All posts by Aden Knaap

CFP: After Socialism: Forgotten Legacies and Possible Futures in Africa and Beyond (October 13-14, 2017, Bayreuth)

For readers interested in global histories of socialism and development, see this call for papers for a conference to be held from October 13-14, 2017 at the University of Bayreuth:

After years of neglect, a burgeoning scholarship has recently emerged on African socialism, Second-Third World relations, anti-colonial radicalism, and state-directed modernization. This new research turn has productively revisited the history of socialism in the postcolonial world from various angles to reassess its historical dimensions and significance.

This workshop builds on this scholarship with the aim of pushing this broad investigation further. We seek to explore the intellectual transformations that have occurred since the end of “scientific”, “African” or “Arab” socialisms—political ideologies that were once confident, but have since faded. Though neither a universal red line nor a mono-causal explanation exists, this decline gained momentum during the 1980s through growing disillusionment with socialist experiments and the New International Economic Order, the promising luster of East Asian economic achievements, China’s gradual turn to capitalism, and, finally, the collapse of the Eastern bloc and the Soviet Union, which dealt the strongest blow. This demise of a socialist utopianism left a big void. And yet the socialist option has remained an approach and strategy at the grassroots level, as seen in popular movements in the United States, Europe, Africa, and Asia against growing discontent over forms of ultra-nationalism and global inequality.

In light of these past and present considerations, the workshop intends to address two sets of questions.

The first aims to study how political actors, social groups, intellectuals, and artists experienced these developments during the Cold War period, reacted to their demise, and, at times, reinvented themselves after the end of the Cold War. We are particularly interested in investigating conversions from socialism to new futures or alternative utopias, including the options of religion, human rights, liberal/social democracy, and more broadly within the field of culture. We seek to understand these new rationales as embedded in particular historical settings. What new ideas and futures that filled the void of socialism and how did they relate to it? And how did socialism – for some a political religion, for others a secular master narrative – pave the way for what came next? How were these shifts reflected in the academia, the media, literature, and arts? Furthermore, we seek to examine whether the demise of forward-looking, future-oriented political ideologies, like socialism, fostered a change in time regimes and temporal orders in a broader sense.

For instance, did linear notions of time lose currency? Or did they remain in force, but geared toward another “end of history”? Was the space of the future and its horizon of expectations diminished in favor of the present, or of the past? To what extent were these changes in time regimes transnational or a global phenomenon? Beyond these questions related to temporal orders, we are also interested in concurrent geographical orders (respatializations) triggered by these wide-ranging processes.

A second set of questions focuses on the afterlives of socialism. On the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the Russian Revolution, this component of the workshop intends to reflect on the broader impact of the Revolution through Third World socialisms. Despite later disillusionment, Third World socialisms left an important and sometimes unexpected legacy. The democratic movement, Le balai citoyen, which brought down the corrupt government of Burkina Faso in 2014, drew inspiration from the socialist icon of Thomas Sankara. The Kurdish fight for democratic federalism in the Middle East and for the emancipation of women, which has historically drawn and still draws on Leninism, is another important example. Besides these political afterlives in social and national liberation movements, we encourage participating scholars to think of other connections and their complex legacies within present-day struggles for democracy and human rights, education and economic justice, as well as in the realm of popular culture, literature and arts. The question of socialist legacies and representation in current political, social, and cultural movements is a central topic, be it as fragmented symbols, such as the red beret in South Africa’s Economic Freedom Fighters party, or as direct reference to political icons such as Samora Machel and the usage of his speeches as mobile ring tone.

Following the path of our fellow historians and cultural scientists of Sudan (South Atlantic Quarterly 109, 2010), we wish to pursue the question: “What’s Left of the Left?”.

Practical information – Calendar

Abstracts (max. 500 words) and full papers (8,000-10,000 words including references) may be submitted both in English and in French to aftersocialism@yahoo.com. The workshop language will be English. The papers will be published in a special volume in the first half of 2018. Accommodation and travel costs will be covered (tickets may exceptionally be booked) by the Bayreuth Academy for Advanced African Studies.

