Munich Centre for Global History

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International Research Award in Global History 2018 - Conference

Conference: International Organizations and Decolonization in Historical Perspective

25.01.2019 – 26.01.2019


25.1.2019: Historisches Kolleg; Kaulbachstr. 15

26.1.2019: Historicum; Amalienstr. 52; K 001

Membership in the United Nations has almost quadrupled since its founding in 1945, with the vast majority of new states admitted over this period resulting from the collapse of European imperial regimes. The process of decolonization and the expansion of international organizations are among the most momentous developments in modern global history, yet their impact on one another has more often been posited than examined.

The symposium asks what roles international organizations – both inter-governmental and non-governmental – have played in the process of decolonization and how the dissolution of European empires has in turn affected the development of international organizations. It questions the colonial- postcolonial divide in historical scholarship by examining continuities in personnel, expertise, and inequalities and inquires about the ways in which colonial frameworks and the legacies of decolonization continue to inform doctrines and practices of international organizations – for example in the fields of humanitarian relief or development assistance.

Papers will be presented on the following panels: "Debating the Meaning of Decolonization – International Organizations as Venues," "The Imperialism of International Decolonization," "International Organizations as Platforms for Anti-Colonial Struggles," "Shaping Decolonization through Advocacy, Standard Setting, and Law Making," "Decolonizing Knowledge and Expertise," and "Decolonization and Humanitarian Interventions."

Susan Pedersen (Columbia University) will deliver a keynote lecture entitled "Legitimation Crisis: The Italo-Ethiopian Dispute in International Politics."


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