International organizations and the rise of global governance

Shifting Visions of Development: International Organizations, Non-Governmental Actors, and the Rise of Global Governance, 1945-1990

29-30 septembre 2011

Brême (Allemagne)


International Organizations and INGOs have played a leading role in the making of global development policies during the last fifty years.  Powerful engines of globalization as much as global transmitters of ideas and knowledge, specifically organizations such as the World Bank, the United Nations and private foundations have left big footprints in fields like health, human rights, agriculture, labor, development aid, gender, demography, and ecology. Today, they manage and regulate large sectors of social activity across the globe, functioning as influential clearing houses of global governance.

Historians have only recently rediscovered the history of those organizations. While most of them agree with social scientists that the postwar era marked the high point of international and non-state organizations in a global setting, much research remains to be done to better understand the role of those institutions with regard to policy-making and politics not only in the metropoles but also on the ‘periphery’. How did they shape relations between North and South, East and West? What kinds of practices did they establish on the ground?  Which difference did they make?

The time seems ripe to take a more systematic look at the various fields of development and to bring together leading scholars to assess where we stand and what remains to be done. The conference will assemble historians and social scientists to do justice to the transdisciplinary nature of the fields. Case studies will be combined with conceptual debates. With its interest in a culturally and socially informed political history that takes into account both state and non-state actors and pays attention to the variety of transnational linkages, the conference organizers hope to make a significant contribution to the field of new international and global history.

Sponsored by the German Historical Institute Washington, DC, the Bremen International Graduate School of Social Sciences, and the Research Group TEAMS at Jacobs University Bremen


Jeudi 29 septembre 2011


9:30 – Coffee

10:00 – Words of Welcome

10:15 – Panel 1: A New Role for International Organizations?

  • Jens Steffek/Leonie Holthaus (both Technical University of Darmstadt): Planning, Development and the Functional Design of International Organizations
  • Daniel Speich (ETH Zurich/University of Luzern): Macroeconomic Expertise and International Organizations: Generalizing Knowledge in the Relations between Europe and Africa, 1940s to 1960s

Chair: Jost Duelffer (University of Cologne)

12:00 – Lunch

13:30 – Panel 2: Changing Structures of Governance

  • Helge Pharo (University of Oslo): International Aid Providers: Institutional Cooperation and Competition between Nation-states, NGOs, and International Organizations after 1945
  • Vincent Lagendijk (University of Leiden): From Dam-Age to Damage? The International Governance of Dams and their Environmental Impact since the 1960s

Chair: Welf Werner (Jacobs University Bremen)

15:00 – Coffee Break

15:30 – Panel 3: The New Politics of Productivity

  • Anna-Katharina Wöbse (University of Geneva): Underdeveloped or Overexploited? Setting the UN Global Environmental Agenda, 1945-1950
  • Ruth Jachertz (Humboldt University Berlin): A Global Food Policy? The UN Food and Agriculture Organization and Attempts at Global Governance
  • Antoine Acker (European University Institute, Florence): Volkswagen’s Farming Project in Brazil: From Negotiated to Contested Development

Chair: Rainer Tetzlaff (Jacobs University Bremen)

Vendredi 30 septembre 2011


9:00 – Panel 4: Providing Health and Calories

  • Corinne Pernet (University of St. Gallen): INCAP (Instituto de Nutrición de Centroamerica y Panamá) as a Place of Transfer
  • Claudia Prinz (Humboldt University Berlin): The Global “Diarrhoeal Diseases Control Programme” and the Production, Organization and Politics of Health Knowledge
  • Thomas Zimmer (University of Freiburg): Fighting Malaria in the Name of World Health and Development: The World Health Organization in India

Chair: Corinna Unger (Jacobs University Bremen)

11:15 – Coffee

11:30 – Panel 5: Development and the Global Economy

  • Francine McKenzie (University of Western Ontario): The General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) and Development in the Third World
  • Matthias Schmelzer (European University Viadrina, Frankfurt (Oder)): Growth and Its Limits: The Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development

Chair: Sönke Kunkel (Jacobs University Bremen)

13:00 – Lunch

14:30 – Panel 6: Humanitarianism, Gender, and Development

  • Heike Wieters (Humboldt University Berlin): CARE: A Study in the Economization of Humanitarianism
  • Jocelyn Olcott (Duke University): Women Rights Activists and International Organizations
  • Eileen Boris (University of California, Santa Barbara): “Mothers, Household Managers, and… Productive Workers in the Economy”:  The International Labor Organization and “Women in Developing Countries”

Chair: Daniel Maul (University of Giessen)

16:30 – Coffee

17:00 – Panel 7: Final Discussion: International Organizations and the Rise of Global Governance. Mapping the Field

  • Bob Reinalda (Radboud University Nijmegen)
  • Klaus Schlichte (University of Bremen)
  • Marc Frey (Jacobs University Bremen)

Chair: Corinna Unger (Jacobs University Bremen)

Sönke Kunkel (
Jacobs University, Campus Ring 1, 28759 Bremen

(L’appel à communications du colloque est paru sur ce carnet de recherches :

Emilia Robin

Chercheuse associée à l'UMR SIRICE. Violons d'Ingres : guerre froide, médiation scientifique, logiciels libres

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