Abstracts (max. 500 words, in English or in French) should be emailed to aftersocialism@yahoo.com by April 30 . Accommodation and travel costs will be covered by the Bayreuth Academy for Advanced African Studies.

CFP: Spaces of Interaction between the Socialist Camp and the Global South. Knowledge Production, Trade, and Scientific-Technical Cooperation in the Cold War Era (Leipzig, October 26-27 2017)

For readers interested in East-South relations during the global Cold War, see this call for papers for a conference to be held at the University of Leipzig from October 26-27 2017:

International studies on Cold War history have overcome the simplified model of two superpower–dominated blocs defined by a rivalry along an impenetrable Iron Curtain. Transnational history approaches have reintroduced the explanatory axis of an economic divide between the Global North and the Global South. Other than in previous Cold War approaches, the (semi-)peripheries have taken centre stage. The recent debate has highlighted the significance of relations between Soviet bloc and developing countries in shaping the spatial order of the Cold War. “Socialist globalization” has become an integral part of the global post-war economic expansion. Contributing to this debate, our conference will focus on concrete spaces of economic East-South interactions. Transnational hubs, institutions, and infrastructures will be taken as a starting point to identify actors, interests, and power relations.

The conference is organized by Project B3 “East-South Relations during the Global Cold War”, which is part of the Collaborative Research Centre (SFB) 1199: “Processes of Spatialization under the Global Condition” at the University of Leipzig. The SFB is developing a historical narrative about the change of spatial orders under global conditions and a systematic approach that establishes a typology of spatial formats by exploring different scales of territories, networks, chains, enclaves, corridors, (special) zones, as well as the various indications of virtual and transnational spaces. Within this framework, Project B3 “East-South Relations in the Global Cold War” aims to challenge Cold War perspectives that take “Moscow’s” hegemony and centralized control by national communist parties for granted. To this end, the project asks to what degree were the borders of the Soviet bloc actually blurred and redrawn as a result of relations and interactions between the socialist camp and the Global South (with a special focus on African countries).

In what we call “spaces of interaction”, we intend to examine contact and exchanges of actors from the Soviet bloc and from the Global South. These spaces, to a certain extent, emerged and functioned beyond – or at the margins of – national control and opened up pathways into “the world”. Examples include, but are not limited to, ports, transport ships and fishing vessels, international train traffic infrastructure, construction sites, trade fairs, stock markets, joint multinational enterprises, international banks, international economic organizations, scientific conferences, international expert journals, etc.

We invite speakers to present research on such tangible spaces. Taking these examples as a starting point, we would like to discuss how in (the making of) these spaces different scales such as the local, the national, the bloc, and the global were intertwined and to what extent they became platforms of competition and of negotiation of interests between different actors. Furthermore, we want to discuss in which way the “global condition” played out and was addressed there. The guiding questions are the following: Who were the protagonists of these interactions and what were their interests and motives? How did they choose or create such spaces of interaction? Did these spaces become a relevant platform for negotiating different interests? To what extent did the interactions replicate seemingly dominant spatial order of the global Cold War? Did they blur or redraw the borders of the dominant spatial formats – that is to say the bloc and the nation-state?

The conference is organized into three main sections:
-Section 1 “Knowledge production” deals with the transfers of models of development and more generally of economic knowledge in fora of experts, ranging from scientific conferences to expert journals to international organizations.
-Section 2 “Trade and its infrastructures” looks at the exchange of goods and capital between socialist and “Third World” states and more specifically focuses on the infrastructures of international trade from transport facilities to trade fairs to negotiation rounds about trade contracts as a meeting point of the “Second” and “Third World”.
-Section 3 “Scientific-technical cooperation/Development aid” examines the sites of negotiations over and the realization of technical assistance, which consisted of large construction projects, more decentralized developmental measures in rural areas, and the training of specialists.

