset initially coded as “colonial” or “imperial wars” only those conflicts that involved “a minimum of 1,000 battle-related fatalities for the system member alone during each year of the war [emphasis added].”126 This coding disregarded the violence that those “system members” inflicted on colonized peoples. More recently, Jeff Colgan finds that coder nationality biases powerful enough to skew regression outcomes exist in three other widely used datasets, which underscores how much work remains to be done to improve data quality and reevaluate prior findings.127

Security scholars have much to gain through renewed attention to racialization, a concept that has saturated modern diplomacy, order, and violence. This article has aimed to catalyze such efforts by laying conceptual bedrock, linking interdisciplinary literatures to major research agendas in international security, and charting many promising paths to consider how overt and embedded racialization shape the study and practice of international security. I conclude by discussing additional research questions that span the four types of racialization (overt and embedded as well as political and academic) and considering additional implications for academia and policymaking.

One line of inquiry should connect overt and embedded racialization, comparing them and exploring transitions from one to the other. While overt racialization attracts greater attention because it is relatively brazen and easy to observe, the racial equality norm makes embedded racialization more likely to endure in the twenty-first century. To what extent can findings concerning the former be reliably externalized to understand cases of the latter? What security dynamics specific to the latter may go underappreciated if scholarly debates overemphasize the former? Racialized U.S. perceptions of Haiti, the Philippines, Japan, and other countries have generated path-dependent historical effects that continue to shape international security today, but how precisely do those embedded modern effects relate to their overtly racialized roots?128 Growing interest in international hierarchies and exclusionary ordering practices offers additional entry points for comparing their racialized dynamics, and postcolonial scholarship should spark further work on embedded racialization within security dependencies and interdependent economic networks.129

Another important line of inquiry concerns how security processes transition between overt, embedded, and nonracialized forms. For instance, incomplete transitions from overt racialization can leave racialized features embedded in contemporary military interventions, training, and development programs.130 The relationship between agency and structure within such transitions also deserves to be thoroughly examined: How have states, groups, or individuals sought to manipulate racialization under various institutional and systemic conditions? Transitions themselves may generate second-order effects. For example, rejecting overt racialization might spur a sense of triumphalism that stifles calls to address embedded biases. The causes and dynamics of potential backsliding also remain subjects of urgent concern. Recent studies reject linear or teleological accounts of the racial equality norm in favor of more dynamic models of normative contestation, findings that mark scholarship on international norms as another promising site for interdisciplinary engagement.131

Of course, another crucial avenue for studying the relationship between overt and embedded racialization concerns academia itself. Demographic representation within security studies remains a work in progress, and more research is needed on obstacles to and best practices for promoting racial diversity.132 While most scholars now reject overtly racialized concepts and theories based on essentializing logics, there remains ample room to investigate marginalized perspectives throughout the field's history and to explore the forsaken promise of paths not taken.133 Seriously contemplating embedded racialization within core concepts, theories, and data should further help scholars revise flawed conventional wisdoms. Although Eurocentrism will likely remain a challenge given the global scope of U.S. and European foreign policies, scholarship on racialization and security should strive to engage broader perspectives and contexts.134

Beyond questions that span racialization's overt and embedded forms, security scholars should also examine how academic and political racialization intersect. Ongoing efforts to bridge the gap between academic expertise and policymaking highlight various ways in which influence flows (and fails to flow) in both directions, offering ample room to investigate how racialized political rhetoric may become accepted academic terminology, and vice versa.135 Grand strategy scholarship is also increasingly problematizing the identities, assumptions, and values that leaders bring to the table, as well as the distributional effects of their policies.136 Studies of racialized cross-pollination between academia and policymaking should engage precisely such questions and take advantage of rich opportunities to integrate postcolonial critiques with constructivist theories of legitimation, the political economy of security, and other approaches.137 The domestic burdens and beneficiaries of security policies vary with geography (e.g., fortifications shielding residents of a vulnerable border region) and economics (e.g., decolonization removing competing producers from domestic markets). They also vary across racialized domestic groups—from race-based terrorism138 and “opportunistic repression” amid the COVID-19 pandemic,139 to war costs imposed disproportionately on racial minorities (e.g., during Russia's 2022 invasion of Ukraine).140

Finally, what implications for policymaking emerge from considering racialization in international security? Rather than prescribing specific policies, this article's findings offer seven broader insights to help leaders compose, select, and assess policy options. First, recognize that racialization is about political power. Leaving behind misconceptions of it as a purely societal or domestic matter opens the door to important conversations about its relationships with international diplomacy, coercion, and violence. Second, think critically about overt and embedded racialization within major concepts (including security itself) to discern where discriminatory assumptions, essentializing logics, and Eurocentric perspectives may be baked into prevailing discourses, institutions, and policies. Third, centuries of racialization leave a large wake, so build a habit of questioning the instrumental, strategic, and normative value of the status quo rather than maintaining it for its own sake. Fourth, reject portrayals of the liberal international order as post-racial, the racial equality norm's rise as inevitable or irreversible, and perspectives that are not expressed in overtly racialized terms as color-blind. Beyond being incorrect, such depictions complicate public diplomacy at home and abroad by fostering divergent worldviews between those who see through them and those who do not.

Fifth, interrogate potentially racialized aspects of various policy options, including their material impacts and public perceptions at home and abroad. For example, the September 2021 AUKUS (Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States) announcement broadcast deepening military cooperation among three states known throughout Asia for having racialized imperial histories, within the context of a U.S.-China rivalry that had already been prominently framed as “a clash of civilizations.”141 Policies such as the Joe Biden administration's October 2022 restrictions on China's semiconductor trade and stratified security regimes such as the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty similarly play into narratives of renewed postcolonial subjugation, which should be understood when weighing their strategic value.142

Sixth, ensure that diverse perspectives have a voice in policy formation. Just as underrepresentation within the academy limits scholars’ theoretical horizons, homogeneous worldviews within policymaking circles constrain foreign policy possibilities.143 Last, this article underscores that there is still much to learn, so approach questions of racialization and security with a healthy dose of humility. That said, both overt and embedded racialization permeated the modern international system within living memory, and both continue to shape world politics today. Accordingly, stay abreast of new research to ensure that it helps improve not just the study but also the practice of international security.

For helpful comments and conversations during this article's development, the author is grateful to Amitav Acharya, Zoltán Búzás, Austin Carson, Neta Crawford, Bianca Freeman, Jenna Gibson, Desh Girod, Stacie Goddard, Naima Green-Riley, Robert Gulotty, Paul Higate, John Kurt Jacobsen, Tobias Lemke, Paul MacDonald, Nivi Manchanda, Stephen Pampinella, Robert Pape, Randolph Persaud, Eteri Tsintsadze-Maass, the anonymous reviewers, and roundtable participants at the 2021 American Political Science Association conference. The author thanks Nikita Lumijoe for diligent research assistance.


See Bianca Freeman, D. G. Kim, and David A. Lake, “Race in International Relations: Beyond the ‘Norm against Noticing,’” Annual Review of Political Science 25 (May 2022): 175–196, https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev-polisci-051820-120746; Robbie Shilliam, “Race and Racism in International Relations: Retrieving a Scholarly Inheritance,” International Politics Reviews 8 (2020): 152–195, https://doi.org/10.1057/s41312-020-00084-9; Kelebogile Zvobgo and Meredith Loken, “Why Race Matters in International Relations,” Foreign Policy, June 19, 2020, https://foreignpolicy.com/2020/06/19/why-race-matters-international-relations-ir/.


For efficiency, I use “security scholars,” “security studies,” and “the field” as shorthand for the community studying international security in major U.S. journals, presses, and universities. I recognize that this critique does not extend to every individual within these institutions (nor to other fields and international academies).


While many security scholars agree that all politics concern power, the prominence of concepts such as “power-as-capabilities” and “hard versus soft power” has excluded other forms—including racialization—from the study of “power politics.”


Sankaran Krishna, “Race, Amnesia, and the Education of International Relations,” Alternatives 26, no. 4 (2001): 401–424, https://doi.org/10.1177/030437540102600403.


