All posts by Aden Knaap

Human Rights and the Global South: A Conversation with Steven L. B. Jensen

Dr. Steven L. B. Jensen

Human rights are facing perhaps their greatest challenge yet. After a failed military coup in July last year, Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has led a purge of the country’s central institutions. A much-contested referendum in April only expanded Erdoğan’s stranglehold on the government. Over a similar timeframe, Erdoğan’s Filipino counterpart, Rodrigo Duterte, has spearheaded a devastatingly brutal antidrug campaign, sanctioning the extra-judicial killing of thousands of suspected drug users and sellers. In Egypt, President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi has imprisoned members of the political opposition, arrested human rights activists, and outlawed many aid organizations. Meanwhile, the United States—traditionally considered human right’s earliest and greatest champion—has seen the election of President Donald Trump. According to a tally compiled by Amnesty International, in just one hundred days in office, Trump threatened human rights in at least as many ways.

Viewed from today’s perspective, it might seem like it’s only recently that the US has ceded global leadership on human rights. But, as Dr. Steven L. B. Jensen shows in his book The Making of International Human Rights: The 1960s, Decolonization, and the Reconstruction of Global Values (2016), the history of human rights was never simply a story of American or Western hegemony. Moving the locus of study to Jamaica, Ghana, the Philippines, Liberia and beyond, Jensen argues that human rights were as shaped from within the Global South as they were from without. In Jensen’s words, actors from the Global South “gave a master class in international human rights diplomacy to both the Eastern and the Western actors.”

Many scholars struggle to connect with non-academic audiences. In his work and in his writings, Jensen straddles the border between academia and international policymaking with comparative ease. Currently a researcher at the Danish Institute for Human Rights, Jensen is the author and editor of multiple books and articles. Prior to completing his PhD at the University of Copenhagen, he worked in international development: first at the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ Department of Southern Africa, and later for the Joint UN Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) in Geneva. His PhD thesis was published as The Making of International Human Rights last year. Since then, he’s been on something of a roll. Most recently, his book received the Human Rights Best Book Award and the Chadwick Alger Prize for the best book on international organization from the International Studies Association.

The Toynbee Prize Foundation was lucky enough to chat with Jensen during a recent visit to Cambridge, Massachusetts. Jensen was in town to attend a workshop on socioeconomic rights convened by Professors Samuel Moyn and Charles Walton at Harvard Law School. Jensen spoke about human rights’ origins in the Global South, how exactly he came to be known as the “Jamaica guy,” and what the future holds for human rights scholarship.

Aden Knaap

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CFP: “Words that Kill,” American University of Paris Conference (Paris, 28-30 May 2018)

For scholars working on violence (both symbolic and material), see this call for papers for an interdisciplinary conference organized by The George and Irina Schaeffer Center for the Study of Genocide, Human Rights and Conflict Prevention at the American University of Paris:

There is a continuum linking symbolic violence (in images, signs, stories) and physical violence. Social violence is bred by the construction of otherness, the mobilization of myth (purity of origins), the use of libel, falsehoods and mistruths–performative acts that foment hate and generate the conditions of possibility of mass violence. They are common elements of strategic propaganda to scapegoat, contaminate, exclude, and dehumanize targeted groups, preconditions for discrimination, repression, mass violence or genocide. Mass violence requires narratives authorizing killing, words that not only distance perpetrators from their involvement but also rationalize and naturalize injustices, normalize crimes and, in the aftermath, erase them from social memory.

In our current troubled historical moment, where toxic discourses are being mobilized for political ends, there is growing concern and debate over the perilous effects of post-truth regimes, false news and lying in politics. The phenomenon is not new: As Hannah Arendt notes in Lying in Politics, penned after the publication of the Pentagon Papers, “Secrecy…and deception, the deliberate falsehood and the outright lie used as a legitimate means to achieve politics ends, have been with us since the beginning of recorded history.” But it has become increasingly acute, affecting and poisoning political discourse and daily social intercourse.

The aim of the international conference Words that Kill organized by the George and Irina Schaeffer Center for the Study of Genocide, Human Rights and Conflict Prevention is to reexamine the questions of hate speech and freedom, the production and circulation of lies, and violence-inducing identity discourses. Through interdisciplinary investigation and critique, we aspire to foster intellectual and policy responses to injustice, exclusion, and violence.