While we are aware of the overlap between the three topics, we think that a discussion about the dividing line between trade and assistance, for example, will be fruitful for developing a better understanding of the tension in the socialist states’ foreign economic activities between political claims of an “internationalist solidarity”, on the one hand, and economic interests, on the other. We especially welcome proposals focused on the interconnections of European socialist countries with African states. A roundtable discussion about the role of socialist countries in the UN project of a “New International Economic Order” (NIEO) with experts who participated in the NIEO-debate in the 1970s will be held on the first evening of the conference.

Proposals with title of the presentation, abstracts of 200 to 400 words, as well as information about the status and progress of the research project and affiliation of the participant should be submitted to Bence Kocsev, bence.kocsev@uni-leipzig.de by 30 April 2017. The selected participants will be notified by mid-May 2017. Although funding opportunities for travel and accommodation are expected to be available to a certain extent, we ask potential contributors to explore funding opportunities at their home institutions as well.
Working language of the conference is English. A selection of contributions will be published in a collective volume. We will ask contributors to send short draft papers (10 pages max.) at the beginning of October in order to circulate them among participants in advance.

CFP: On the Matter of Blackness in Europe: Transnational Perspectives (University of California, Santa Barbara 4-5 May 2017)

For scholars interested in the transnational history of blackness, see this call for papers for a conference at the University of California, Santa Barbara to be held from 4-5 May 2017:

The presence of Black people in Europe dates back to the early medieval period. Since then, Black people in Europe have contributed significantly to the archives of radical Black epistemologies in various ways. Within this contribution, distinct points of departures exist with regards to socio-historical conditions and divergences of anti-blackness in European nation states. However, academic scholarship on the articulations and formations of Blackness in Europe have gained more attention in the last decades. Recently, the multiplicities of European Blackness (as ontology, identity, and/or alignment) are often subsumed under the framing of “Black Europe.” The attention given to this area of study is due in part to the resistance of Black people rendered non-citizen within Fortress Europe, urban insurrections in the aftermath of police killings of Black youth in Paris and London—as well as other cities in European countries—mobilizations against anti-black imagery, and representations in public spaces such as those against Zwarte Piete in the Netherlands.

The symposium “On the Matter of Blackness in Europe: Transnational Perspectives,” which will take place at the University of California, Santa Barbara 4-5 May 2017, aims to trace the articulations of transnational Black solidarities and struggles for Black lives in the European context by foregrounding less explored paradigms of Black formations, creations, improvisations and Black struggles throughout Europe and beyond, putting a focus on the multiplicities of what has become taken for granted in contemporary discussions of “Black Europe.” With the aim of dismantling the homogeneity of the Black transnational experience in European contexts while simultaneously attending to how the various struggles for Black lives unfold, we will engage with lived experiences of Blackness and Black political struggles in various European contexts and geopolitical dynamics. Further, the symposium will interrogate the power relations at work within academic scholarship that determines what becomes monolithically referred to as “Black Europe.”

This call is for junior scholars, early career researchers, and/or independent researchers to present and discuss their respective research projects, either on panels or on roundtables to enact intergenerational, transnational and collective discussions. We invite proposals for papers and roundtable presentations that address any of the following:

What can Blackness mean in/for Europe?
How have contemporary contributions to the transnational continuations of the Black radical tradition been brought to bear in various European contexts?
How do various Black struggles unfold in the face of genocidal border regimes, urban policing and surveillance, neoliberal austerity policies and the current rise of right-wing extremism and Islamophobia?
What geographies and elements of Blackness or Black diasporic identity are privileged in European discourses and how can we unsettle these asymmetries?
How do marginalized experiences of Blackness within Europe, especially the interventions of Black Muslims, LGBTQI*, and/or those rendered non-citizen (e.g., refugees or asylum seekers), challenge one-dimensional conceptualizations of Blackness. How can we be more accountable in centering them?
Which kind of Black aesthetics, creative formations and emancipatory poesis are challenging the colonial legacies of Europe?
How does Blackness shape and reconfigure space and how is Black place-making maneuvered alongside the intersectional lines of postcolonial urbanism?
How do the politics of Black Lives Matter travel to and depart from these contexts? What can BLM mean in contexts that do not meaningfully contend with “race” as a recognized category of difference and subordination?