Phillip Darby and A. J. Paolini, “Bridging International Relations and Postcolonialism,” Alternatives 19, no. 3 (1994): 371–397, https://doi.org/10.1177/030437549401900304; Geeta Chowdhry and Sheila Nair, eds., Power, Postcolonialism, and International Relations: Reading Race, Gender, and Class (New York: Routledge, 2004); the entire issue of Cambridge Review of International Affairs 26, no. 1 (2013); Randolph B. Persaud and Alina Sajed, eds., Race, Gender, and Culture in International Relations: Postcolonial Perspectives (New York: Routledge, 2018); Amitav Acharya and Barry Buzan, The Making of Global International Relations: Origins and Evolution of IR at Its Centenary (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2019).


David F. Houston, Eight Years with Wilson's Cabinet, 1913 to 1920: With a Personal Estimate of the President, vol. 1 (New York: Doubleday, 1926), 229–230.


Frank A. Bauman, “The Prospects for International Law,” American Bar Association Journal 59, no. 2 (February 1973): 180.


On racialization in U.S. domestic and foreign policy by Woodrow Wilson's time, see Richard W. Maass, The Picky Eagle: How Democracy and Xenophobia Limited U.S. Territorial Expansion (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2020); Thomas Adams Upchurch, Legislating Racism: The Billion Dollar Congress and the Birth of Jim Crow (Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 2004); Stephen Skowronek, “The Reassociation of Ideas and Purposes: Racism, Liberalism, and the American Political Tradition,” American Political Science Review 100, no. 3 (2006): 385–401, https://doi.org/10.1017/S0003055406062253.


Alexander D. Barder, Global Race War: International Politics and Racial Hierarchy (New York: Oxford University Press, 2021), 2.


Howard W. French, Born in Blackness: Africa, Africans, and the Making of the Modern World, 1471 to the Second World War (New York: Liveright, 2021); Randolph B. Persaud and Narendran Kumarakulasingam, Violence and the Third World in International Relations (London: Routledge, 2020); Amitav Acharya, “Race and Racism in the Founding of the Modern World Order,” International Affairs 98, no. 1 (2022): 23–43, https://doi.org/10.1093/ia/iiab198.


Robert Vitalis, White World Order, Black Power Politics: The Birth of American International Relations (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2015); Alexander Anievas, Nivi Manchanda, and Robbie Shilliam, eds., Race and Racism in International Relations: Confronting the Global Colour Line (New York: Routledge, 2015); Jessica Blatt, Race and the Making of American Political Science (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2018); Alexander E. Davis, Vineet Thakur, and Peter Vale, The Imperial Discipline: Race and the Founding of International Relations (London: Pluto Press, 2020); Lucian M. Ashworth, “Warriors, Pacifists and Empires: Race and Racism in International Thought before 1914,” International Affairs 98, no. 1 (January 2022): 281–301, https://doi.org/10.1093/ia/iiab199.


W. E. B. Du Bois, “Black Africa Tomorrow,” Foreign Affairs 17, no. 1 (October 1938): 100–110; Leonard Harris, ed., The Philosophy of Alain Locke: Harlem Renaissance and Beyond (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1989).


Zoltán I. Búzás, “Racism and Antiracism in the Liberal International Order,” International Organization 75, no. 2 (2021): 440–463, https://doi.org/10.1017/S0020818320000521; Anthony Q. Hazard Jr., Postwar Anti-Racism: The United States, UNESCO, and “Race,” 1945–1968 (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012); Brenda Gayle Plummer, ed., Window on Freedom: Race, Civil Rights, and Foreign Affairs, 1945–1988 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2003); Thomas Borstelmann, The Cold War and the Color Line: American Race Relations in the Global Arena (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2003); Mary L. Dudziak, Cold War Civil Rights: Race and the Image of American Democracy (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2000); Azza Salama Layton, International Politics and Civil Rights Policies in the United States, 1941–1960 (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2000).


On the political strategy behind this rhetorical shift, see Anthony Cook, “The Ghosts of 1964: Race, Reagan, and the Neo-Conservative Backlash to the Civil Rights Movement,” Alabama Civil Rights & Civil Liberties Law Review 6 (2015): 88, https://www.law.ua.edu/acrcl/files/2017/04/the_ghosts_of_1964.pdf; see also Gregory S. Parks and Matthew W. Hughey, eds., The Obamas and a (Post) Racial America? (New York: Oxford University Press, 2011); Mark Ledwidge, Kevern Verney, and Inderjeet Parmar, eds., Barack Obama and the Myth of a Post-Racial America (New York: Routledge, 2013). Racism did not entirely vanish from political discourse, of course. “Yellow Peril Politics” reemerged during the 1980s amid fears of U.S. economic decline vis-à-vis Japan, for example, but politicians expressing overt racism at that time met greater condemnation than their predecessors in the press and at the polls. M. J. Heale, “Anatomy of a Scare: Yellow Peril Politics in America, 1980–1993,” Journal of American Studies 43, no. 1 (2009): 19–47, https://doi.org/10.1017/S0021875809006033.


For scholarship on race and security during the 1970s, see George W. Shepherd and Tilden J. LeMelle, eds., Race among Nations: A Conceptual Approach (Lexington, MA: Heath Lexington, 1970); James N. Rosenau, Race in International Politics: A Dialogue in Five Parts (Denver: University of Denver, 1970); Rubin Francis Weston, Racism in U.S. Imperialism: The Influence of Racial Assumptions on American Foreign Policy, 1893–1946 (Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 1972); Hugh Tinker, Race, Conflict, and the International Order: From Empire to United Nations (New York: St. Martin's Press, 1977).


This trend of excluding race from security scholarship is illustrated by seminal books such as Kenneth N. Waltz, Theory of International Politics (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1979); Robert O. Keohane, ed., Neorealism and Its Critics (New York: Columbia University Press, 1986). Exceptions include R. J. Vincent, “Race in International Relations,” International Affairs 58, no. 4 (Autumn 1982): 658–670, https://doi.org/10.2307/2618476; Paul Gordon Lauren, Power and Prejudice: The Politics and Diplomacy of Racial Discrimination (Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1988); Etienne Balibar and Immanuel Wallerstein, Race, Nation, Class: Ambiguous Identities (New York: Verso, 1991).


Alexander Wendt, “Anarchy Is What States Make of It: The Social Construction of Power Politics,” International Organization 46, no. 2 (1992): 391–425, https://doi.org/10.1017/S0020818300027764; Judith Goldstein and Robert O. Keohane, eds., Ideas and Foreign Policy: Beliefs, Institutions, and Political Change (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1993); Michael C. Williams, “Why Ideas Matter in International Relations: Hans Morgenthau, Classical Realism, and the Moral Construction of Power Politics,” International Organization 58, no. 4 (2004): 633–665, https://doi.org/10.1017/S0020818304040202.


Remarks by Sankaran Krishna and Audie Klotz in Shilliam, “Race and Racism in International Relations,” 178, 185; Audie Klotz, “The Power of Prejudice: The Race Gap in Constructivist International Relations Scholarship,” in Mariano E. Bertucci, Jarrod Hayes, and Patrick James, eds., Constructivism Reconsidered: Past, Present, and Future (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2018), 87–102.


Barder, Global Race War, chaps. 4–6.


Zoltán I. Búzás, “The Color of Threat: Race, Threat Perception, and the Demise of the Anglo-Japanese Alliance (1902–1923),” Security Studies 22, no. 4 (2013): 573–606, https://doi.org/10.1080/09636412.2013.844514; Greg Robinson, By Order of the President: FDR and the Internment of Japanese Americans (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2001).


Dale C. Copeland, The Origins of Major War (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2000), 119–120; Stephen Van Evera, Causes of War: Power and the Roots of Conflict (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1999); Keir A. Lieber, “The New History of World War I and What It Means for International Relations Theory,” International Security 32, no. 2 (Fall 2007): 155–191, https://doi.org/10.1162/isec.2007.32.2.155; Robert Jervis, “Rational Deterrence: Theory and Evidence,” World Politics 41, no. 2 (1989): 183–207, https://doi.org/10.2307/2010407.


Srdjan Vucetic advocates for a similar focus based on scholarship by philosophers of race. Vucetic, “Black Banker, White Banker: Philosophies of the Global Colour Line,” Cambridge Review of International Affairs 26, no. 1 (2013): 27–48, https://doi.org/10.1080/09557571.2012.734783.


