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Caiban Butcher

Caiban Butcher

Research topic:
The Darwinian Idiom in International Thought, 1859-1914
Degree course:
DPhil
Email:
caiban.butcher@politics.ox.ac.uk

Research Themes:
History International order Political thought and ideologies International ethics and global Justice Law and International law 

Academic Profile

I am a DPhil student in International Relations, and my main interests are in the history of international thought and international order, both particularly in the long nineteenth century. My current research focusses on Darwinism as a distinctive historical idiom of international theory.

More specifically, I aim to expand my MPhil thesis—which examined how Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection transformed ideas of war, ‘savagery’, and empire in late Victorian Britain—into a global intellectual history of Darwinian internationalism in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Accordingly, I excavate the Darwinian idiom in its various contexts, including Britain, the United States, China, and the colonial periphery, exploring how flexible Darwinism proved as a language for articulating the range of positionalities in nineteenth-century international social space. Reinserting Darwin into the picture, I argue, radically changes the way we should think about international society in this crucial period. In its broadest implications, my research also incises upon salient contemporary issues, including how exactly the category of ‘science’ should be understood as a criterion of theoretical rigour in the social sciences.

Prior to my studies at Oxford, I graduated from the University of Cambridge with a BA (Hons) in Human, Social, and Political Sciences.

Teaching specialism, interests and experience

I also teach undergraduates in the following IR papers:

  • International Relations (214)
  • International Relations in the Era of the Cold War (213)
  • International Relations in the Era of Two World Wars (212)
Student
17237