300 word abstracts including affiliation and a short bio should be sent by 20 March to Vanessa Thompson and SA Smythe at blacknessmatterseurope@gmail.com.

GLOBAL/UNIVERSAL HISTORY: A WARNING

From our friends over at the blog of the Journal of the History of Ideas comes Disha Karnad Jani’s reply to TPF Trustee Jeremy Adelman’s essay. Jani writes:

In reading this version of global history through Buck-Morss’s Hegel, Haiti and Universal History, I have tried to suggest that we make ourselves unhelpfully vulnerable as historians when we drive the stakes of our narratives into shifting sands. I am not suggesting here that global historians did not, or do not, see the complications or limitations of the approach. As I noted above, there are many ways to write global history, and hindsight will always see blind spots and stumbling blocks more clearly than those who were writing histories even a short while ago. I have been concerned here with a very specific feature of this field: a mission to write a story of the past shaped by an occluded and willfully blind cohesion. Orienting an historical approach around an assumption about the future “progress” of the world does little more than make us prone to hasty retreat as soon as that future is jeopardized by the caprice of the “real world.” In Buck-Morss and in Adelman’s essay, I read a warning. If a single, redeeming, and final world-historical force ever calls out to you, either plug your ears with wax or tie yourself to the mast, because there are other, more distant calls the siren song is doubtless drowning out.

TPF Trustee Jeremy Adelman on the Future of Global History

In an article published today in Aeon magazine, TPF trustee Jeremy Adelman asks the question “What is Global History Now?” Reflecting on the future of global history, he wonders:

What is to become of this approach to the past, one that a short time ago promised to re-image a vintage discipline? What would global narratives look like in the age of an anti-global backlash? Does the rise of ‘America First’, ‘China First’, ‘India First’ and ‘Russia First’ mean that the dreams and work of globe-narrating historians were just a bender, a neo-liberal joyride?

Ultimately, Adelman presses for the continued need for global history, but one that is as attentive to disunity as it is to unity:

This does not make global history less pressing. On the contrary. One of the ironies is that the anti-globalism movement is immersed in transnational mutual adoration networks. The day after the Brexit plebiscite, Trump travelled to the UK to reopen his golf resort. The British had ‘taken back their country’, he told the bristle of microphones, then returned home to Make America Great Again. Le Pen’s excitement about Trump is well-known. Fyodor V Biryukov, head of Rodina, the Russian Motherland Party, calls this swarm ‘a new global revolution’. It was, we should recall, the global financial crisis of 2008-9 that did the most to ravage the hopes of one-world dreamers, emanating from the sector that had gone furthest to fuse Westerners and Resterners while creating deeper divides at home: banking.

In short, we need narratives of global life that reckon with disintegration as well as integration, the costs and not just the bounty of interdependence. They might not do well on the chirpy TED-talk circuit, compete with Friedman’s unbridled faith in borderless technocracy, or appeal much to Davos Man. But if we are going to come to terms with the deep histories of global transformations, we need to remind ourselves of one of the historian’s crafts, and listen to the other half of the globe, the tribalists out there and right here, talking back.