Tukufu Zuberi and Eduardo Bonilla-Silva, eds., White Logic, White Methods: Racism and Methodology (Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield, 2008), 7; see also Michael Omi and Howard Winant, Racial Formation in the United States, 3rd ed. (New York: Routledge, 2015), 110; Joshua Glasgow, A Theory of Race (New York: Routledge, 2008); Ronald R. Sundstrom, “Race as a Human Kind,” Philosophy & Social Criticism 28, no. 1 (2002): 91–115, https://doi.org/10.1177/0191453702028001592.


Michael Banton, Racial Theories, 2nd ed. (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1998), 4–5. See also Vucetic, “Black Banker, White Banker,” 31.


Michael Weiner, ed., Routledge Handbook of Race and Ethnicity in Asia (New York: Routledge, 2022); Audrey Smedley and Brian D. Smedley, Race in North America: Origin and Evolution of a Worldview, 4th ed. (Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 2012); Barbara Bush, Imperialism, Race and Resistance: Africa and Britain, 1919–1945 (New York: Routledge, 1999); Peter Wade, Race and Ethnicity in Latin America (Sterling, VA: Pluto Press, 1997).


John P. Jackson Jr. and Nadine M. Weidman, Race, Racism, and Science: Social Impact and Interaction (New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 2005), 29–30; see also 39–45; Charles W. Mills, The Racial Contract (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1997); Acharya, “Race and Racism in the Founding.”


Ali Rattansi, Racism: A Very Short Introduction (New York: Oxford University Press, 2020), 36. On anthropologist Franz Boas's work to discredit evolutionary theories of racial hierarchy, see Errol A. Henderson, “Hidden in Plain Sight: Racism in International Relations Theory,” Cambridge Review of International Affairs 26, no. 1 (2013): 71–92, https://doi.org/10.1080/09557571.2012.710585; John M. Hobson, “Re-embedding the Global Colour Line within Post-1945 International Theory,” in Anievas, Manchanda, and Shilliam, Race and Racism in International Relations, 81–82.


Roxanne Lynn Doty, “The Bounds of ‘Race’ in International Relations,” Millennium 22, no. 3 (1993): 450, https://doi.org/10.1177/03058298930220031001; see also W. E. B. Du Bois, Dusk of Dawn: An Essay toward an Autobiography of a Race Concept (New York: Oxford University Press, 2007), 59.


Debra Thompson, “Through, against, and beyond the Racial State: The Transnational Stratum of Race,” Cambridge Review of International Affairs 26, no. 1 (2013): 139, https://doi.org/10.1080/09557571.2012.762898.


Edward E. Telles, Race in Another America: The Significance of Skin Color in Brazil (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2004), 4; see also Nicholas B. Dirks, Castes of Mind: Colonialism and the Making of Modern India (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2011), 210, 225; Anthony W. Marx, Making Race and Nation: A Comparison of the South Africa, the United States, and Brazil (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1998).


Frederick Douglass, “The Color Line,” North American Review 132, no. 295 (1881): 567–577, https://www.jstor.org/stable/25100970; W. E. B. Du Bois, The Souls of Black Folk (1903; repr., New York: Bantam, 1989); Theodore W. Allen, The Invention of the White Race, vol. 2, The Origin of Racial Oppression in Anglo-America (New York: Verso, 2012).


Bruce Baum, The Rise and Fall of the Caucasian Race: A Political History of Racial Identity (New York: New York University Press, 2006).


Mark L. Haas, The Ideological Origins of Great Power Politics, 1789–1989 (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2007); Monica Duffy Toft, Daniel Philpott, and Timothy Samuel Shah, God's Century: Resurgent Religion and Global Politics (New York: W. W. Norton, 2011); Peter J. Katzenstein, ed., The Culture of National Security: Norms and Identity in World Politics (New York: Columbia University Press, 1996).


Doty, “Bounds of ‘Race,’” 452–454; Frantz Fanon, The Wretched of the Earth, trans. Richard Philcox (New York: Grove Press, 2004), 150.


Thompson, “Through, against, and beyond the Racial State.”


Tomohito Baji, “Colonial Policy Studies in Japan: Racial Visions of Nan'yo, or the Early Creation of a Global South,” International Affairs 98, no. 1 (January 2022): 165–182, https://doi.org/10.1093/ia/iiab207; Ibram X. Kendi, Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America (New York: PublicAffairs, 2016); Maass, The Picky Eagle, chap. 4.


Robbie Shilliam, “Race and Research Agendas,” Cambridge Review of International Affairs 26, no. 1 (2013): 154, https://doi.org/10.1080/09557571.2013.770298.


Omi and Winant, Racial Formation in the United States, 111.


Búzás, “The Color of Threat,” 580; see also Tilden J. Le Melle, “Race in International Relations,” International Studies Perspectives 10, no. 1 (February 2009): 77, https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1528-3585.2008.00359.x; Sally Haslanger, Resisting Reality: Social Construction and Social Critique (New York: Oxford University Press, 2012), 236–237; David Theo Goldberg, “The Semantics of Race,” Ethnic and Racial Studies 15, no. 4 (1992): 543–569, https://doi.org/10.1080/01419870.1992.9993763.


Gender reflects another key dimension of this power question, involving similarly essentializing and socially imposed norms. Feminist scholars note that racialization often interweaves with gender via the “feminizing” of racial others; see Anne Mcclintock, Imperial Leather: Race, Gender, and Sexuality in the Colonial Contest (New York: Routledge, 1995), 44; Nicola Pratt, “Reconceptualizing Gender, Reinscribing Racial-Sexual Boundaries in International Security: The Case of UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on ‘Women, Peace and Security,’” International Studies Quarterly 57, no. 4 (December 2013): 772–783, https://doi.org/10.1111/isqu.12032.


Doty, “Bounds of ‘Race,’” 455, 453; see also Adam Hochman, “Racialization: A Defense of the Concept,” Ethnic and Racial Studies 42, no. 8 (2019): 1245–1262, https://doi.org/10.1080/01419870.2018.1527937.


Philip Kitcher, “Does ‘Race’ Have a Future?,” Philosophy and Public Affairs 35, no. 4 (Fall 2007): 293–317, https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1088-4963.2007.00115.x.


As discussed previously, this perspective prevailed within security studies from the 1980s to the first decade of the 2000s.


Helen A. Neville, Miguel E. Gallardo, and Derald W. Sue, eds., The Myth of Racial Color Blindness: Manifestations, Dynamics, and Impact (Washington, DC: American Psychological Association, 2016), https://doi.org/10.1037/14754-000; W. J. T. Mitchell, Seeing through Race (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2012), 19–20; Eduardo Bonilla-Silva, Racism without Racists: Color-Blind Racism and the Persistence of Racial Inequality in the United States, 2nd ed. (Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield, 2006).


The phrasing that I use in this sentence invokes Marc Trachtenberg's approach to international relations theory and diplomatic history: “Those italicized terms are a tip-off … an engine of analysis” that “helps you see which specific questions to focus on [italics in original].” Marc Trachtenberg, The Craft of International History: A Guide to Method (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2006), 32.


John P. Jackson Jr. and Nadine M. Weidman, “The Origins of Scientific Racism,” Journal of Blacks in Higher Education 50 (Winter 2005/06): 66–79, http://www.jstor.com/stable/25073379; Elazar Barkan, The Retreat of Scientific Racism: Changing Concepts of Race in Britain and the United States between the World Wars (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1992).


Angela James, “Making Sense of Race and Racial Classification,” in Zuberi and Bonilla-Silva, White Logic, White Methods, 43; Doty, “Bounds of ‘Race,’” 450.


Stephen Van Evera, Guide to Methods for Students of Political Science (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1997), 19.


Kimberle Crenshaw, “Demarginalizing the Intersection of Race and Sex: A Black Feminist Critique of Antidiscrimination Doctrine, Feminist Theory and Antiracist Politics,” University of Chicago Legal Forum 1, art. 8 (1989): 139–167, http://chicagounbound.uchicago.edu/uclf/vol1989/iss1/8.


For example, the domestic jurisdiction protections in Chapter 1, Article 2(7) of the United Nations Charter shielded white supremacist institutions in Australia, South Africa, the United States, and elsewhere: Lauren, Power and Prejudice, 158–160; Mark M. Mazower, No Enchanted Palace: The End of Empire and the Ideological Origins of the United Nations (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2009), 25; Búzás, “Racism and Antiracism,” 11–13; see also Paul Musgrave, “International Hegemony Meets Domestic Politics: Why Liberals Can Be Pessimists,” Security Studies 28, no. 3 (2019): 451–478, https://doi.org/10.1080/09636412.2019.1604983.


