CFP: Historians Without Borders – Writing Histories of International Organizations (Leiden, March 2018)

The European Research Council project “Rethinking Disability” has organized a conference meant to bring together early career researchers working on international organizations together to discuss the methodological challenges of integrating their work on the subject with various forms of global history. “Historians Without Borders: Writing Histories of International Organizations” will take place in Leiden from 22-23 March 2018 and include a master class, keynote speeches, and roundtable discussions. Confirmed speakers include Davide Rodogno of the Graduate Institute Geneva, who will run the event’s master class.

The conference seeks to move beyond “methodological nationalism,” by which it means the increasing balkanization of subfields beyond national histories into transnational, world, and global histories, among others:

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).

The conference is, specifically, seeking contributions that meditate on the methodological divides between different subspecies of global, world, and transnational histories – and how each of these relate to international organizations.

An abstract of 500 words, along with a brief CV, is due for submission to by 13 November 2017, and decisions will be rendered by 20 November. Questions may be addressed to the same email. A short draft of the intended presentation paper will be expected two weeks prior to the event. Acceptance of a paper will also imply acceptance into the master class.

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