CFP: Heritage Across Borders: Association of Critical Heritage Studies 4th Biennial Conference (Hangzhou, China, September 1-6 2018)

For readers interested in frontiers and borders, with a particular focus on heritage studies, here’s a call for papers for the 2018 Association of Critical Heritage Studies conference to be held in Hangzhou, China:

The global rise of heritage studies and the heritage industry in recent decades has been a story of crossing frontiers and transcending boundaries. The 2018 Association of Critical Heritage Studies conference, held in Hangzhou, China, thus takes ‘borders’ as a broadly defined, yet key, concept for better understanding how heritage is valued, preserved, politicised, mobilised, financed, planned and destroyed. Thinking through borders raises questions about theories of heritage, its methodologies of research, and where its boundaries lie with tourism, urban development, post-disaster recovery, collective identities, climate change, memory or violent conflict. Held in the city of Hangzhou, China, Heritage Across Borders will be the largest ever international conference in Asia dedicated to the topic of heritage. It has been conceived to connect international participants with local issues, and in so doing open up debates about the rural-urban, east-west, tangible-intangible and other familiar divides.

Borders tell us much about the complex role heritage plays in societies around the world today. Historically speaking, physical and political borders have led to ideas about enclosed cultures, and a language of cultural property and ownership which marches forward today in tension alongside ideals of universalism and the cosmopolitan. More people are moving across borders than ever before, with vastly different motivations and capacities. What role can heritage studies play in understanding the experiences of migrants or the plight of refugees? And what heritage futures do we need to anticipate as the pressures of international tourism seem to relentlessly grow year by year?

Heritage Across Borders will consider how the values of heritage and approaches to conservation change as objects, experts, and institutions move across frontiers. It will ask how new international cultural policies alter creation, performance, and transmission for artists, craftspersons, musicians, and tradition-bearers.

What are the frontiers of cultural memory in times of rapid transformation? How can museums engage with increasingly diverse audiences by blurring the distinctions between the affective and representational? And do digital reproductions cross important ethical boundaries?

One of the key contributions of critical heritage studies has been to draw attention to the role of heritage in constructing and operationalising boundaries and borders of many kinds-national, social, cultural, ethnic, economic and political. In what ways do international flows of capital rework indigenous and urban cultures, and reshape nature in ways that redefine existing boundaries?

We especially welcome papers that challenge disciplinary boundaries and professional divides, and explore cross-border dialogues. What lessons can be learned from Asia where the distinctions between the tangible and intangible are less well marked? And how can researchers bridge cultural and linguistic barriers to better understand these nuances?

Organised by Zhejiang University this major international conference will be held in Hangzhou, China on 1-6 September 2018. We welcome session proposals which address the conference theme of boundaries and borders, and cluster around the following suggested sub-themes:

Subthemes:
Heritage Trafficking

Negotiating linguistic borders

Heritage and human/non-human relations

Museums challenging boundaries

Crossing the indigenous/non-indigenous divide

The heritage of diaspora and refugees

The planned and unplanned spaces of heritage

Boundaries of digital reproduction

Memory and forgetting

Geographies of Craft

Asia and the world

Extraterritorial heritage

Heritage across disciplines

Nations, Regions, Territories

Theorising heritage as border

Tangible and intangible

Connecting the rural and urban

China and the region (One Belt One road)

Cross cultural methodologies

Nature-cultures

Cross border conflicts and cooperation

Bridging practice and academia

Past/present/future

Gender and heritage

Regular Sessions will be allocated one or more standard blocks of 1.5 hours, which will usually consist of four papers of 20 minutes duration (normally 15 minutes for each paper with 5 minutes following each paper for discussion and the remaining ten minutes in each block used for introductory and concluding remarks). Proposals for regular sessions should include the following details:
session type (i.e. regular session);

a session title;

the names, affiliations and contact details of one or more session organisers/co-organisers;

up to 300 word session abstract;

a list of confirmed speakers, contact details and paper titles;

an indication of whether the session will be closed or open to advertisement for further participation via the conference website when we call for individual paper submissions.

Panel Discussions will be allocated a standard block of 1.5 hours and will normally consist of a discussion amongst a group of 4-5 panellists around a specific set of questions or themes. Proposals for panel discussions should include the following details:
session type (i.e. panel discussion);

a panel title;

the names, affiliations and contact details of one or more panel session organisers/co-organisers;

up to 300 word panel session abstract;

a list of 4-5 confirmed speakers and their affiliations and contact details.

