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Postwar Cosmopolitanism: Political Universalism from the Seven Years' War to the Cold War

Publication date: Nov 13, 2013 04:48 PM

Start: May 01, 2014 12:00 AM

1-2 May 2014
The aim of this project, hosted by UCL’s Centre for Transnational History and supported under the UCL EI Small Grants Scheme, is to explore the genealogy of ideas of world order with a focus on the theme of war.

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When:
1-2 May 2014

Where:
UCL Roberts Building
Torrington Place
London WC1E 7JE

   

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Silva Code Source «HTML: Add horizontal rule»

Looking at a period from the eighteenth to the twenty-first century, the project will seek to recover connections between cosmopolitan ideals and the social history of major international conflicts such as the Seven Years’ War, the Napoleonic Wars, the two World Wars, and the Cold War.

The project consists of three parts:

  • A virtual panel, with short filmed interviews and contributions from academics;
  • Concert: "A Dream of Germany", curated by David Owen Norris, live at the Warburg Institute and on digital radio on 1 May 2014;
  • A 1.5-day conference on 1-2 May 2014. Download the final programme.

Using a nuanced understanding of war as a cultural phenomenon opens up prospects for revisiting Enlightenment cosmopolitanism – typically associated with peace – through an unfamiliar lens. Wars produce literary genres and cultural forms of their own; they not only destroy, but also create new connections between ideas and people; they also provide a reservoir of traumatic memories from which new ideas of political order arise. The intention is to give some thought to the connection between cosmopolitan orders and the changing use-value of the term ‘cosmopolitanism’ itself: in the pens of the Enlightenment philosophes, it ranged from political universalism to anti-imperial pluralism; among nineteenth-century nationalists, it was used to promote or defend national causes; in the twentieth-century totalitarian states, it was associated with Jewish identity, and in the post-Cold War world, it is variously associated with the ‘one’ as well as with the ‘ninety-nine percent’, with dictatorship as well as with democracy.

See the full conference website for more:

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This project is supported by UCL European Institute's Call for Proposals