Hidden in plain sight: Racism in international relations theory

Errol A. Henderson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

85 Scopus citations


This article addresses the centrality of racism in international relations (IR) theory; specifically, in realism and liberalism, two of the most prominent paradigms of IR. It examines the extent to which these major paradigms of world politics are oriented by racist-primarily, white supremacist-precepts that inhere within their foundational construct, namely, anarchy. I maintain that due to the centrality of anarchy-and other racially infused constructs-within these prominent paradigms, white supremacist precepts are not only nominally associated with the origins of the field, but have an enduring impact on IR theory and influence contemporary theses ranging from neorealist conceptions of the global system to liberal democratic peace claims, and constructivist theses as well.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)71-92
Number of pages22
JournalCambridge Review of International Affairs
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Political Science and International Relations


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