Networking the International System

March 18, 2009
Luncheon at the GHI

Convener: Ines Prodöhl (GHI)

Speaker: Cornelia Knab, Maya Okuda, Christiane Sibille (University of Heidelberg)

On March 18, 2009, the research project "Networking the International System" was presented by three of its research associates at the GHI in form of a lunch talk. The project is part of Heidelberg University's Cluster of Excellence "Asia and Europe in a Global Context" and is supervised by Madeleine Herren. The project centers on international organizations and their interconnected governmental and non-governmental networking in the first half of the twentieth century, with a focus on the League of Nations. International organizations are interpreted as transcultural platforms for the translation of concepts between and within the trans-boundary networks of their participants. The project aims to highlight the historical role of international networking through empirical research and the construction of a database (LONSEA), and thus to contribute to broadening the scope of international history. 

Three sub-projects were presented: Cornelia Knab outlined international cooperation efforts since the late nineteenth century in the fight against trans-boundary animal diseases and epizootics. Maya Okuda discussed the role of Japan within the League of Nations' work in intellectual cooperation. Christiane Sibille focused on cooperation networks within the League of Nations in the field of music. Finally, the project's database and examples of its use were presented. The database aims not only to comprise international organizations, but also to offer a tool to discover their interconnectedness. The ensuing discussion included questions about the nation states' policies within the presented sectors, and about the complex role of the organizational and personal networks with regard to the much-cited "failure" of the League of Nations. 

Ines Prodöhl