Identifying Significant Change in International Politics: The Year 2018 in Historical Perspective

invitation only · Seminar Hall 23 H, Arkadiankatu 23 H, 2nd floor (inner courtyard), Helsinki · 17.01.2019 10:00 - 11:30

invitation only

The international system appears to be undergoing major change. This seminar explores these recent changes from a historical perspective. It looks at the events that have had a major impact on the actors, processes, and norms of international politics during the last four centuries. It also discusses how international relations research identifies major change in international politics, including the concept of ‘monster years’, a time-based criterion for identifying the most significant changes in international politics. A primary question concerns whether the year 2018 qualifies as a ‘monster year’, based on the recent actions and policies by the major players in international politics.


Kalevi Holsti

Professor Emeritus, University of British Columbia

Kalevi Holsti is Emeritus Professor of Political Science at the University of British Columbia. He received his PhD from Stanford University and he has been Visiting Professor at the University of Hawaii, Hebrew University, McGill University, Kyoto University, Australian National University, amongst others. In 1986-1987, he served as President of the International Studies Association. He is a Member of the Royal Society of Canada as well as the Finnish Society of Science and Letters. Professor Holsti has published numerous books, chapters in edited volumes, and journal articles.

Torbjørn Knutsen

Professor, Norwegian University of Science and Technology

Torbjørn L. Knutsen is Professor of Political Science at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) and Adjunct Professor at the Royal Norwegian Air Force Academy. He received his PhD from the University of Denver and he has served as an adviser to the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He has previously taught at Vanderbilt University and George Mason University and conducted research at the University of Southern California, the Norwegian Nobel Institute and the Johns Hopkins University. Professor Knutsen has published books on international relations theory, foreign policy and research methods.

Opening remarks

Teija Tiilikainen

Director, Finnish Institute of International Affairs


Mikael Wigell

Research Director

International economic relations, geoeconomics and sanctions, hybrid threats and hybrid warfare, Chinese and Russian grand strategies, EU’s external economic relations