August 29, 2018

International Bureaucracy Links

Our colleagues at the International Bureaucracy history project have three new blog entries well worth a read. The links are as follows:


April 2, 2018

Resources for US Diplomacy

The Office of the Historian of the US State Department has added a useful new resource to its website: an administrative timeline of the US State Department since 1789. The history of the Department and its personnel are also featured in two new books, the latter already a bestseller:

America’s Other Army, by Nicholas Kralev

War on Peace, by Ronan Farrow

Also, a recent essay about America’s ‘Russia Hands’ in the New York Times provides a miniature model of the kind of institutional and biographical study we promote as New Diplomatic History.


February 27, 2018

Olivier Roy on Diplomacy

A newly translated book of interviews by the French philosopher and writer Olivier Roy contains this gem of a summary of the diplomatic mind and method.


November 1, 2017

How to get a job in the League Secretariat

by Haakon Ikonomou

‘He used to give me Turkish lessons in Constantinople’. This was how the young Ottoman Greek Thanassis Aghnides landed a job in the League Secretariat in 1919. In the latest blog post, I have explored the peculiarities of the early recruitments to the Secretariat and what it meant for the organisation more generally. You will find ‘He used to give me Turkish lessons in Constantinople’: How to get a job in the League Secretariat, here.


October 12, 2017

Wilson’s Death

by Haakon Ikonomou

Emil Eiby Seidenfaden (PhD Student, Aarhus University) has written about publicity from beyond the grave! Or perhaps more accurately, how people within and beyond the League Secretariat sought to use President Woodrow Wilson’s death to champion his and the League’s cause. You will find ‘Wilsonianism from beyond the Grave – Report from the President’s Deathbed’ here.


Aug 29, 2017

New journal issue: The Global Embassy

We are happy to direct your attention to the latest issue of New Global Studies, which features some of the papers from our second conference held last fall in Copenhagen.

The issue was guest edited by Giles Scott-Smith.

As always, we welcome your thoughts and comments.


Aug 9, 2017

Le Corbusier and the Idea of a Palace

by Haakon Ikonomou

What’s in a name? Marco Ninno (MA Student, Aarhus University) has written an intriguing piece on how the word ‘palace’ fundamentally influenced the search for an architect for the new League headquarters in Geneva, in this month’s blog post: A modernist in Geneva – Le Corbusier and the competition for the Palais des Nations.


Jun 23, 2017

Denmark and the League

by Haakon Ikonomou

Søren Friis (PhD Student, Aarhus University) has written a fascinating piece on Denmark and the Early Years of International Studies under the League of Nations, exploring some of the formative networks of so-called ‘intellectual cooperation’ in the interwar years.


May 16, 2017

“Fake News”

by Haakon Ikonomou

Emil Eiby Seidenfaden (PhD Student, Aarhus University) has written a timely and intriguing piece on The League and the Combating of ‘False Information’, digging into the interwar discussions on what to do with Fake News.


Apr 6, 2017

Translators in the League

by Haakon Ikonomou

The latest blogpost of the “The Invention of International Bureaucracy” project concerns the Translation and Interpretation Service of the League Secretariat, and how they contributed, quite literally, to the common understanding of those showing up in Geneva. Interestingly, they hold a prominent place in the early memoirs and academic works of former League staff, as the truest internationalists of the Secretariat.


Mar 22, 2017

Gender and the League of Nations

by Haakon Ikonomou

Myriam Piguet (MA student, Aarhus University) has written a great piece on gender distribution in the League of Nations, and the differences between ambitions and reality in the early years of the Secretariat.


Feb 18, 2017

An Untold Story from the League of Nations

by Haakon Ikonomou

A new post from the “Invention of International Bureaucracy” project, written by Mads Drange, a student at the University of Oslo, tells the story of the director of the Minority Section of the League of Nations, Erik Colban, and his role in the forced population exchange between Greece and Turkey in 1923.


Dec 20, 2016

New Project at Aarhus

by Haakon Ikonomou

The Department of History and Classical Studies at Aarhus University has begun a new project called The Invention of International Bureaucracy. This is a summary of the project:

“Over the last 100 years, the international political scene has become increasingly organized. More than 5000 international organisations now regulate global and regional political, economic and technical affairs. As a consequence international bureaucracy, i.e. international executive bodies that function autonomously from nation states and deal with international affairs, has become an important and increasingly contested feature of world politics.

Even so, the history of these non-elected executive bodies is underresearched. This project aims to shine a light on the roots of international bureaucracy and its particular institutional and socio-cultural characteristics by exploring the principles, practices and formative effects of the League of Nations Secretariat. With theoretical inspiration from political sociology and based on extensive multiarchival research, the project will explore the institutional norms and practices of the League Secretariat and investigate its exchanges and connections with national diplomatic and bureaucratic structures, internationalist networks and institutions and subsequent international bureaucracies of the 20th century.”


December 6, 2014

Lorimer’s Guide

by Kenneth Weisbrode

The Qatar Digital Library has published online the remarkable Gazetteer of the Persian Gulf, Oman and Central Arabia by John Gordon Lorimer, one time Resident in the Persian Gulf. It is a multivolume historical, cultural and political guidebook to these places, worth many hours of study.

The main website contains several other fascinating volumes from the British Library.