Please send your session proposals to the following email address: 2018achs@zju.edu.cn by the 31st of March, 2017.

For more information, visit the conference website: http://www.2018achs.com/#/.

CFP: Rethinking the World Order: International Law and International Relations at the End of the First World War (Oxford, 31 August – 1 September 2017)

For readers working at the intersection of international law and international relations, here’s a thought-provoking call for applications. The workshop is being convened by the European Studies Centre (ESC) at St Antony’s College, Oxford from 31 August to 1 September 2017:

The horrors of the Great War and the desire for peace shaped scholarship in International Law and International Relations (IR) during the late 1910s—a stimulating time for both disciplines. Scholars observed and analysed political events as they unfolded but also took an active part, as governmental advisors or diplomatic officials, in devising the new international order. The Paris Peace Conference and the subsequent birth of the League of Nations as well as the Permanent Court of International Justice served as testing grounds for new legal and political concepts. The end of the First World War was in many ways a milestone for both disciplines, prompting scholars to reflect on the consequences of the war on society, politics, and the world economy. How could another world war be avoided in the future? How could states be held accountable for violations of international law? What were the preconditions for peaceful international governance? These questions led to pioneering research on issues such as arbitration, sanctions, revision of treaties, supra-national governance, disarmament, self-determination, migration, and the protection of minorities. At the same time, the study of International Law and IR also advanced in terms of methodology and teaching, including new professorships, journals, conferences and research centres.

A century later, it is a good moment to reflect upon disciplinary histories and revisit some of the theoretical and practical debates that shaped the period from 1914 to 1945. The workshop conveners are particularly (but not exclusively) interested in the following research questions:

Was the First World War a watershed moment for the development of International Law and IR?
Which were the key debates in both disciplines? And how can they be re-interpreted today?
What were the connections and/or dividing lines between the two disciplines?
Did International Law and IR evolve similarly across different countries?
Who were the principle actors, both individuals and institutions, in the respective fields?
Which role did International Law and IR respectively play in shaping ‘real-world’ policy? And to what extent were theoretical developments shaped by political events?
How did ideas float between academia and politics?
How successful were non-governmental organisations—such as academic societies, arbitration clubs, political pressure groups, League of Nations clubs, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), etc.—in achieving their goals?
The two-day interdisciplinary workshop will be held at the European Studies Centre (ESC) at St Antony’s College, Oxford from 31 August to 1 September 2017. We invite abstracts from early career researchers and advanced postgraduate students in history, law, IR and other related disciplines to share their research in a multi-disciplinary environment. By facilitating this exchange we hope to open new avenues of research and to encourage new approaches to the history of both disciplines. We are planning to have six panels, one keynote address, and an open plenary session that allows all participants to pitch their research projects.

Interested early career researchers and advanced postgraduate students in history, law, IR and other related disciplines should submit their proposal (including a title, 300 words abstract, and a short bio) to Jan Stöckmann at jan.stoeckmann@new.ox.ac.uk by 31 March 2017.

Predoctoral fellowships, Yale University

Enrolled in a PhD program and working on a doctoral dissertation in the areas of history, political science, or related disciplines? Yale University is advertising two predoctoral fellowships: the Smith Richardson Foundation Predoctoral Fellowship in International History, and the Henry A. Kissinger Predoctoral Fellowship.  Applications are due 15 March 2017. For more information, follow the links above.

CFP: The 9/11 Legacy: “History is Not Was, History Is” (New York City, June 15-16, 2017)

For scholars of the US in the world,  here’s a call for papers on the legacies of 9/11 to be held on the former site of the World Trade Center itself:

This conference to be held at the National September 11 Memorial & Museum on the former World Trade Center site will explore the broader legacy of 9/11. We seek panel and paper proposals – both traditional and novel, empirical and conceptual – that consider the myriad ways that the events of September 11, 2001, continue to inform the past, the present and the future: both in the United States and around the world.

