Call for Papers: Central and Eastern Europe in World Politics after Versailles

Call for Papers: Central and Eastern Europe in World Politics after Versailles: Towards a New International History
Dates: October 4-5, 2013
Location: Oxford University, Faculty of History

The collapse of the Austro-Hungarian, German and Russian Empires at the end of the First World War brought to existence a curious geopolitical construction, usually known as ‘Central and Eastern Europe’. The countries in the region had loose similarities, including new independence in foreign policy, nation-state building, increasing tensions with minorities in regions once known for their toleration, and economic backwardness relative to the west. Their location between Germany and Russia pushed these newcomer states to consider collective security, but this did not prevent them from skirmishing among themselves. In some cases, these skirmishes revised borders that had been set at the Paris Peace Conference.

Since the beginning of the First World War the peoples and emerging states of Central and Eastern Europe had gained the interest of the west. Western influence, whether through trade, diplomacy, or cultural affairs, remained throughout the interwar period. At the same time, interwar Central and Eastern Europe left its own footprint in world politics, especially through the League of Nations. The League oversaw a tangled web of minorities treaties in the region that formed the basis for modern international human rights law, while League involvement in the economic reconstruction of Central and Eastern European states formed the origins of oversight later adopted by the International Monetary Fund.

This conference seeks to provide a forum for discussion of new research on international history of Central and Eastern Europe, broadly defined. Archives are continually being opened and new documents discovered, while studies are reshaping the field to include humanitarian aid, changing diplomatic culture, minorities relations, the role of international law and internationalism, among other topics. The focus on transnational and world history and resulting stress on multilingual research are changing the focus on the nation-state in Central and Eastern European international history. Our conference intends to be topical but interdisciplinary: we welcome submissions from History, International Relations, and Law, and especially encourage submissions from postdoctoral and graduate students.

Possible topics include:

1) Relations between Old and New Europe, including the importance of stereotypes, class, and diplomatic culture
2) The formation of new epistemic communities with the advent of the League of Nations
3) The legacy of diplomatic efforts in interwar Central and Eastern Europe for the post-1945 world order
4) The role of the League of Nations in the economic reconstruction of the region, disputes over borders or minorities, or humanitarian aid.

Please send a 300-word proposal and a 1-2 page CV to by 14 June 2013. Some funding may be available towards travel and accommodation costs for presenters.

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