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Internationalism in the Age of Nationalism

By Glenda Sluga

Publication Year: 2013

The twentieth century, a time of profound disillusionment with nationalism, was also the great age of internationalism. To the twenty-first-century historian, the period from the late nineteenth century until the end of the Cold War is distinctive for its nationalist preoccupations, while internationalism is often construed as the purview of ideologues and idealists, a remnant of Enlightenment-era narratives of the progress of humanity into a global community. Glenda Sluga argues to the contrary, that the concepts of nationalism and internationalism were very much entwined throughout the twentieth century and mutually shaped the attitudes toward interdependence and transnationalism that influence global politics in the present day.

Internationalism in the Age of Nationalism traces the arc of internationalism through its rise before World War I, its apogee at the end of World War II, its reprise in the global seventies and the post-Cold War nineties, and its decline after 9/11. Drawing on original archival material and contemporary accounts, Sluga focuses on specific moments when visions of global community occupied the liberal political mainstream, often through the maneuvers of iconic organizations such as the League of Nations and the United Nations, which stood for the sovereignty of nation-states while creating the conditions under which marginalized colonial subjects and women could make their voices heard in an international arena. In this retelling of the history of the twentieth century, conceptions of sovereignty, community, and identity were the objects of trade and reinvention among diverse intellectual and social communities, and internationalism was imagined as the means of national independence and national rights, as well as the antidote to nationalism.

This innovative history highlights the role of internationalism in the evolution of political, economic, social, and cultural modernity, and maps out a new way of thinking about the twentieth century.

Published by: University of Pennsylvania Press

Series: Pennsylvania Studies in Human Rights


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pp. 1-3


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pp. 4-4


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pp. 5-7


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pp. 8-9

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pp. 1-9

In the steamy summer of 1948, a group of thirty-six teachers representing twenty-one countries—nearly half the number of internationally recognized sovereign states in the world at that time—met at Adelphi College on ...

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1. The International Turn

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pp. 11-44

In the early twentieth century, if someone had asked Europeans or Americans to predict where the world was headed, chances were they would have pointed toward internationalism of a new twentieth-century kind. As ...

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2. Imagine Geneva, Between the Wars

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pp. 45-78

The history of internationalism has always involved forgetting. In the European summer of 1919, the British geologist Mrs. Ogilvie Gordon stood before the National Council of Women of Great Britain and Ireland and ...

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3. The Apogee of Internationalism

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pp. 79-117

The creation of the United Nations at the end of World War II confirmed the curious paradox of the twentieth century’s progress. During the world’s darkest hours, the popularity of international solutions surged. ...

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4. What Is the International?

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pp. 118-149

A quarter of a century after the apogee of internationalism, through a window of Cold War détente, the world took on a global hue. The viewers of American television, and its global affiliates, could watch Henry ...

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Afterword. The National in the Age of Internationalism

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pp. 150-160

Historians understand more than anyone else that there is no progress in history and no utopia in the past. But it is useful at times in trying to understand where we are, the world we live in, to come to some ...


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pp. 161-201


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pp. 203-207

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pp. 209-211

I have accrued an extensive geography of national and international debts in the writing of this book to, first and foremost, the Australian Research Council, the wonderful national funding body that boldly supports international ...

E-ISBN-13: 9780812207781
E-ISBN-10: 0812207785
Print-ISBN-13: 9780812244847
Print-ISBN-10: 0812244842

Page Count: 288
Publication Year: 2013

Series Title: Pennsylvania Studies in Human Rights
Series Editor Byline: Bert B. Lockwood, Jr., Series Editor See more Books in this Series

OCLC Number: 859161576
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Internationalism in the Age of Nationalism

Research Areas


Subject Headings

  • Internationalism -- History -- 20th century.
  • Internationalism -- Psychological aspects.
  • Nationalism -- History -- 20th century.
  • Nationalism -- Psychological aspects.
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