(image source: Routledge)
This volume delivers a history of internationalism at the League of Nations and the United Nations (UN), with a focus on the period from the 1920s to the 1970s, when the nation-state ascended to global hegemony as a political formation. Combining global, regional and local scaes of analysis, the essays presented here provide an interpretation of the two institutions — and their complex interrelationship — that is planetary in scale but also pioneeringly multi-local. Our central argument is that although the League and the UN shaped internationalism from the centre, they were themselves moulded just as powerfully by internationalisms that welled up globally, far beyond Geneva and New York City. The contributions are organised into three broad thematic sections, the first focused on the production of norms, the second on the development of expertise and the third on the global re-ordering of empire. By showing how the ruptures and continuities between the two international organisations have shaped the content and format of what we now refer to as ‘global governance’, the collection determinedly sets the Cold War and the emergence of the Third World into a single analytical frame alongside the crisis of empire after World War One and the geopolitics of the Great Depression. Each of these essays reveals how the League of Nations and the United Nations provided a global platform for formalising and proliferating political ideas and how the two institutions generated new spectrums of negotiation and dissidence and re-codified norms. As an ensemble, the book shows how the League of Nations and the United Nations constructed and progressively re-fashioned the basic building blocks of international society right across the twentieth century. Developing the new international history’s view of the League and UN as dynamic, complex forces, the book demonstrates that both organisations should be understood to have played an active role, not just in mediating a world of empires and then one of nation-states, but in forging the many principles and tenets by which international society is structured.On the editors:
Simon Jackson is Lecturer in Modern Middle Eastern History at the University of Birmingham, where he directs the Centre for Modern & Contemporary History. He is completing a book on the political economy of French empire in Syria and Lebanon after World War One, and researching another, on the origins of the global food production system in late colonial rule. His work has appeared in Humanity, Monde(s) and the Arab Studies Journal. Alanna O’Malley is Assistant Professor of History & International Relations at Leiden University. She is the author of The Diplomacy of Decolonisation, America, Britain and the United Nations during the Congo crisis 1960-64, which was published by Manchester University Press in 2018.She has been a Kathleen Fitzpatrick Visiting Fellow at the University of Sydney and a Fulbright Scholar at the Department of History at George Washington University. She is currently working on a new project, which examines the impact of the Global South on the United Nations 1955-1981.