This was the most globally witnessed event in history and one that led to the longest war in the history of the United States. What, then, are the legacies that ripple out from the memorial fountains here in lower Manhattan across the city, the country, and the globe? As William Faulkner observed, “History is not was, history is.” How has the event of “9/11” reverberated in our understanding of the past and in more contemporary social, political, and cultural life; in the economy, in war and peace, surveillance and security, the geopolitics of the Middle East, the refugee crisis and in the debates over identity, memory and sacred space? What historical processes might we trace – either backwards or forwards – from September 11, 2001? What news headlines can we connect to 9/11 in meaningful and instructive ways: Paris, Orlando, Istanbul, the Arab Spring, Aleppo, the death of Syrian refugee child Alan Kurdi, Edward Snowden, Russia, the 2016 U.S. presidential election, the list goes on…

We welcome proposals that consider the ways in which, to quote Mark Redfield in The Rhetoric of Terror, a “new history begins here at this calendrical ground zero.”

Topics might include (but are not limited to):

9/11 and historiography
9/11 and periodization
Memory and memorialization
Sacred and contested spaces
“America in the world”
The conflicts in the Middle East and South Asia
Acts of terror around the globe since 9/11
The changing face of terrorism
The changing face of warfare and nation-building
Intelligence, surveillance and counter-terrorism
Para-legality, states of exception and rendition
Nationalism, identity, “self “and “other”
Human rights, civil liberties and conceptions of “freedom”
Shifts in cultural production and representation since 9/11
The media, social media and the “image” of terror
The academy, museums and cultural institutions
The return of religion
The refugee crisis
Discussions of time and space; home and homeland
We especially seek interdisciplinary panel and paper proposals that draw on the intersections between these topics and themes in order to explore the ways in which they might (or might not be) traced back to, or through, 9/11. Do they have a narrative coherence shaped by the forces created that day in September? Or do they operate outside the event, as part of some other inevitable geopolitical shift that we now know only by that name-date even if that shift might have happened anyway?

Scholars, practitioners, curators, graduate students and other professionals are all encouraged to submit paper and panel proposals. To apply, send an abstract of less than 300 words and a CV to 2017conference@911memorial.org. Applications are due April 1, 2017.

CFP: Settlement and Unsettlement: The Ends of World War I and their Legacies (German Historical Institute, Washington, D.C., March 22-24, 2018

Here’s a call for papers on the postwar (un)settlements of World War I, appropriately timed to commemorate the centenary of the 1918 armistice:

The armistice of November 11, 1918, is widely commemorated as the end of World War I, but that event was only part of a protracted process with far-reaching consequences. A series of peace treaties, starting with Brest-Litovsk in 1918 and continuing through Lausanne in 1923, brought the war to a stuttering conclusion. The 1919 Paris Peace Conference and the agreements it produced rank as the most prominent and most controversial aspect of that process. Scholarly debate has long focused on the Paris conference in the context of debates on war guilt, the burdens imposed on defeated Germany, or President Woodrow Wilson’s failure to realize his vision of a liberal world order. This focus was in line with addressing questions such as the rise of fascism, the causes of World War II, or the roots of the Great Depression. Yet the postwar settlements reached far beyond West and Central Europe. They shaped a new global order that, some hoped, would prevent another disastrous global war.

Many consequences of that reorganization are still being felt. The postwar order and the new respect paid to the right of self-determination sparked hopes and expectations while setting up the forces that would deflate them. Regardless of whether the postwar settlements led directly to the renewal of world-wide conflict in the 1930s, as many have charged, they created structures in which the later conflicts arose. A century later, participants in conflicts across the world still trace their grievances back to the pivotal period 1917–1923.

