Northwestern Events Calendar


Empire, Race, and Connected Histories of Democratization

When: Monday, October 23, 2023
12:30 PM - 1:45 PM CT

Where: Scott Hall, 212, 601 University Place, Evanston, IL 60208 map it

Audience: Graduate Students

Contact: Ariel Sowers   (847) 491-7454

Group: Department of Political Science

Category: Academic


The CP/IR Student Working Group presents Emerson Murray with Shah Chaudhary as discussant. Feedback is strongly encouraged, so please review at least part of the paper beforehand. Food will be served. 

The nation-state has long been privileged as the unit of analysis in political science research on democratization. My paper problematizes this tendency – that is, methodological nationalism – in the context of recent moves in the field to "return to history" (Capoccia and Ziblatt 2010) and revisit the "first wave" of democratization in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. I argue that the enduring methodological nationalism of much democratization research has led it to misrepresent many ‘first-wave’ European democracies as nation-states rather than imperial states, obscuring the prevalence of autocratic racial rule in their territories beyond Europe. I suggest, moreover, that foregrounding the imperial character of early European democracies may complicate dominant geographic and temporal assumptions about the historical rise of modern liberal democracy itself. Building on efforts in postcolonial and global historical sociology to advance “connected histories” of modernity, I propose that democratization research should attend to the co-constitution of liberal democracy between the West and non-West rather than presume its linear diffusion from the former to the latter. To illustrate what a ‘connected histories’ approach to democratization would entail, I examine the political contests over citizenship, suffrage, and representation that unfolded during the "federal moment" of the post-war French Empire.

To retrieve a copy of Emerson's paper, please email Daniel Loebell.

Register Add to Calendar

Add Event To My Group:

Please sign-in