International Organisations in Global History, EMGS Seminar by Dr Klaas Dykmann (University of Leipzig)

March 23, 2009 (All day) - March 27, 2009 (All day)
Corresponding to the increasing intertwining of global trade, economic but also political relations, particularly since the late 19th century, many policy areas and problems emerged for which institutions above the level of nation states have been regarded as the necessary and possibly only facilitators. In accordance, mostly since the second half of the 20th century, the number of international organisations (IO), both intergovernmental and nongovernmental, has considerably augmented. The seminar shall inquire the role of selected sectors and IOs for global history, analyse regional differences and finally evaluate the effectiveness of international institutions. The reading of Akira Iriye's book "Global Community. The Role of International Organizations in the Making of the Contemporary World" is required.


The seminar will be a block seminar in the second week of March (10-13, 2009) with two units of 90 minutes on each of these days. Students will have to prepare a presentation (based on articles which will be provided), a moderation and a paper.




Compulsory reading: Akira Iriye, Global Community. The Role of International Organizations in the Making of the Contemporary World. Berkeley/Los Angeles/London 2004 (paperback, first edition 2002).

Additional readings for preparation:
James D. Armstrong/Lorna Lloyd/John Redmond (eds.), From Versailles to Maastricht. International organisation in the twentieth century. Basingstoke 1996. Introduction, pp. 1-6.
A. LeRoy Bennett, International Organizations. Principles and Issues. New Jersey 1995, 6th edition. Introduction, pp. 1-23.
John Boli/George M. Thomas (eds.), Constructing World Culture: International Nongovernmental Organizations since 1875. Stanford 1999.
Volker Rittberger/ Bernhard Zangl, Internationale Organisationen: Politik und Geschichte, Opladen 2003.
Peter Willets (ed.), The conscience of the world: the influence of Non-Governmental-Organisations in the UN system, London 1996.
Donald J. Puchala, Theory and history in international relations, New York (u.a.) 2003.
Paul F. Diehl (ed.), The Politics of Global Governance: International Organizations in an Interdependent World, Boulder 1997.







The aim of the seminar is to review the very concept of international organisations (IOs) and some policy areas from a historical perspective.


Three main goals shall be pursued during the seminar:


1)      To locate IOs in global history

2)      To identify different perspectives of investigation (other than those of legal or political science)

3)      To adopt a critical viewpoint



Students Tasks:


Each student must prepare the following readings as a minimum requirement:


Akira Iriye, Global Community (entire book).

Plus the readings for her/his topic to prepare moderation/presentation.


In general, two students shall prepare a presentation and a brief moderation to follow up their presentation in order to enter a discussion on their specific topic with regard to the main question(s) of the seminar.

Before the seminar starts, the two students preparing for one subtopic shall discuss the chosen texts and, if possible, additional texts (suggested readings and more), with the aim to prepare the presentation and moderation. The students should agree before the seminar starts upon who will present and who will do the moderation or if they share these tasks.

The moderation should include questions regarding the presented topic, of such kind that the discussion will contribute to dealing with the overall theme of the seminar. After their presentation, each pair of students should complement their own findings with the comments and findings of the other participants (and, if necessary, even revise their own results if these considerably deviate from their own).


You can always turn to me with questions. It is recommended that you send me an outline of your presentation and moderation (structure, topics, estimated time) in advance. My email address is


After the individual sessions, I will provide an evaluation of the presentation and moderation.