We welcome innovative scholarly contributions that examine the multiple dimensions of the problem of hate, the production of otherness, violence and images, language, media and narratives. Potential topics include:

Truth, Lies and the Manufacturing of Otherness

-The epistemological problem: distinguishing truth and lies, facts from falsehood.

-Uses and misuses of history: mythmaking and mass violence.

-Discourses of hate and hate speech.

-Cross-national approaches to free speech and hate speech.

-The manipulation of “fact” in hate speech.

-Manufacturing otherness in narratives, images and language.

-False science and scientism as justification for violence.

Mediating Hate

-The production, circulation and reception of dehumanizing representations and falsehoods.

-Media (new and old), lies, violence and hate.

-The power of images.

-Virality.

-Strategies to counter or control lies and hate speech.

-Performance and truth.

Inciting and Denying

-Propaganda as incitement to mass violence.

-Conspiracy theories and rumor as incitement to violence.

-Genocide denial and revisionism: production and reception.

-Commemoration practices: truth and fiction.

Confirmed Keynote Speakers:

Sarah Banet-Weiser (University of Southern California)

Susan Benesch (Harvard University)

Gérald Bronner (Paris Diderot)

Marc Crépon (CNRS-École Normale Supérieure)

Jayson Harsin (American University of Paris)

Jason Stanley (Yale University)

Organizing committee: Waddick Doyle (AUP), Oliver Feltham (AUP), Philip Golub (AUP), Cary Hollinshead-Strick (AUP), Jayson Harsin (AUP), Constance Pâris de Bollardière (AUP), Susan Perry (AUP), Claudia Roda (AUP), Brian Schiff (AUP) and Miranda Spieler (AUP).

Papers can be given in English or French. Fellowships will be awarded on the basis of financial need and quality of the scholarly contribution.

Proposals for presentations must include an abstract (no more than 500 words) and a short biography (no more than 250 words).

Important Dates:

October 15th 2017: Proposals are due.

December 15th 2017: Letters of acceptance are returned.

January 15th 2018: Registration for the conference opens.

For questions about the conference, please contact us at schaeffer@aup.edu

Call for Submissions: Global Histories, A Student Journal

Our graduate student readers should consider this exciting call for submissions for the journal Global Histories:

Deadline: July 10th, 2017

In recent years, global history has become one of the most ambitious and promising strands of historical research. The approach targets relations, flows, and actors that challenge the assumption of the nation state as a natural and inevitable category of historical analysis. It calls attention to the importance of transnational, trans-regional, or trans-local connections and their influence on the past.

Our upcoming international Global History Student Conference 2017 on May 2th-21st acts as the point of departure for this issue, showcasing how global history is conceptualized and realized in different cultural contexts around the world. To that end, we encourage the submission of research articles related to (or critical of) global history. We suggest the following themes, which represent this year’s conference panels, as a starting point for your consideration:

Global Spaces

Commodities in Transfer

Building Empires

Microhistory from a Global Perspective

Cultural Encounters

Medicine and Disease

Diplomacy and International Relations

Media and Representation

Identities in Diaspora

International Social and Political Movements

We also welcome the submission of history conference reviews. Please review a history conference which you have attended in the last year, focussing on how the conference was intellectually conceptualized and how it related to wider trends within the discipline of history.

Who We Are

Global Histories is a student-run open access journal based in the MA Global History program at Humboldt-Universität and Freie Universität in Berlin. We are looking for submissions from fellow students across the world for our journal’s fourth issue which is to be published in October 2017.

Submissions

Article submissions should be 5000-7000 words and conference reviews 1000-1500 words.

All submissions must be in English, follow the Chicago Manual of Style for footnotes and must not have been previously submitted for publication elsewhere. For more detailed information on our submission guidelines please consult:

http://www.globalhistories.com/index.php/GHSJ/about/submissions#onlineSubmissions

Authors should register on our website www.globalhistories.com to submit their work via our online system.

Questions related to topics or submissions should be directed to submissions@globalhistories.com well in advance of the 10th July 2017 final deadline.

For more information, please consult the journal website.