See Freeman, Kim, and Lake, “Race in International Relations,” 180–181.


Branwen Gruffydd Jones, “Race in the Ontology of International Order,” Political Studies 56, no. 4 (2008): 909–911, https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-9248.2007.00710.x; Vucetic, “Black Banker, White Banker,” 31.


James Mahoney, “Process Tracing and Historical Explanation,” Security Studies 24, no. 2 (2015): 211, https://doi.org/10.1080/09636412.2015.1036610.


James Mahoney and Dietrich Rueschemeyer, Comparative Historical Analysis in the Social Sciences (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2003); Zawadi Rucks-Ahidiana and Ariel H. Bierbaum, “Qualitative Spaces: Integrating Spatial Analysis for a Mixed Methods Approach,” International Journal of Qualitative Methods 14, no. 2 (2015): 92–103, https://doi.org/10.1177/160940691501400208; Innocent Chiluwa, Discourse Analysis and Conflict Studies (London: SAGE, 2019); Lisa Wedeen, “Reflections on Ethnographic Work in Political Science,” Annual Review of Political Science 13 (2010): 255–272, https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev.polisci.11.052706.123951.


Freeman, Kim, and Lake, “Race in International Relations,” 187–190.


Paul W. Holland candidly argues that “race is not a causal variable” in Holland, “Causation and Race,” in Zuberi and Bonilla-Silva, White Logic, White Methods, 109.


Eduardo Bonilla-Silva and Tukufu Zuberi, “Toward a Definition of White Logic and White Methods,” in Zuberi and Bonilla-Silva, White Logic, White Methods, 6; see also Andrew S. Rosenberg, “Measuring Racial Bias in International Migration Flows,” International Studies Quarterly 63, no. 4 (December 2019): 841, https://doi.org/10.1093/isq/sqz039.


For example, Christopher Winship and Bruce Western, “Multicollinearity and Model Misspecification,” Sociological Science 3, no. 30 (2016): 627–649, https://doi.org/10.15195/v3.a27; S. McKay Curtis and Sujit K. Ghosh, “A Bayesian Approach to Multicollinearity and the Simultaneous Selection and Clustering of Predictors in Linear Regression,” Journal of Statistical Theory and Practice 5, no. 4 (2011): 715–735, https://doi.org/10.1080/15598608.2011.10483741.


While the racialization literature cited throughout these sections is broader than any previously assembled from the perspective of the field of international security, it remains a fraction of what exists and inevitably overrepresents my own areas of expertise, particularly U.S. foreign policy. Rather than judge the relative national significance of racialization on the basis of these examples, readers should consider them springboards for further research (including across diverse comparative contexts).


Robert Jervis, Perception and Misperception in International Politics (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1976); David L. Rousseau, Identifying Threats and Threatening Identities: The Social Construction of Realism and Liberalism (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2006); Janice Gross Stein, “Threat Perception in International Relations,” in Leonie Huddy, David O. Sears, and Jack S. Levy, eds., The Oxford Handbook of Political Psychology, 2nd ed. (New York: Oxford University Press, 2013), 364–394.


Búzás, “The Color of Threat,” 586–601; Steven Ward, “Race, Status, and Japanese Revisionism in the Early 1930s,” Security Studies 22, no. 4 (2013): 607–639, https://doi.org/10.1080/09636412.2013.844517; Erik Love, Islamophobia and Racism in America (New York: NYU Press, 2017); Louise Cainkar and Saher Selod, “Review of Race Scholarship and the War on Terror,” Sociology of Race and Ethnicity 4, no. 2 (2018): 165–177, https://doi.org/10.1177/2332649218762808.


John W. Dower, Cultures of War: Pearl Harbor/Hiroshima/9-11/Iraq (New York: W. W. Norton, 2010), 43; see also Caesar Nafrada and Joseph Caddell, “‘Never Thought They Could Pull Off Such an Attack’: Prejudice and Pearl Harbor,” War on the Rocks, December 7, 2021, https://warontherocks.com/2021/12/never-thought-they-could-pull-off-such-an-attack-prejudice-and-pearl-harbor/.


Ian Black and Benny Morris, Israel's Secret Wars: A History of Israel's Intelligence Services (New York: Grove, 1991), 291.


Richard W. Maass, “U.S. Foreign Policy Was Once All about Race. If the U.S. Isn't Careful, Race May Come Back,” Monkey Cage (blog), Washington Post, September 23, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2021/09/23/us-foreign-policy-was-once-all-about-race-if-us-isnt-careful-race-may-come-back/; see also Kai Quek and Alastair Iain Johnston, “Can China Back Down? Crisis De-escalation in the Shadow of Popular Opposition,” International Security 42, no. 3 (Winter 2017/2018): 7–36, https://doi.org/10.1162/ISEC_a_00303; David C. Logan, “The Nuclear Balance Is What States Make of It,” International Security 46, no. 4 (Spring 2022): 172–215, https://doi.org/10.1162/isec_a_00434; C. William Walldorf Jr., “Narratives and War: Explaining the Length and End of U.S. Military Operations in Afghanistan,” International Security 47, no. 1 (Summer 2022): 93–138, https://doi.org/10.1162/isec_a_00439.


Haas, Ideological Origins of Great Power Politics; Michael C. Desch, “America's Liberal Illiberalism: The Ideological Origins of Overreaction in U.S. Foreign Policy,” International Security 32, no. 3 (Winter 2007/2008): 7–43, https://doi.org/10.1162/isec.2008.32.3.7; John M. Owen IV, The Clash of Ideas in World Politics: Transnational Networks, States, and Regime Change, 1510–2010 (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2010).


Andrew Crosby, “The Racialized Logics of Settler Colonial Policing: Indigenous ‘Communities of Concern’ and Critical Infrastructure in Canada,” Settler Colonial Studies 11, no. 4 (2021): 411–430, https://doi.org/10.1080/2201473X.2021.1884426; Nivi Manchanda, Imagining Afghanistan: The History and Politics of Imperial Knowledge (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2020), https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108867986.


Robbie Shilliam, “Race and Revolution at Bwa Kayiman,” Millennium 45, no. 3 (2017): 269–292, https://doi.org/10.1177/0305829817693692; Jeffrey Sommers, Race, Reality, and Realpolitik: U.S.-Haiti Relations in the Lead Up to the 1915 Occupation (Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2016); Stephen Pampinella, “‘The Way of Progress and Civilization’: Racial Hierarchy and U.S. State Building in Haiti and the Dominican Republic (1915–1922),” Journal of Global Security Studies 6, no. 3 (September 2021): ogaa050, https://doi.org/10.1093/jogss/ogaa050; Matthew Karp, “Grand Strategy of the Master Class: Slavery and Foreign Policy from the Antebellum Era to the Civil War,” in Elizabeth Borgwardt, Christopher McKnight Nichols, and Andrew Preston, eds., Rethinking American Grand Strategy (New York: Oxford University Press, 2021), 106–122.


Philip Bump, “The GOP's Hispanic Problem Will Grow Whether or Not Trump's Citizenship Warning Becomes Reality,” Washington Post, September 11, 2016, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2016/09/11/the-gops-hispanic-problem-will-grow-whether-or-not-trumps-citizenship-warning-becomes-reality/; see also Randolph B. Persaud, “Situating Race in International Relations: The Dialectics of Civilizational Security in American Immigration,” in Chowdhry and Nair, Power, Postcolonialism, and International Relations, 56–81.


U.S. President, Proclamation, “Declaring a National Emergency Concerning the Southern Border of the United States,” Federal Register 84, no. 4949 (February 15, 2019): 4949–4950, https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2019/02/20/2019-03011/declaring-a-national-emergency-concerning-the-southern-border-of-the-united-states.


