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Workshop: Making a Case for Internationalism

Organizer: Ilaria Scaglia (Volkswagen Fellow at the Dahlem Humanities Center)

The workshop “Making a Case for Internationalism” will explore the historical relevance of international cooperation in the twentieth century and into the present.

In recent years, numerous scholars have demonstrated the importance of institutions such as the League of Nations and of internationalism as a broad set of ideas and practices, and have shed light on the 1920s and 1930s as a crucial moment when concerns about drawing connections with other countries became of paramount importance for a wide range of people and institutions. Yet, despite this “revisionist” literature, both from a historical and a historiographical standpoint, internationalism continues to suffer from an “image problem.”  In the interwar period, internationalists often struggled to gain and maintain trust and credibility.  As a subject for historical inquiry and in public discourse, internationalism (particularly in its cultural and transnational aspects) has frequently been “feminized” as a supposedly weaker—and therefore less relevant—topic.  Also, as Patricia Clavin and Glenda Sluga have articulated in their introduction to a landmark edited volume (Cambridge, 2017), “internationalisms” were often inaccurately labeled as “utopian,” “idealist,” and fundamentally “good”—all adjectives coded as “feminine” and “weak.”  Indeed, the problem remains of how to understand both the historical and the historiographical dynamics that shaped the history and the image of internationalism, and how to integrate internationalism in broader historical narratives of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. 

Seven distinguished speakers in the field of internationalism are invited to address these issues when exploring the subject of their studies and when engaging both the scholarly community and the public at large.

The workshop is open to the public. For further information, please contact the workshop organizer Ilaria Scaglia: scaglia@zedat.fu-berlin.de

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