Universiteit Leiden

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Conference

Historians without borders: Writing Histories of International Organizations

  • Davide Rodogno (The Graduate Institute, Geneva)
  • Corinne Pernet (University of Geneva)
  • Kiran Patel (Maastricht University)
Date
22 March 2018 - 23 March 2018
Address
Lipsius Building
Cleveringaplaats 1
2311 BD Leiden
Room
147 (22th); 147 & 148 (23th)

Ever since the paradigm of ‘globalization’ has found its way into the field of history, ways of writing histories beyond borders have proliferated. Today, historians no longer need to justify enlarging their geographical scope beyond the national, but it can nonetheless be a daunting task to decide on how to do this. While we are going beyond borders, the choice for a translocal, transnational, transregional or global history still reveals our preference for a certain scale. Methodologically, our toolbox now offers us concepts such as comparisons, transfers, connections, entanglements and circulations. As different approaches focus on different concepts, choosing one approach often entails a rejection of other possible approaches. Transnational historians will distance themselves from comparative history; global history, as any global historian will tell you, is not the same as world history. The further we seem to get in advancing the call for breaking with our ‘methodological nationalism’, the more we seem to split up into different subfields, where fruitful dialogue becomes increasingly difficult. The purpose of this workshop is to open up this dialogue, to see what specific advantages different approaches can offer and how they can be best put to use.

In order to do this, the workshop will focus on the history of international organizations (IOs), as they are “extremely stimulating heuristic objects for historians of globalism in that they represent a true laboratory of the accords and tensions at work between the international, national, and local scenes and frames of reference” (Kott, 2011, p. 449). Therefore, writing their history automatically compels us to think about methodologies of doing ‘history beyond borders’. Although they automatically force historians to think about international connections, it is equally important to consider the continuing role of local or national scales within international organizations. Research objects in this regard can encompass both the main intergovernmental organizations (IOs) – such as the League of Nations, the UN or the NATO – and the vast field of International Non-Governmental Organizations (INGOs), spanning a diverse range of causes from the environment (Greenpeace), over human rights (Amnesty International), to humanitarianism (Médecins sans frontières).

Program

You can find the full program here.

The workshop will offer a combination of a master class, keynote lectures, and roundtable discussions. It will start on 22 March in the afternoon, with a master class by Davide Rodogno (The Graduate Institute, Geneva), followed by a keynote lecture by Corinne Pernet (University of Geneva). The second day (23 March) will consist of roundtable sessions, where participants present their research and enter into discussion. Senior researchers will chair these sessions and Kiran Patel (Maastricht University) will deliver a closing keynote.

Registration

Admission to the conference is free, but registration is required. If you wish to attend, please send an email to rethinkingdisability@hum.leidenuniv.nl stating your name and affiliation, and the days on which you wish to attend. In order to participate in the masterclass with Davide Rodogno, additional registration is required due to the limited number of spots available. For more information about the masterclass, please go to our website.

Organization

The workshop is initiated and hosted by the research team of the ERC project ‘Rethinking Disability: the Global Impact of the International Year of Disabled Persons (1981) in Historical Perspective’, based in the Institute for History at Leiden University. It is supported by the Huizinga Institute, the national Dutch research network for Cultural History.

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