Servants’ Pasts (Berlin, 11-13 April 2018)

For readers working on the history of domestic work and service in South Asia, see this call for papers for the second international conference organized under the ERC-funded project ‘Domestic Servants in Colonial South Asia’, to be held in Berlin from 11-13 April, 2018:

This conference will explore the various regional histories of domestic work and service within South Asia, as reflected in different language-based sources. It will also explore comparative similarities and specificities in domestic work across diverse imperial, colonial and postcolonial settings. The temporal range will include the early modern and modern periods (sixteenth century to the contemporary). We nevertheless remain interested in soliciting conceptual and thematic contributions extending further in time that would promise to explore the long history of domestic servitude in South Asia.

We invite contributions that explore the ideologies and practices which were deployed to organize domestic work. From the point of recruitment to that of maintaining the boundaries of intimacy and loyalty, among others, law, language, caste, religion, gender, and age played a crucial role in the making and constant reworking of master/mistress-servant relationship. We invite applications exploring the legal and juridical bases of regulation and the everyday maintenance, reproduction and breach of that relationship. This everydayness can include among others gesture, appropriate behaviour, touch, purity, and defilement. Papers based on vernacular sources and visuals exploring these themes are welcome.

Moving beyond the ideological macro-structures and practices of organizing domestic work, we wish to enter into the world of material objects, everyday technology, food, and not least, dress. Liveries enhanced masters’ prestige. The arrival of new commodities, gadgets, and utilities in the household – refrigerators, electric fans and bulbs, motor cars, sewing machines, piped water, tinned food, television to name a few – reorganized domestic work. How did servants react to them? Did these changes instrumentally affect the terms of employability, wage and work time? Did these new changes affect their own households? We encourage contributions on ‘ethnographies of domestic work’ that bring out the textured nature of these changes up to the present.

The changing forms of organisation of work, home and domesticity are crucial to understanding of servants’ pasts. The architecture of the home, the technological changes taking place therein, the move from joint families to nuclear, and the change from bungalows to apartments may tell us more about how servants negotiated these changes. A new kind of domesticity, publicness and politics emerged in the nineteenth century. What is the relationship between cities and servants? Was it different from the earlier period? We invite applications on both specific changes in a particular time period as well as on long term trends and changes.

The master/mistress-servant relationship has been significantly constituted through the use of violence and the languages of affect and intimacy. We intend to explore the forms of servant resistance – individual and collective – that mark this relationship. From everyday forms to that of overt collective action spread across households and cities, how do we read servants’ protests in our sources and how do we account for their transformative potential in the service relationship?

Finally, we invite papers that look at domestic servants in non-South Asian contexts such as the Ottoman empire and other imperial and postcolonial regions, to evaluate and compare histories that may be marked by similar ideologies and practices of race, class and gender. We would especially like to receive contributions on African case studies.

Some possible thematic clusters that we wish to address are the following:

Early modern South Asia
Caste, religion, gender, age & domestic work
Everyday technologies, material objects & architecture
Sensory histories
City & servant
Resistance
Children & domestic work
Ethnographies of domestic work & forms of servitude
Comparative imperial case-studies

We invite 400 words abstract by 15 September 2017. Please send your abstracts to erc.servants@googlemail.com Travel and accommodation will be covered.

Nitin Varma, Re:Work Humboldt University, Berlin

Nitin Sinha, Leibniz ZMO, Berlin

Contact Info:
Dr. Nitin Varma
Research Associate
European Research Council Starting Grant Project on Domestic Servants in Colonial India
Office: IGK Work and Human Lifecycle in Global History, Georgenstr.23, 10117 Berlin
Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
T +49 (30) 2093 702 18

CFP: Cities in Colonial Africa and Europe: A History of Separateness and Entanglement (EAUH Rome, 29 August – 1 September 2018)

For readers interested in urban history, see this call for papers for the Special Session 30 of the 14th International Conference on Urban History (EAUH) to be held in Rome, 29 August – 1 September 2018:

