This Week’s Top Picks in Imperial & Global History

Paul Cézanne: ‘Apples and Oranges’, c.1899

Marc-William Palen
History Department, University of Exeter
Follow on Twitter @MWPalen

From why historical analogies matter to the trouble with comparisons, here are this week’s top picks in imperial and global history. Continue reading “This Week’s Top Picks in Imperial & Global History”

This Week’s Top Picks in Imperial & Global History

Marc-William Palen
History Department, University of Exeter
Follow on Twitter @MWPalen

From the myth of Henry Kissinger to the real Lord of the Flies, here are this week’s top picks in imperial and global history. Continue reading “This Week’s Top Picks in Imperial & Global History”

This Week’s Top Picks in Imperial & Global History

Illustration of Herbert Hoover by Oscar Cesare (1929) | Public Domain/Wikimedia Commons

Marc-William Palen
History Department, University of Exeter
Follow on Twitter @MWPalen

From when globalization really began to the end of the global trading system, here are this week’s top picks in imperial and global history. Continue reading “This Week’s Top Picks in Imperial & Global History”

Some reflections on international post-graduate research in the time of coronavirus

Diana Valencia Duarte[1]
University of Exeter

On the 24th March, one of our own Exeter postgraduate researchers wrote this Twitter entry:

My research work is due largely to precarious waste workers in India. Many have lost livelihood. Those still working are vulnerable to #coronavirus exposure. Feels criminal to be academically “productive” right now. F*ck writing, I’m arranging financial support for my informants.

Unlike me, he dared to show how frustrating it is, how wrong it feels to be writing our thesis, using oral testimonies or inputs from real people, who in some distant part of the world could now be in a very tough and complex situation due to the current corona-crisis.

Our Uni has been amazingly supportive, our supervisors and directives, the doctoral college, our peers, in trying to keep the spirit and the optimism. They deserve a lot of recognition. And we are very much aware of how important our mental health is right now in order to fulfil our goals and follow our schedule. That said, I feel that is also important to add that for some of us it is no longer about us anymore and it just feels so unbearably wrong!

I keep on telling myself – as I did during my fieldwork while I collected those testimonies of violence, mistreatment, repression, suffering, displacement, hunger, injustice in three different peasant regions in my home-country, Colombia – that the best I can do for them is to be professional, to do my job and tell their history of food insecurity, to do it right to make a good case for their food sovereignty and basic rights. And that still keeps me going. However, it is not the same, it does not feel the same when I am fully aware of how vulnerable and endangered they are right now. Continue reading “Some reflections on international post-graduate research in the time of coronavirus”

This Week’s Top Picks in Imperial & Global History

Demonstration at the Red Cross Emergency Ambulance Station during Influenza Pandemic, Washington DC, USA, National Photo Company, 1918. (Photo by: Universal History Archive/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

Marc-William Palen
History Department, University of Exeter
Follow on Twitter @MWPalen

From the Bombay plague epidemic of 1896 to how the 1918 influenza pandemic nearly derailed the women’s suffrage movement, here are this week’s top picks in imperial and global history. Continue reading “This Week’s Top Picks in Imperial & Global History”

Review – Reading the Postwar Future: Textual Turning Points from 1944

Reading the Postwar Future: Textual Turning Points from 1944
Edited by Kirrily Freeman and John Munro.
Bloomsbury Academic, 2020

Reviewed by Richard Toye (University of Exeter)

Cross-posted from E-International Relations

The editors of this volume note its origins “as a cross-corridor conversation along the lines of ‘Have you ever noticed how many influential books were written in 1944?’” (p.x). This conversation gave rise to a project of intellectual history exploring how key texts from this pivotal year reflected on, and helped shape, a different world order. The twelve chapters are not in fact confined to books; there are treatments, for example, of a Kurosawa film (by Chikako Nagayama), of the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration (by Suzanne Langlois), of the 1944 Democratic Party programme (by Katherine Rye Jewell), and of a Mao Zedong speech made in tribute to a fallen comrade (by Rebecca E. Karl). The Mao speech became “one of the three ‘constantly read articles’ of socialist education campaigns” (p.216). As the editors acknowledge, there are several other texts which might have been included, such as Sartre’s Huis Clos. However, they are to be commended on a judicious selection and on their choice of a novel frame through which to examine a significant historical moment.

F.A. Hayek’s The Road to Serfdom actually receives two different treatments. Radhika Desai compares it to Karl Polanyi’s The Great Transformation which, she argues, has been unjustly neglected. In her analysis, Hayek provided a thin, ahistorical account which attributed the interwar movement towards economic planning to the intellectual failures of “socialists” (who in his view could be found in every party). She argues convincingly that Polanyi’s book “goes for the jugular of the Austrian/Hayekian argument against planning and otherwise interfering in the allegedly spontaneous or natural market mechanism” (p.34). Polanyi rejected the idea that laissez-faire had emerged naturally and that subsequent legislation that departed from it was the consequence of deliberate action by opponents of the tenets of economic liberalism. In fact, he said, laissez-faire was itself the product of purposeful government action, whereas the subsequent limitations placed upon it arose spontaneously because of the threat that free markets posed to key aspects of society. Polanyi, Desai notes, ended up being marginalised in his career, whereas Hayek took laurels which, as far as she is concerned, were wholly undeserved. Continue reading “Review – Reading the Postwar Future: Textual Turning Points from 1944”

Pandemipolitics and the (Potential) Unmaking of the Liberal World Order

Gregorio Bettiza
University of Exeter

Cross-posted from Pandemipolitics

The global politics of the current Covid-19 pandemic (i.e. ‘pandemipolitics’) intersects in complex ways with the making, ongoing crisis, and potential unmaking of the liberal world order. What the characteristics of this order are is a hotly debated issue in international relations. Rather than using a clear-cut definition, I tend to think about the liberal order as coming together around four interlocking features which constitute our contemporary, post-Cold War, globalized international system.

First, this order is characterized by a progressive growth of international institutions and rules designed to collectively govern multiple aspects of world affairs. Second, the liberal order is marked by the spread of capitalist modes of production and the forces of economic globalization, largely organized around neo-liberal logics which require the scaling back of the state and thrive on the (relatively) free movement of goods, finance, and people worldwide. Third, this order facilitates and legitimizes the global diffusion of liberal values and institutions, including democratic regimes and universal human rights norms, while simultaneously delegitimizing and stigmatizing non-liberal worldviews and identities. Fourth, and finally, driving many of these processes and structures, are ideas, practices, and interests largely stemming from powerful Western actors. Continue reading “Pandemipolitics and the (Potential) Unmaking of the Liberal World Order”