Ariane Chebel d'Appollonia, Frontiers of Fear: Immigration and Insecurity in the United States and Europe (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2012); Harriet Gray and Anja K. Franck, “Refugees as/at Risk: The Gendered and Racialized Underpinnings of Securitization in British Media Narratives,” Security Dialogue 50, no. 3 (2019): 275–291, https://doi.org/10.1177/0967010619830590; cf. Sarah Bertrand, “Can the Subaltern Securitize? Postcolonial Perspectives on Securitization Theory and Its Critics,” European Journal of International Security 3, no. 3 (2018): 281–299, https://doi.org/10.1017/eis.2018.3. While securitization and racialization both shape threat perception, securitization need not always involve racialization, and racialization may shape various security-related phenomena either without or parallel to public securitization.


Matthew Jones, After Hiroshima: The United States, Race, and Nuclear Weapons in Asia, 1945–1965 (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2010), 444. On Asian views regarding race and the atomic bombing of Japan, see Andrew W. Cordier and Max Harrelson, eds., Public Papers of the Secretaries General of the United Nations, vol. 6 (New York: Columbia University Press, 1976), 591–592.


Audie Klotz, “Transnational Activism and Global Transformations: The Anti-Apartheid and Abolitionist Experiences,” European Journal of International Relations 8, no. 1 (2002): 49–76, https://doi.org/10.1177/1354066102008001002; Audie Klotz, Norms in International Relations: The Struggle against Apartheid (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1999); Audie Klotz, “Norms Reconstituting Interests: Global Racial Equality and U.S. Sanctions against South Africa,” International Organization 49, no. 3 (Summer 1995): 451–478, https://doi.org/10.1017/S0020818300033348.


Quote from Senator Stephen White in Maass, The Picky Eagle, 192; see also Eric T. L. Love, Race over Empire: Racism and U.S. Imperialism, 1865–1900 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2004). Woodrow Wilson captured this perspective in describing self-government as “a form of character and not a form of constitution.” Woodrow Wilson quoted in Sommers, Race, Reality, and Realpolitik, 101.


Barder, Global Race War; Adom Getachew, Worldmaking after Empire: The Rise and Fall of Self-Determination (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2019); Duncan Bell, Dreamworlds of Race: Empire and the Utopian Destiny of Anglo-America (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2020).


John W. Dower, War without Mercy: Race and Power in the Pacific War (New York: Pantheon Books, 1986); see also David Livingstone Smith, On Inhumanity: Dehumanization and How to Resist It (New York: Oxford University Press, 2020); John Hagan and Wenona Rymond-Richmond, “The Collective Dynamics of Racial Dehumanization and Genocidal Violence in Darfur,” American Sociological Review 73, no. 6 (2008): 875–902, https://doi.org/10.1177/000312240807300601; Martha Finnemore, The Purpose of Intervention: Changing Beliefs about the Use of Force (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2003), 53.


Paul R. Greenough, Prosperity and Misery in Modern Bengal: The Famine of 1943–44 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1982), 309; Mariam Georgis and Riva Gewarges, “Violence on Iraqi Bodies: Decolonising Economic Sanctions in Security Studies,” Third World Quarterly 40, no. 2 (2019): 317–336, https://doi.org/10.1080/01436597.2018.1541735; Neta C. Crawford, Accountability for Killing: Moral Responsibility for Collateral Damage in America's Post-9/11 Wars (New York: Oxford University Press, 2013).


Uday Singh Mehta, Liberalism and Empire: A Study in Nineteenth-Century British Liberal Thought (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1999); Jeanne Morefield, Covenants without Swords: Idealist Liberalism and the Spirit of Empire (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2005); Jennifer Pitts, A Turn to Empire: The Rise of Imperial Liberalism in Britain and France (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2005); Patrick Brantlinger, Taming Cannibals: Race and the Victorians (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2011).


Devorah Manekin and Tamar Mitts, “Effective for Whom? Ethnic Identity and Nonviolent Resistance,” American Political Science Review 116, no. 1 (2022): 161–180, https://doi.org/10.1017/S0003055421000940; see also Anna A. Meier, “The Idea of Terror: Institutional Reproduction in Government Responses to Political Violence,” International Studies Quarterly 64, no. 3 (September 2020): 499–509, https://doi.org/10.1093/isq/sqaa034; Kathleen Belew, Bring the War Home: The White Power Movement and Paramilitary America (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2018).


Alvin B. Tillery, Between Homeland and Motherland: Africa, U.S. Foreign Policy, and Black Leadership in America (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2011); Lucy E. Salyer, “Baptism by Fire: Race, Military Service, and U.S. Citizenship Policy, 1918–1935,” Journal of American History 91, no. 3 (December 2004): 847–876, https://doi.org/10.2307/3662858; Gary Gerstle, American Crucible: Race and Nation in the Twentieth Century (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2001); Rogers M. Smith, Civic Ideals: Conflicting Visions of Citizenship in U.S. History (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1999).


Jason Lyall, Divided Armies: Inequality and Battlefield Performance in Modern War (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2020); see also James Burk and Evelyn Espinoza, “Race Relations within the U.S. Military,” Annual Review of Sociology 38, no. 1 (2012): 401–422, https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev-soc-071811-145501; Sheila Nataraj Kirby, Margaret C. Harrell, and Jennifer Sloan, “Why Don't Minorities Join Special Operations Forces?,” Armed Forces & Society 26, no. 4 (July 2000): 523–545, https://doi.org/10.1177/0095327X0002600402.


Amal Abu-Bakare, “Why Race Matters: Examining ‘Terrorism’ through Race in International Relations,” E-International Relations, May 9, 2017, https://www.e-ir.info/2017/05/09/why-race-matters-examining-terrorism-through-race-in-international-relations/; Stephen M. Saideman and R. William Ayres, For Kin or Country: Xenophobia, Nationalism, and War (New York: Columbia University Press, 2008); Rosenberg, “Measuring Racial Bias”; Charles King and Neil J. Melvin, “Diaspora Politics: Ethnic Linkages, Foreign Policy, and Security in Eurasia,” International Security 24, no. 3 (Winter 1999/2000): 108–138, https://doi.org/10.1162/016228899560257.


Jutta Weldes, “Constructing National Interests,” European Journal of International Relations 2, no. 3 (1996): 284–289, https://doi.org/10.1177/1354066196002003001; Eteri Tsintsadze-Maass, “The Social Construction of Survival” (paper presented at the Association for Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies 54th Annual Convention, Chicago, IL, November 10–13, 2022).


Jones, “Race in the Ontology of International Order,” 916; see also Bonilla-Silva, Racism without Racists.


Olukunle P. Owolabi, Ruling Emancipated Slaves and Indigenous Subjects: The Divergent Legacies of Forced Settlement and Colonial Occupation in the Global South (New York: Oxford University Press, 2023); James Mahoney, Colonialism and Postcolonial Development: Spanish America in Comparative Perspective (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2010); B. N. Ghosh, Dependency Theory Revisited (New York: Routledge, 2019); Pippa Norris, Digital Divide: Civic Engagement, Information Poverty, and the Internet Worldwide (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2001).


Marc Trachtenberg, “Intervention in Historical Perspective,” in Laura W. Reed and Carl Kaysen, eds., Emerging Norms of Justified Intervention (Cambridge, MA: American Academy of Arts and Sciences, 1993), 24; see also Pratt, “Reconceptualizing Gender”; Sherene H. Razack, Dark Threats and White Knights: The Somalia Affair, Peacekeeping, and the New Imperialism (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2004); George White Jr., Holding the Line: Race, Racism, and American Foreign Policy toward Africa, 1953–1961 (Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield, 2005).


Andy Baker, “Race, Paternalism, and Foreign Aid: Evidence from U.S. Public Opinion,” American Political Science Review 109, no. 1 (2015): 93–109, https://doi.org/10.1017/S0003055414000549; Brian C. Rathbun, Trust in International Cooperation: International Security Institutions, Domestic Politics, and American Multilateralism (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2012); Melinda Haas and Keren Yarhi-Milo, “To Disclose or Deceive? Sharing Secret Information between Aligned States,” International Security 45, no. 3 (Winter 2020/21): 122–261, https://doi.org/10.1162/isec_a_00402. To be clear, overt racialization can also shape diplomacy publicly and behind the scenes; see Tim Naftali, “Ronald Reagan's Long-Hidden Racist Conversation with Richard Nixon,” Atlantic, July 30, 2019, https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2019/07/ronald-reagans-racist-conversation-richard-nixon/595102/.


