This theoretical chapter introduces modern diplomacy to demonstrate why extra-European research must be conducted on a different register. Modernity replicates Christianity’s assumption of an anarchical and alienated world, to make diplomacy’s purpose binary: our deliverance from chaos to unity, or progress-through-history. Linear, teleological progress engenders violence, for non-moderns are coerced into accepting modernity’s assumptions. Moreover, the internationalization of the civilization of modernity relies on a reflexivity insular at inception for it only looks back at its Christian roots, thereby creating the Kantian ‘other’ as a category for assimilation. This system’s regularization is accession to the Westphalian system. Nevertheless, the very conversion of non-moderns suggests their possessing another reflexivity, alternate by virtue of looking beyond its own past and activated to forward not modernity but alterity. Undermined then is the concept of the “other” and the claim of a modern world. Its theoretical dissolution permits genealogical exegesis, or the eschewal of modernity’s linear narrative to verify whether the world is modern now and if not, identifying why not while determining the effect for causality. Making such work explicable to modernity is why “civilization” is modified to represent not modernity, but multiple possibilities arising over the longue durée.
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