As Cooper & Stoler, amongst others, have demonstrated, colonialism is not only premised on asymmetries and distinction, but is also characterized by intertwinement in all domains of daily life. This ambivalence between separateness and entanglement, which is one of the core characteristics and inherent contradictions of colonialism, got a material and spatial expression in colonial urbanism. Moreover, the ‘tensions of empire’ were not restricted to places in colonies, but also shaped spatial relations with other cities, across borders, as well as with and within metropolitan cities.
In recent years, historians have critically engaged with such aspects as the imprint of colonial ideas on spatial constellations and settlement patterns in African cities, the imperial outlook of metropolitan cities, or the role of these cities for anti-colonial activity or post-colonial opposition movements. These strands in urban history have demonstrated the importance of approaches that thwart national, imperial and continental frameworks.
This panel adopts a focus on urban spaces and spatial practices in Africa and Europe in order to scrutinize African-European entanglement and separation. We are particularly interested in papers which address one of the following questions: (1) how do colonial cities and neighbourhoods within them relate to each other across colonial/national, imperial and continental borders; (2) how did different imperial, colonial, national or ethnic identities and experiences ‘find a place’ within African and metropolitan cities; (3) how have imperial, metropolitan, colonial or global cities around the world been used effectively in African politics – both during and after the colonial period?

Paper proposals of up to 450 words can only be submitted online, via the EAUH2018 website. To submit a paper proposal, registration is required (https://eauh2018.ccmgs.it/users/).

After the deadline for paper proposals submission on October 5th, 2017, session organisers will select the final list of participants based on abstract submission, and notification of acceptance of abstracts will be send by December 1st, 2017.

For more information see the conference website: https://eauh2018.ccmgs.it/

Call for Submissions: International Research Award in Global History 2018 (September 30, 2017)

From our friends at the universities of Munich, Basel and Sydney comes this call for submissions for the International Research Award in Global History 2018:

The Universities of Munich, Basel and Sydney are proud to announce the Fourth International Research Award in Global History. The successful applicant will receive up to €10,000 towards the organization of an international symposium at the History Department of the University of Munich.

Over the last two decades global history has emerged as an important sub‐discipline in the broader field of historical research, encompassing a wide range of methodological and thematic approaches, including transnational, international and world history. The International Research Award in Global History and the award symposium have been initiated jointly by some of the leading researchers in the field, in order to support innovative young researchers. The award aims to give them the intellectual freedom and the financial means to bring together scholars from all over the world to engage with a topic of their own choice and design. Our aim is to make the scholarly work of the awardee visible in the scientific community and put them in closer contact with established colleagues in their field. Beyond supporting the research and academic networks of the prize-winning scholar, the award symposium will contribute to the field’s ability to critically reflect and intellectually replenish itself. The award also aims to reach out to an academic public beyond the sub-discipline of global history and provide a broader stage for the pioneering research currently undertaken in the field.

The purse of up to €10,000 attached to the award will be used to host an international symposium on a topic proposed by the successful applicant. In 2018, the symposium will take place at the University of Munich, Germany, in late September/early October. The awardee will be responsible for organizing the panels and inviting the speakers. Chairs and discussants will come from the initiating institutions at Basel, Munich and Sydney. Organizational support will be available.

The International Research Award in Global History is jointly advertised by the Department of History at the University of Munich (Roland Wenzlhuemer – currently Heidelberg, as from October 2017 at the University of Munich), the Institute for European Global Studies at the University of Basel (Madeleine Herren-Oesch) and the Laureate Research Program in International History at the University of Sydney (Glenda Sluga).

Candidates need to be in the early stage of their research career in History (2-7 years after their PhD). Applicants should submit a cover letter explaining their interest in the award (max. 2 pages), an academic CV and their proposal for the symposium (detailing the topic, a tentative list of participants and a preliminary budget, max. 5 pages). It is possible for two candidates to submit a joint proposal. We encourage scholars and scholarship from beyond the trans-Atlantic triangle, and gender balance in conceptualising symposiums. Please submit your application electronically to susanne.hohler@zegk.uni-heidelberg.de (as one PDF file) by 30 September 2017.

