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New Book on International Organisations

19. Nov. 2014

“Networking the International System. Global Histories of International Organizations” is the title of a new book edited by Prof. Madeleine Herren-Oesch. It is part of the Cluster’s book series “Transcultural Research – Heidelberg Studies on Asia and Europe in a Global Context”.

The book critically investigates the local impact of international organisations beyond a Western rationale and aims to overcome Eurocentric patterns of analysis. Considering Asian and Western examples, the contributions originate from different disciplines and discuss a global approach, which has been a blind spot in scholarly research on international organisations until now. Using the 1930s as a historical reference, the contributions question the role of international organisations during conflicts, wars, and crises, gaining insights into their function as peacekeeping forces in the 21st century. While chapter one discusses the historicity of international organisations and the availability of sources, the second chapter deliberates on Eurocentrism and science policy, considering the converging of newly created epistemic communities and old diplomatic elites. Chapter 3 sheds light on international organisations as platforms, expanding the field of research from the diversity of organisations to the patterns of global governance. The final chapter turns to the question of how international organisations invented and introduced new fields of action, pointing to the antithetic role of standardization, the preservation of cultural heritage and the difficulties in reaching a non-Western approach.

The book "Networking the International System. Global Histories of International Organizations” has been published in 2014 by the science publishing company Springer. It is part of the Cluster’s book series "Transcultural Research – Heidelberg Studies on Asia and Europe in a Global Context". The series presents peer-reviewed books by members of the Cluster as well as scholars from both historical and empirical disciplines who are working on new emerging fields that cross existing disciplinary boundaries.

Prof. Dr. Madeleine Herren-Oesch was Director of the Cluster from 2007 to 2012 and is now Professor of Modern History and Director of the Institute for European Global Studies of the University of Basel. She has coordinated several projects in the Cluster.


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