To read International Relations' (IR) story is to go beyond the “great unwashed” of Victorian novelists, i.e. the common men and women IR wanted to rescue from the ravages of war. Unlike most discussions which begin with World War I as the setting for the emergence of IR as a disciplinary field, this chapter begins with the Anglo-Boer war. This war set the stage for an ideational and institutional reformulation of the British empire. For imperial enthusiasts, the chapter focuses in particular on Lionel Curtis and on how South Africa became a laboratory of the empire where new ideas and institutions could be fleshed out. In noting the racial character of the discipline, the chapter also discusses how E.H. Carr’s framing of the “first great debate” invariably erases race from disciplinary memory, giving us a racially sanitized version of IR.