CFP: ‘Whither the Global Village: Is Globalisation in Retreat?’ (Kashmir, India, October 13-14, 2017)

Scholars of diplomacy and international relations, political science, and the social sciences more generally should check out this timely call for papers for a conference on the state of globalisation today:

The end of the Cold War unleashed an unprecedented wave of globalisation which looked set to reshape the world into a single, interconnected socio-political-economic entity, a global village. While technological advancements like the spread of internet did play an important role in creating this expectation, the driving force behind this accelerated period of globalisation remained chiefly political. It was the victory of the United States of America in the Cold War with its pro-globalisation agenda that provided the critical fillip to forces of globalisation. With the sole hegemonic power in the world promoting a liberal economic world order, hitherto hesitant countries like India and others had no option but to embrace its precepts. Thus, the world witnessed an unparalleled movement of capital, goods and people between countries in the two decades after the end of the Cold War. The global economy became increasingly integrated, capitalists vied for markets and labour across state borders while immigration multiplied. This was the path to prosperity, security and stability was the international consensus, atleast among the elites. It was even hoped by some pro-globalists optimists that like a village, the world will eventually end up with a single economy, a shared cosmopolitan culture and collective security through enforceable common laws through international institutions. This was to be the end of history, the culmination of human kind’s ideological evolution.

However, in the last decade or so, this consensus has come under increasing stress. While the 2008 global financial crisis is a likely starting point for this loss of confidence, issues concering immigration and rising inequalities predate. Recent events like the Brexit and the election of an anti-globalist President in the US who has cancelled freetrade agreements, questioned well-established collecive security measures like the NATO and criticised immigration are symptoms of this phenomenan. Tides of nationalism and economic protectionism are rising across the world and more so in places like Europe which used to be strong advocates of globalism. In this context, it is thus important to ask, is globalisation in retreat? If so, what are the economic implications, specially for developing countries like India and China who have embraced and sought to take advantage of global capitalism in the last few decades? In the secrity sphere, does this signal a firm return to state centric realpolitik? One also has to discuss the future of economic and political immigrants as well as diasporic communities in this changing scenario. This conference seeks to discuss these pressing concerns and invites papers to be presented under following subthemes –

Global Economy: Is Protectionism the Future?
International Security: Back to Realpolitik?
Evolving Role of Diasporic Communities
Immigration and Multiculturalism at the Crossroads
Remapping Gender Beyond Globalisation
Perils & Possibilities for Developing Countries in a Changing World: Perspectives of Africa, Asia and Latin America
Globalism vs Nationalism: Trends and Prospects
Territorial Frontiers and Borders of the Mind: Limits of Cosmopolitanism
Transnational Social Movements: Present and Future
Send your abstracts of 350 words and a biographic note of 200 words as a single MS Word document to : conference.dpg.cuk@gmail.com

Venue of the Conference:

Department of Politics & Governance, Central University of Kashmir

Nowgam Campus-2, Nowgam Bypass, Srinagar, Kashmir, Jammu & Kashmir, India-190015

Important Dates

Last Date for Submission of Abstract: July 1, 2017

Notification of Selected Abstracts: July 7, 2017

Submission of Full Papers: September 12, 2017

All selected papers will be published as part of Conference Proceedings.

Contact Info:
Dr. Abhiruchi Ojha
Conference Convener & Assistant Professor
Department of Politics & Governance
Central University of Kashmir
Email: conference.dpg.cuk@gmail.com
Contact Email:
conference.dpg.cuk@gmail.com

CFP: Research Workshop “Multiplicity of Divisions: Boundaries and Borders of the Habsburg, Ottoman, and Russian Empires in the 19th-early 20th Century” (Kharkiv, Ukraine, September 28-29, 2017)

On the theme of imperial borders and boundaries in Eurasia, see this recent call for papers for a workshop to be held at Hryhoriy Skovoroda Kharkiv National Pedagogical University in Kharkiv, Ukraine. The workshop will focus on the Habsburg, Ottoman, and Russian Empires in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries:

The workshop will serve as a platform for discussions on the imperial past of East Central Europe and the Black Sea Region in terms of boundaries and borders. The organizers invite researchers to join the discussion about the demarcation lines between the states, regions, the urban and the rural, languages, narratives, religions, nations, and social groups. The workshop will focus on the issues of mutual interaction between borders and boundaries and the communities they are found in. The participants are expected to offer papers based on approaches of post-colonial and borderlands studies, new imperial and transnational history.

We seek contributions in particular on the following topics. This list is not normative and
abstracts on other related topics will also be considered:

Subjects and objects of divisionsAntagonism between the center and the periphery
Dynamics of boundaries and borders
Divisions between “us”, “them” and “others”
Spatial and spaceless divisions
Constructing and deconstructing the boundaries and borders
Overcoming boundaries and borders
The application shall include an academic CV, an abstract of the presentation (max 300 words) and contact details. Please, submit your applications to ethnickh@gmail.com before July 10, 2017. Should you fail to receive confirmation on receipt of your application, please, contact the organizers.

