In appraising critical IR theory after twenty-five years, this article begins by asking whether critical theory implicitly reinforces the ‘superiority’ of Western civilisation and naturalises Western imperialism. In revealing the Eurocentrism of much of critical IR theory the article proceeds to reconstruct it by steering it in fresh non-Eurocentric directions. This is not to say that extant critical theory is moribund since it undoubtedly has much to offer. But it is to say that until the problem of Eurocentrism is exorcised from its body theoretique, critical theory inadvertently lies in danger of joining the ranks of problem-solving theories. The first two sections deconstruct the leading schools of critical IR theory – Gramscianism, postmodernism and feminism – to reveal their frequent lapsing into Eurocentrism, while the final section seeks to decolonise ‘Westphilian’ critical IR by reconstructing a ‘post-racist IR’. And this in turn leads on to the conclusion, which sketches out a post-racist emancipatory political project that can help begin the urgent task of effecting global reconciliation between East and West.
* Though in no way implicating them, I want to sincerely thank Adam Morton, Craig Murphy, and Nicola Phillips for their extremely helpful and extensive suggestions.