Skip to main content
Palgrave Macmillan

E. H. Carr: Imperialism, War and Lessons for Post-Colonial IR

  • Book
  • © 2022


  • Highlights important parallels between Carr and three influential figures
  • Written by Haro L Karkour, who is Lecturer in International Relations at Cardiff University
  • Covers Carr’s analysis of imperialism and war

Part of the book series: Palgrave Studies in International Relations (PSIR)

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this book

Subscribe and save

Springer+ Basic
EUR 32.99 /Month
  • Get 10 units per month
  • Download Article/Chapter or eBook
  • 1 Unit = 1 Article or 1 Chapter
  • Cancel anytime
Subscribe now

Buy Now

eBook USD 54.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Available as EPUB and PDF
  • Read on any device
  • Instant download
  • Own it forever
Softcover Book USD 69.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Compact, lightweight edition
  • Dispatched in 3 to 5 business days
  • Free shipping worldwide - see info
Hardcover Book USD 109.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Durable hardcover edition
  • Dispatched in 3 to 5 business days
  • Free shipping worldwide - see info

Tax calculation will be finalised at checkout

Other ways to access

Licence this eBook for your library

Institutional subscriptions

About this book

This book highlights important parallels between Carr and three influential figures in the first wave of post-colonialism—DuBois, Césaire and Fanon—on the analysis of imperialism and the causes of war. Specifically, Carr’s analysis of imperialism and war parallels the first wave post-colonial thinkers in two respects. First, Carr’s work historically situates imperialism in the context of the social question in Western democracies. Second, Carr’s work provides an ideology critique to Enlightenment rationalism, which postulates that ‘reason could determine what [are] the universally valid moral laws’ and thus ‘by the voice of reason men could be persuaded both to save their own immoral souls and to move along the path of political enlightenment and progress’ (Carr 1984, 22 and 24). Carr’s ideology critique exposes the Enlightenment’s pretences of reason and universality as a deceptive plea that legitimates imperialism. These parallels, the book argues, reveal that Carr didnot only recognise global hierarchy, but also theorised the role of what Julian Go refers to as the ‘episteme of empire’—that is, ‘the meanings and modalities of seeing and knowing that … accompanied empire and made it possible in the first place’ (Go 2017, 19–20). Carr’s IR theory, in short, was much closer to post-colonial thinking than previously appreciated in the discipline.

Similar content being viewed by others


Table of contents (7 chapters)


“Karkour’s reinterpretation of Carr’s work is likely to raise eyebrows among self-proclaimed realists and postcolonial scholars alike. Nonetheless, it is also provocative in a positive way. The book takes an important step in reassessing the historical sociology of the discipline and blind canonization within IR. Karkour’s critique of linearity and his subsequent reassessment of Carr’s ‘postcolonial thinking’ offer the most significant lesson for modern IR scholars of all persuasions … .” (Jude Rowley, International Affairs, Vol. 99 (2), 2023)

Authors and Affiliations

  • School of Law and Politics, Cardiff University, Cardiff, UK

    Haro L Karkour

About the author

Haro L Karkour is a Lecturer in International Relations at Cardiff University, UK. He holds an honorary lectureship at Queen Mary, University of London. His research specialises in IR theory, particularly classical realism and postcolonialism. He held teaching positions at the University of Birmingham (2018– 2020) and the University of Leicester (2012–2020). His published works appeared in International Affairs, the European Journal of International Relations, International Relations and Journal of International Political Theory.

Bibliographic Information

  • Book Title: E. H. Carr: Imperialism, War and Lessons for Post-Colonial IR

  • Authors: Haro L Karkour

  • Series Title: Palgrave Studies in International Relations

  • DOI:

  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan Cham

  • eBook Packages: Political Science and International Studies, Political Science and International Studies (R0)

  • Copyright Information: The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2022

  • Hardcover ISBN: 978-3-030-99359-7Published: 26 April 2022

  • Softcover ISBN: 978-3-030-99362-7Published: 27 April 2023

  • eBook ISBN: 978-3-030-99360-3Published: 25 April 2022

  • Series ISSN: 2946-2673

  • Series E-ISSN: 2946-2681

  • Edition Number: 1

  • Number of Pages: VI, 193

  • Number of Illustrations: 1 b/w illustrations

  • Topics: International Relations Theory

Publish with us