Christopher Hemmer and Peter J. Katzenstein, “Why Is There No NATO in Asia? Collective Identity, Regionalism, and the Origins of Multilateralism,” International Organization 56, no. 3 (2002): 575–607, https://doi.org/10.1162/002081802760199890; Naoko Shibusawa, America's Geisha Ally: Reimagining the Japanese Enemy (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2006); Srdjan Vucetic, The Anglosphere: A Genealogy of a Racialized Identity in International Relations (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2011), chap. 3. Despite attributing bilateralism in U.S.-Asian alliances more to entrapment fears, Victor Cha similarly accepts that racism “fed deep-seeded feelings of Asians as distrustful partners,” driving policymakers to prioritize Western Europe over Asia. See Victor D. Cha, Powerplay: The Origins of the American Alliance System in Asia (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2016), 17.


Stuart Anderson, Race and Rapprochement: Anglo-Saxonism and Anglo-American Relations, 1895–1904 (Rutherford, NJ: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 1981); David M. Edelstein, Over the Horizon: Time, Uncertainty, and the Rise of Great Powers (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2017), chap. 3; Bell, Dreamworlds of Race; Marylin Lake and Henry Reynolds, Drawing the Global Colour Line: White Men's Countries and the Question of Racial Equality (Melbourne, Australia: Melbourne University Press, 2008).


Jennifer Pitts, Boundaries of the International: Law and Empire (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2018), 2; see also Lauren Benton and Lisa Ford, Rage for Order: The British Empire and the Origins of International Law, 1800–1850 (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2016).


For example, despite its long history of European interactions, the Ottoman Empire was denied full membership in the European state system. See Mostafa Minawi, “International Law and the Precarity of Ottoman Sovereignty in Africa at the End of the Nineteenth Century,” International History Review 43, no. 5 (2021): 1098–1121, https://doi.org/10.1080/07075332.2020.1765837; Siba N'Zatioula Grovogui, Sovereigns, Quasi Sovereigns, and Africans: Race and Self-Determination in International Law (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1996); Antony Anghie, “Finding the Peripheries: Sovereignty and Colonialism in Nineteenth-Century International Law,” Harvard International Law Journal 40, no. 1 (Winter 1999): 1–71.


Martti Koskenniemi, The Gentle Civilizer of Nations: The Rise and Fall of International Law 1870–1960 (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2001); Antony Anghie, Imperialism, Sovereignty and the Making of International Law (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2005); Lauren, Power and Prejudice; Gerry Simpson, Great Powers and Outlaw States: Unequal Sovereigns in the International Legal Order (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2004); Shogo Suzuki, Civilization and Empire: China and Japan's Encounter with European International Society (New York: Routledge, 2009).


Robin Blackburn, The Making of New World Slavery: From the Baroque to the Modern, 1492–1800 (New York: Verso, 1997); Antony T. Anghie, “Colonialism and the Birth of International Institutions: Sovereignty, Economy, and the Mandate System of the League of Nations,” New York University Journal of International Law and Politics 34, no. 3 (Spring 2002): 513–563; S. James Anaya, Indigenous Peoples in International Law, 2nd ed. (New York: Oxford University Press, 2004).


Benjamin Rhode, “Living and Dying Nations and the Age of COVID-19,” Survival 62, no. 5 (2020): 225; see also Saliha Belmessous, ed., Empire by Treaty: Negotiating European Expansion, 1600–1900 (New York: Oxford University Press, 2015); Cheryl I. Harris, “Whiteness as Property,” Harvard Law Review 106, no. 8 (June 1993): 1707–1791.


G. John Ikenberry, Liberal Leviathan: The Origins, Crisis, and Transformation of the American World Order (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2012); Patrick Porter, The False Promise of Liberal Order: Nostalgia, Delusion and the Rise of Trump (Medford, MA: Polity, 2020).


See Lucrecia García Iommi and Richard W. Maass, eds., The United States and International Law: Paradoxes of Support across Contemporary Issues (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2022).


Kyle M. Lascurettes, Orders of Exclusion: Great Powers and the Strategic Sources of Foundational Rules in International Relations (New York: Oxford University Press, 2020); Lora Anne Viola, The Closure of the International System: How Institutions Create Political Equalities and Hierarchies (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2020), https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108612562; Alexander Cooley and Daniel Nexon, Exit From Hegemony: The Unraveling of the American Global Order (New York: Oxford University Press, 2020), 37.


Randolph B. Persaud, Counter-Hegemony and Foreign Policy: The Dialectics of Marginalized and Global Forces in Jamaica (Albany: State University of New York Press, 2001); Getachew, Worldmaking after Empire; L. H. M. Ling, “Cultural Chauvinism and the Liberal International Order: ‘West versus Rest’ in Asia's Financial Crisis,” in Chowdhry and Nair, Power, Postcolonialism and International Relations, 115–141; Inderjeet Parmar, “The U.S.-Led Liberal Order: Imperialism by Another Name?,” International Affairs 94, no. 1 (January 2018): 151–172, https://doi.org/10.1093/ia/iix240.


Zoltán I. Búzás, Evading International Norms: Race and Rights in the Shadow of Legality (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2021); Zoltán I. Búzás, “Is the Good News about Law Compliance Good News about Norm Compliance? The Case of Racial Equality,” International Organization 72, no. 2 (2018): 351–385, https://doi.org/10.1017/S0020818318000024; Natsu Taylor Saito, Meeting the Enemy: American Exceptionalism and International Law (New York: New York University Press, 2010), chap. 2.


Mohamed Sesay, Domination through Law: The Internationalization of Legal Norms in Postcolonial Africa (Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield, 2021); Rose Parfitt, The Process of International Legal Reproduction: Inequality, Historiography, Resistance (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2019).


Goldstein and Keohane, Ideas and Foreign Policy, 8.


Vitalis, White World Order; Blatt, Race and the Making; Davis, Thakur, and Vale, The Imperial Discipline.


Duncan Bell, “Race and International Relations: Introduction,” Cambridge Review of International Affairs 26, no. 1 (2013): 1, https://doi.org/10.1080/09557571.2013.770297; cf. Jones, “Race in the Ontology of International Order.”


Randolph B. Persaud and Narendran Kumarakulasingam, “Violence and Ordering of the Third World: An Introduction,” Third World Quarterly 40, no. 2 (2019): 201, https://doi.org/10.1080/01436597.2019.1578646.


Henderson, “Hidden in Plain Sight,” 72.


Vitalis, White World Order, 57; see also Henderson, “Hidden in Plain Sight.”


Whereas I focus on security studies in the United States, Nikolay Zakharov has described “a genuine renaissance in Russia of ‘scientific’ racism.” Zakharov, Race and Racism in Russia (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2015), 1.


John Coakley, “‘Primordialism’ in Nationalism Studies: Theory or Ideology?,” Nations and Nationalism 24, no. 2 (April 2018): 327–347, https://doi.org/10.1111/nana.12349; Rogers Brubaker, “Ethnicity, Race, and Nationalism,” Annual Review of Sociology 35 (2009): 21–42, https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev-soc-070308-115916.


John M. Hobson, “The Clash of Civilizations 2.0: Race and Eurocentrism, Imperialism, and Anti-Imperialism,” in Mahmoud Eid and Karim H. Karim, eds., Re-Imagining the Other: Culture, Media, and Western-Muslim Intersections (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2014), 75–97; Barder, Global Race War, chap. 8; Paul Musgrave et al., “H-Diplo/ISSF Teaching Roundtable 11-6 on The Clash of Civilizations in the IR Classroom,” H-Diplo, November 6, 2019, https://networks.h-net.org/node/28443/discussions/5273269/h-diploissf-teaching-roundtable-11-6-clash-civilizations-ir.


Elif Kalaycioglu, Lina Benabdallah, and Oumar Ba, “Calling Ukrainian Refugees More ‘Civilized’ than Syrians Requires Willful Amnesia,” Monkey Cage (blog), Washington Post, March 22, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2022/03/22/calling-ukrainian-refugees-more-civilized-than-syrians-requires-willful-amnesia/.