The centenary of the 1918 Armistice in 2018 provides a perfect occasion to reassess the postwar settlement’s global repercussions in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. In light of the fresh scrutiny historians have recently given to the world these settlements created, the time is ripe for such a reassessment. That scrutiny commonly centers on the consequences of the Paris Peace Conference itself, the clash of different visions of an international order in full view of a newly assertive global public. The peace settlements created new forms of international organization and global governance. They spelled the end of centuries-old continental empires—the Habsburg and the Ottoman empires—and stripped Germany of its overseas colonies and important parts of its European territory. They initiated the remaking of the political landscape not only of Europe and the Middle East but also of colonized regions far from the wartime fronts, leading to forced population movements and “minority problems” of an unprecedented kind and scale. Political turmoil in Russia and parts of Central Europe brought about the specter of revolution and triggered Western military interventions in paramilitary conflicts and civil wars. International organizations, above all the League of Nations, came into existence after the war that were intent on overseeing interstates relations and creating political, economic, legal, labor, and other codes to regulate them. At the same time, a wide range of groups resisted the postwar political order and advocated alternative systems of sovereignty and sources of power.

With the Armistice, the idea of national self-determination began its global career as a pivotal principle of world order as it fed hopes of peoples around the world for an end to alien rule. The Wilsonian program inspired and mobilized people as far from the negotiations in Paris as East Asia. Enduring problems arose from the dismemberment of the Ottoman Empire, and challenges to colonialism evolved in response to the creation of the League of Nations’ Mandates Commission. Disappointment with the international order would fuel conflicts for decades.

Events and decisions linked to the end of World War I continue to resonate throughout the world today. The 1920 Treaty of Trianon, for instance, remains a point of reference in nationalist rhetoric in many of the successor states to the Hapsburg Empire. The refusal by the U.S. Congress to ratify the Treaty of Versailles and to approve membership in the League of Nations is still held up as the textbook example of the country’s deep-seated ambivalence about its role as a world power. The Greek-Turkish “population exchange” sanctioned by the 1923 Treaty of Lausanne initiated a century of mass expulsions. The reorganization of the Middle East into several proto-nation-states sowed the seeds of regional conflicts that now, a century later, seem as firmly rooted as ever.

In view of exciting new and emerging scholarship on the legacies of World War I, the Max Weber Foundation, the German Historical Institute (GHI) in Washington DC, the American Historical Association (AHA) with the National History Center (NHC), and the German Historical Association propose to convene a conference that takes a fresh look at the events of 1917–1923, at the immediate post-Versailles period and at the cultural, social, and political ripples that the postwar settlements sent across the globe in subsequent decades. The conference seeks to reassess the global dimensions of the postwar moment and to examine both the short- and long-term consequences of the end of World War I from comparative and transregional perspectives.

Themes to be discussed at the conference include, but are not limited to:
the suite of treaties and international agreements that sought to bring the military conflicts between belligerent states to an end and their lasting consequences for the states and regions whose boundaries and relations they codified;
the regime of international organizations that were created or strengthened to oversee postwar relations between states, among them the League of Nations, its Mandate Commission, the International Labor Office, the International Red Cross, and the international court in The Hague;
the idea of national self-determination as a founding principle of the postwar world order, its reverberations and consequences in different world regions and for different population groups, and its uses by different groups of actors;
the postwar expansion and transformation of imperial rule by the victorious powers and the struggle against that rule by subject peoples;
the plans for social and economic postwar order and responses to expectations of disadvantaged and disempowered social groups: demobilization and demilitarization, postwar economic order, gender order, etc.

The conference will take place from March 22-24, 2018 in Washington, DC, at the German Historical Institute. The conference language is English. The organizers will cover travel and lodging expenses.

To apply, send a short abstract of no more than 400 words and a brief academic CV with institutional affiliation in one file by March 31, 2017 to hudson@ghi-dc.org. For more more information, see the conference website (https://www.ghi-dc.org/events-conferences/event-history/2018/conferences/settlement-and-unsettlement-the-ends-of-world-war-i-and-their-legacies.html?L=0).