Presented by A/Prof William Bain (National University of Singapore)

This talk will explore presuppositions of international order that originate in medieval theology. In doing so, it examines rival conceptions of order that emerged out of a medieval dispute about the nature of God and the extent of his power. The central claim is that familiar ways of thinking about system and society, as well as anarchy, balance of power, international law, and constitutionalism, reflect not the progressive secularisation of international life but the intellectual commitments of a particular tradition of medieval theology.

William Bain is Associate Professor of International Relations at the National University of Singapore. His research interests centre on international relations theory and the history of international thought. His book, Political Theology of International Order, will be published by Oxford University Press in April 2020.

About School Research Seminar Series

This series brings together the School’s research community and domestic as well as international leaders in the field of politics and international affairs. Across each semester, the series showcases a diverse and exciting range of topics. 

For further inquiries contact Dr Seb Kaempf ( 
Please note that most of past research seminars are recorded and are available online. 


Photo credit: Peter Walters.


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