See also Matthew Mendez Garcia and Ange-Marie Hancock Alfaro, “Where Do We Begin? Preliminary Thoughts on Racial and Ethnic Diversity within Political Science,” PS: Political Science & Politics 54, no. 1 (2021): 142, https://doi.org/10.1017/S1049096520001183; Rebecca A. Reid and Todd A. Curry, “Are We There Yet? Addressing Diversity in Political Science Subfields,” PS: Political Science and Politics 52, no. 2 (April 2019): 285, https://doi.org/10.1017/S1049096518002068.


Jessica Lavariega Monforti and Melissa R. Michelson, “Diagnosing the Leaky Pipeline: Continuing Barriers to the Retention of Latinas and Latinos in Political Science,” PS: Political Science & Politics 41, no. 1 (2008): 161–66, https://doi.org/10.1017/S1049096508080232; Sara Wallace Goodman and Thomas B. Pepinsky, “Gender Representation and Strategies for Panel Diversity: Lessons from the APSA Annual Meeting,” PS: Political Science & Politics 52, no. 4 (2019): 669–676, https://doi.org/10.1017/S1049096519000908.


Daniel Maliniak et al., “Is International Relations a Global Discipline? Hegemony, Insularity, and Diversity in the Field,” Security Studies 27, no. 3 (2018): 477, https://doi.org/10.1080/09636412.2017.1416824; see also Christine Cheng and Alison Brettle, “How Cognitive Frameworks Shape the American Approach to International Relations and Security Studies,” Journal of Global Security Studies 4, no. 3 (July 2019): 321–344, https://doi.org/10.1093/jogss/ogz026; Dov H. Levin and Robert F. Trager, “Things You Can See from There You Can't See from Here: Blind Spots in the American Perspective in IR and Their Effects,” Journal of Global Security Studies 4, no. 3 (July 2019): 345–357, https://doi.org/10.1093/jogss/ogz021; Brett Ashley Leeds et al., “Forum: Power Politics and International Relations Studies,” International Studies Review 21, no. 2 (June 2019): 201–209, https://doi.org/10.1093/isr/viz016; Acharya and Buzan, The Making of Global International Relations.


Jack L. Amoureux and Brent J. Steele., eds., Reflexivity and International Relations: Positionality, Critique, and Practice (London: Routledge, 2016); David A. Lake, “White Man's IR: An Intellectual Confession,” Perspectives on Politics 14, no. 4 (2016): 1112–1122, https://doi.org/10.1017/S153759271600308X.


Branwen Gruffydd Jones, ed., Decolonizing International Relations (Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield, 2006); Lucy Taylor, “Decolonizing International Relations: Perspectives from Latin America,” International Studies Review 14, no. 3 (September 2012): 386–400, https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1468-2486.2012.01125.x; Meera Sabaratnam, Decolonising Intervention: International Statebuilding in Mozambique (Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield, 2017); Robbie Shilliam, Decolonizing Politics: An Introduction (Medford, MA: Polity, 2021).


Arnold Wolfers, “‘National Security’ as an Ambiguous Symbol,” Political Science Quarterly 67, no. 4 (December 1952): 482, 498–499.


Securitization theory has posed such questions for decades, sometimes, but not always, engaging racialization. See d'Appollonia, Frontiers of Fear; Gray and Franck, “Refugees as/at Risk”; Bertrand, “Can the Subaltern Securitize?” A controversial critique provoked much discussion related to embedded racialization and how scholars should address it; see Ole Wæver and Barry Buzan, Racism, Reading and Responsibility: Securitization Theory, Systemic Racism in Security Studies and Methodologies for Excavating Foundational Flaws in Theories (Copenhagen: Centre for Resolution of International Conflicts, University of Copenhagen, 2020), https://cric.ku.dk/publications/racismreply/racism_response_webdoc_15may2020.pdf.


Valerie M. Hudson et al., “The Heart of the Matter: The Security of Women and the Security of States,” International Security 33, no. 3 (Winter 2008/09): 7–45, https://doi.org/10.1162/isec.2009.33.3.7; Dara Kay Cohen and Sabrina M. Karim, “Does More Equality for Women Mean Less War? Rethinking Sex and Gender Inequality and Political Violence,” International Organization 76, no. 2 (2022): 414–444, https://doi.org/10.1017/S0020818321000333; Joslyn N. Barnhart and Robert F. Trager, The Suffragist Peace: How Women Shape the Politics of War (New York: Oxford University Press, 2023).


Lars Schoultz, Beneath the United States: A History of U.S. Policy toward Latin America (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1998); Robert Vitalis, America's Kingdom: Mythmaking on the Saudi Oil Frontier (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2006); Sankaran Krishna, “Colonial Legacies and Contemporary Destitution: Law, Race, and Human Security,” Alternatives 40, no. 2 (2015): 85–101, https://doi.org/10.1177/0304375415590909.


Oli Brown, Anne Hammill, and Robert McLeman, “Climate Change as the ‘New’ Security Threat: Implications for Africa,” International Affairs 83, no. 6 (November 2007): 1141–1154, https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1468-2346.2007.00678.x; Rebecca Tsosie, “Indigenous People and Environmental Justice: The Impact of Climate Change,” University of Colorado Law Review 78 (2007): 1625–1677, https://ssrn.com/abstract51399659; Don Bambino Geno Tai et al., “The Disproportionate Impact of COVID-19 on Racial and Ethnic Minorities in the United States,” Clinical Infectious Diseases 72, no. 4 (February 2021): 703–706, https://doi.org/10.1093/cid/ciaa815.


On “Westphalian” sovereignty, see: Turan Kayaoglu, “Westphalian Eurocentrism in International Relations Theory,” International Studies Review 12, no. 2 (June 2010): 193–217, https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1468-2486.2010.00928.x; Andreas Osiander, “Sovereignty, International Relations, and the Westphalian Myth,” International Organization 55, no. 2 (2001): 251–287, https://doi.org/10.1162/00208180151140577. On anarchy, see: Henderson, “Hidden in Plain Sight”; on war, see: Tarak Barkawi, “Decolonising War,” European Journal of International Security 1, no. 2 (2016): 199–214, https://doi.org/10.1017/eis.2016.7.


Tarak Barkawi and Mark Laffey, “The Postcolonial Moment in Security Studies,” Review of International Studies 32 (2006): 329–352, https://doi.org/10.1017/S0260210506007054; Arlene Tickner, “Seeing IR Differently: Notes from the Third World,” Millennium 32, no. 2 (2003), 295–324, https://doi.org/10.1177/03058298030320020301; Sanjay Seth, “Postcolonial Theory and the Critique of International Relations,” Millennium 40, no. 1 (2011): 167–183, https://doi.org/10.1177/0305829811412325; see also Julian Go, “Race, Empire, and Epistemic Exclusion: Or the Structures of Sociological Thought,” Sociological Theory 38, no. 2 (2020): 79–100, https://doi.org/10.1177/0735275120926213.


Roxanne Lynn Doty, Imperial Encounters: The Politics of Representation in North-South Relations (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1996); Thomas McCarthy, Race, Empire, and the Idea of Human Development (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2009); Antony Anghie, “Decolonizing the Concept of ‘Good Governance,’” in Gruffydd Jones, ed., Decolonizing International Relations (Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield, 2006), 109–130; Branwen Gruffydd Jones, “‘Good Governance’ and ‘State Failure’: Genealogies of Imperial Discourse,” Cambridge Review of International Affairs 26, no. 1 (2013): 49–70, https://doi.org/10.1080/09557571.2012.734785.


Meera Sabaratnam, “Is IR Theory White? Racialised Subject-Positioning in Three Canonical Texts,” Millennium 49, no. 1 (2020): 5, 12, https://doi.org/10.1177/0305829820971687; see also Robert Vitalis, “The Graceful and Generous Liberal Gesture: Making Racism Invisible in American International Relations,” Millennium 29, no. 2 (2000): 331–356, https://doi.org/10.1177/03058298000290020701; Kwaku Danso and Kwesi Aning, “African Experiences and Alternativity in International Relations Theorizing about Security,” International Affairs 98, no. 1 (January 2022): 67–83, https://doi.org/10.1093/ia/iiab204.


John M. Hobson, The Eurocentric Conception of World Politics: Western International Theory, 1760–2010 (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2012); Evelyn Goh, “U.S. Dominance and American Bias in International Relations Scholarship: A View from the Outside,” Journal of Global Security Studies 4, no. 3 (July 2019): 402–410, https://doi.org/10.1093/jogss/ogz029; David C. Kang and Alex Yu-Ting Lin, “U.S. Bias in the Study of Asian Security: Using Europe to Study Asia,” Journal of Global Security Studies 4, no. 3 (July 2019): 393–401, https://doi.org/10.1093/jogss/ogz024.


