dr. J. Costa López
My research interests lie at the intersection of international relations, history, and political thought. Specifically, I am interested in the different ways in which international relations have been understood in history, and how this can help us understand and reframe the frameworks and concepts that we currently use to understand politics and international relations.
In my first book project, I develop an account of international order between the 12thand the 14thcenturies through an analysis of the fundamental ideas about politics and social organization in a specific medieval group of practitioners: Roman and Canon Lawyers. By looking at how they understood core ideas such as political authority, legitimacy, political communities, or religious groups, I seek not only to recover a sense of a late-medieval order but also to understand the way in which the concepts that we use to analyse our current world might be limited by virtue of their own historical specificity.
I am currently working on a second project that looks at the way in which ideas of the people and of political community developed in the later Middle Ages and the Early modern period, particularly in the context of the early Atlantic explorations of Iberian polities. As part of this, I am currently researching various groups of people who were involved in these early explorations, such as travelers, lawyers, or missionaries and looking at some of the social practices that emerged, such as translation.
More broadly, I am also interested in the politics of history. My historical work has led me to be particularly attentive to the ways in which historical narratives and particular historical episodes are mobilized in contemporary politics, and I am currently exploring this in a variety of ways. As part of my work on the Middle Ages, for example, I have paid particular attention to neomedievalist claims about the changing character or world politics. With Bettina Reitz-Joosse (Classics) we are working on understanding why and how Latin is currently being used in political discourse (https://usesoflatin.wordpress.com/). With Katharine Millar (LSE) we are writing on the way in which the Knights Templar are mobilized by fringe groups as a way of invoking particular racialized images. And I have also given several talks in collaboration with student associations about images of the medieval in series such as Game of Thrones and popular culture more broadly.
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