Participation in the workshop is free of charge. Organizers provide for accommodation and catering for participants during the workshop. However, organizers are limited in budget to cover travel expenses for the participants. We shall appreciate if you can cover your own travel expenses from the funds of your universities or institutions. Please, notify organizers in your application whether you need travel expenses to be reimbursed.

Workshop organizers:
Artem Kharchenko (Kharkiv) ethnickh@gmail.com
Oleksii Chebotarov (Lviv / St. Gallen) ochebotaryov@gmail.com
Center for Interethnic Relations Research in Eastern Europe
Center for Governance and Culture in Europe at the University of St. Gallen
History Faculty, Hryhoriy Skovoroda Kharkiv National Pedagogical University

Contacts:
EMAIL: ethnickh@gmail.com
URL: ethnickh.wordpress.com

Contact Email: ethnickh@gmail.com
URL: http://ethnickh.wordpress.com

CFP: Our World of Water: Histories of the Hydrosphere (Georgetown, November 4, 2017)

For graduate students interested in global histories of water and the environment, the Department of History at Georgetown University has issued a call for papers for a conference to be held on November 4 this year:

The Department of History at Georgetown University invites paper proposals from graduate students for a one-day conference on water-related environmental histories. The conference seeks to bring together students who share common research interests in water and the environment. The conference aims to consider water-based histories in the broadest sense, welcoming proposals with content ranging from irrigation to ocean basins, anywhere in the world and at any time period. Submissions are welcome from students working in any discipline, so long as their work involves change over time, humans, and water. Accepted proposals will be grouped into three moderated panels, each followed by a roundtable discussion between presenters, commentators, and the audience. The conference aims to serve as an intensive training session for participating students to present and receive feedback on their ongoing work (e.g. dissertation chapters and journal articles) from senior scholars and faculty members.

Application Process and Deadlines

Interested students should submit an abstract (up to 300 words) along with a brief curriculum vitae to Matthew Johnson (mpj16@georgetown.edu) by June 30, 2017. Successful applicants will be notified by early July and asked to submit a full version of their papers (between ten and thirty pages) for pre-circulation to conference attendees and commentators by September 23.

Additional Information

Georgetown University will cover the costs of hotel accommodation (two nights) for admitted applicants for the duration of the conference. Attendees are expected to cover their own transportation and other travel related expenses. However, admitted students can choose to substitute their accommodation coverage for a $200 reimbursement towards transportation costs. If there are any further questions, please contact Matthew Johnson at mpj16@georgetown.edu.

For updates and information on last year’s conference, please visit our website (www.georgetownenvironmentalhistory.org).

CFP: Empires: Towards a Global History (Delhi, 3-5 December 2017)

From our friends at the Weatherhead Initiative on Global History comes this stimulating call for papers for a conference charting a truly global history of empire:

 

The proposed conference is premised on the idea that empires drew their strength from a global systemic architecture of hegemony and dominance. The objective of the conference is designed to emphasize how imperial interactions served to reinforce empires within their global scaffolding. “Towards a Global History of Empires” seeks to delineate different strands and interconnected themes that explain both empires’ persistence as well as their mutations over time.

The themes that we propose for the conference shall include:

Political construction of empires and their dissolution
Circulation within and between empires of ideas, techniques, institutions
Circulation of goods and trade links between empires
Movement of people within and between empires
Empires as discursive formations
Plural cultures and imperial centers
Micro history and empire
We invite papers addressing the above themes from all periods of history. We are looking for work that looks at empire from a global history approach that emphasizes connections and encourages comparisons. Advanced research students as well as senior scholars are invited to apply for the conference.

Coordination:

Department of History, University of Delhi, India

Weatherhead Initiative on Global History, Harvard University, USA

Support: Department of History (UGC-Centre of Advanced Study), University of Delhi; Volkswagen Foundation , Germany; and Weatherhead Initiative on Global History, Harvard University.

Contact Info:
Jessica Barnard

Program Administrator, Weatherhead Initiative on Global History

Harvard University