A growing wave of scholarship seeks to remedy this overrepresentation, including Stuart J. Kaufman, Richard Little, and William C. Wohlforth, eds., The Balance of Power in World History (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2007); David C. Kang and Xinru Ma, “Power Transitions: Thucydides Didn't Live in East Asia,” Washington Quarterly 41, no. 1 (2018): 137–154, https://doi.org/10.1080/0163660X.2018.1445905; J. C. Sharman, Empires of the Weak: The Real Story of European Expansion and the Creation of the New World Order (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2019); Barry Buzan and Amitav Acharya, Re-imagining International Relations: World Orders in the Thought and Practice of Indian, Chinese, and Islamic Civilizations (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2021); Andrew Phillips, How the East Was Won: Barbarian Conquerors, Universal Conquest and the Making of Modern Asia (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2021); Ayqe Zarakol, Before the West: The Rise and Fall of Eastern World Orders (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2022).


Meredith Reid Sarkees, “The COW Typology of War: Defining and Categorizing Wars (Version 4 of the Data),” in Meredith Reid Sarkees and Frank Wayman, Resort to War: 1816–2007 (Washington, DC: CQ Press, 2010), 9, 3, https://correlatesofwar.org/wp-content/uploads/COW-Website-Typology-of-war.pdf. Subsequent versions of the Correlates of War dataset included nonstate-participant deaths, which “significantly increased the number of extra-state wars.” Sarkees, “The COW Typology of War,” 16.


Jeff D. Colgan, “American Bias in Global Security Studies Data,” Journal of Global Security Studies 4, no. 3 (July 2019): 358–371, https://doi.org/10.1093/jogss/ogz030; see also Sarah Sunn Bush, “National Perspectives and Quantitative Datasets: A Silver Lining?,” Journal of Global Security Studies 4, no. 3 (July 2019): 372–383, https://doi.org/10.1093/jogss/ogz022.


Maass, The Picky Eagle; Búzás, “The Color of Threat.”


Lascurettes, Orders of Exclusion; Viola, The Closure of the International System; David A. Lake, Hierarchy in International Relations (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2009); Henry Farrell and Abraham L. Newman, “Weaponized Interdependence: How Global Economic Networks Shape State Coercion,” International Security 44, no. 1 (Summer 2019): 42–79, https://doi.org/10.1162/isec_a_00351.


Parmar, “The U.S.-Led Liberal Order”; Sesay, Domination through Law; Renanah Miles Joyce, “Soldiers’ Dilemma: Foreign Military Training and Liberal Norm Conflict,” International Security 46, no. 4 (Spring 2022): 48–90, https://doi.org/10.1162/isec_a_00432.


Búzás, “Racism and Antiracism”; Klotz, Norms in International Relations; cf. Wayne Sandholtz and Kendall W. Stiles, International Norms and Cycles of Change (New York: Oxford University Press, 2008); Antje Wiener, Contestation and Constitution of Norms in Global International Relations (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2018).


On gender, see: Daniel Maliniak, Ryan Powers, and Barbara F. Walter, “The Gender Citation Gap in International Relations,” International Organization 67, no. 4 (2013): 889–922, https://doi.org/10.1017/S0020818313000209; Dawn Langan Teele and Kathleen Thelen, “Gender in the Journals: Publication Patterns in Political Science,” PS: Political Science & Politics 50, no. 2 (April 2017): 433–447, https://doi.org/10.1017/S1049096516002985; Jeff Colgan, “Gender Bias in International Relations Graduate Education? New Evidence from Syllabi,” PS: Political Science & Politics 50, no. 2 (2017): 456–460, https://doi.org/10.1017/S1049096516002997.


Patricia Owens and Katharina Rietzler, Women's International Thought: A New History (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2021); Vineet Thakur and Peter Vale, South Africa, Race and the Making of International Relations (Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield, 2020); Getachew, Worldmaking after Empire.


Barkawi and Laffey, “The Postcolonial Moment in Security Studies”; Acharya and Buzan, The Making of Global International Relations.


Jordan Tama et al., “Bridging the Gap in a Changing World: New Opportunities and Challenges for Engaging Practitioners and the Public,” International Studies Perspectives 24, no. 3 (August 2023): 285–307, https://doi.org/10.1093/isp/ekad003; Paul Musgrave, “Political Science Has Its Own Lab Leaks,” Foreign Policy, July 3, 2021, https://foreignpolicy.com/2021/07/03/political-science-dangerous-lab-leaks/; Michael C. Desch, Cult of the Irrelevant: The Waning Influence of Social Science on National Security (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2019); Ido Oren, Our Enemies and US: America's Rivalries and the Making of Political Science (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2003).


For example, Van Jackson, “Left of Liberal Internationalism: Grand Strategies within Progressive Foreign Policy Thought,” Security Studies 31, no. 4 (2022): 553–592, https://doi.org/10.1080/09636412.2022.2132874; Borgwardt, Nichols, and Preston, Rethinking American Grand Strategy; Randolph B. Persaud, “Killing the Third World: Civilisational Security as U.S. Grand Strategy,” Third World Quarterly 40, no. 2 (2019): 266–283, https://doi.org/10.1080/01436597.2018.1535891; Tarak Barkawi and Shane Brighton, “Brown Britain: Post-Colonial Politics and Grand Strategy,” International Affairs 89, no. 5 (September 2013): 1109–1123, https://doi.org/10.1111/1468-2346.12062.


Stacie E. Goddard and Ronald R. Krebs, “Rhetoric, Legitimation, and Grand Strategy,” Security Studies 24, no. 1 (2015): 5–36, https://doi.org/10.1080/09636412.2014.1001198; Paul Poast, “Beyond the ‘Sinew of War’: The Political Economy of Security as a Subfield,” Annual Review of Political Science 22 (2019): 223–239, https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev-polisci-050317-070912.


Daniel Byman, “White Supremacy, Terrorism, and the Failure of Reconstruction in the United States,” International Security 46, no. 1 (Summer 2021): 53–103, https://doi.org/10.1162/isec_a_00410.


Kim Yi Dionne and Fulya Felicity Turkmen, “The Politics of Pandemic Othering: Putting COVID-19 in Global and Historical Context,” International Organization 74, no. S1 (2020): E213–E230, https://doi.org/10.1017/S0020818320000405; Donald Grasse et al., “Opportunistic Repression: Civilian Targeting by the States in Response to COVID-19,” International Security 46, no. 2 (Fall 2021): 130–165, https://doi.org/10.1162/isec_a_00419.


Amy Mackinnon, “Russia Is Sending Its Ethnic Minorities to the Meat Grinder,” Foreign Policy, September 23, 2022, https://foreignpolicy.com/2022/09/23/russia-partial-military-mobilization-ethnic-minorities/.


State Department Director of Policy Planning Kiron Skinner overtly labeled the U.S.-China rivalry “the first time that we will have a great power competitor that is not Caucasian.” See Steven Ward, “Because China Isn't ‘Caucasian,’ the U.S. Is Planning for a ‘Clash of Civilizations.’ That Could Be Dangerous,” Monkey Cage (blog), Washington Post, May 4, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2019/05/04/because-china-isnt-caucasian-us-is-planning-clash-civilizations-that-could-be-dangerous/. On racialization and AUKUS, see Maass, “U.S. Foreign Policy Was Once All about Race.”


Jon Bateman, “Biden Is Now All-In on Taking Out China,” Foreign Policy, October 12, 2022, https://foreignpolicy.com/2022/10/12/biden-china-semiconductor-chips-exports-decouple/; Shampa Biswas, “‘Nuclear Apartheid’ as Political Position: Race as a Postcolonial Resource?,” Alternatives 26, no. 4 (2001): 485–522, https://doi.org/10.1177/030437540102600406.


Irving L. Janis, Victims of Groupthink: A Psychological Study of Foreign-Policy Decisions and Fiascoes (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1972); Paul ‘t Hart, Eric K. Stern, and Bengt Sundelius, eds., Beyond Groupthink: Political Group Dynamics and Foreign Policy-Making (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1997).