The end of the 20th century has been marked simultaneously by great optimism, uncertainty, fear and hope. While many welcomed the opportunities that exploded on the world stage at the end of the Cold War, world politics became a virtual Pandora’s box. One outcome of this turbulence has been a notable increase in international crime. The wide range of approaches developed by partecipants in the 1999 University of Denver – University of Bologna Colloquium to address the issue of international crime is testament to its complexity. What, for example, is the common thread that links the image of criminality in contemporary movies with terrorism, the criminal use of telecommunication networks with gender issues? Although the differences between the various approaches are remarkable, a common concern with the meaning of criminality does emerge. What is important though is not international crime per se, but the very structure of international politics. The difficulty in defining international crime rises from competing worldviews in a time of great fluidity. Therefore, the conference papers reveal as much about the contentiousness of writing international politics for the 21st century as they do about defining international crime.