"Organiser le monde: Une autre histoire de la guerre froide" by Sandrine Kott
Druckfrisch Book Discussion: Organizing the World during the Cold War
This edition of the Druckfrisch Book Discussions, organised by the Leipzig Research Centre Global Dynamics, is about the monograph "Organiser le monde: Une autre histoire de la guerre froide" by Sandrine Kott.
This study of international organisations and their roles during the Cold War was published by the Seuil editions in 2021, in the series "L'univers historique", and challenges the Cold War paradigm as the key to interpreting the time between the end of World War II and the dissolution of the Soviet bloc; by adopting an international perspective, it examines the conflicts of this period through the prism of global inequalities. Dr. Katja Castryck-Naumann, Dr. Martin Deuerlein and Dr. Antje Dietze will discuss the book and the presentation alongside Sandrine Kott. This will be followed by a reception and buffet.
The event is a collaboration between the Leipzig Centre for the Study of France and the Francophonie (FZL), the Leibniz Institute for the History and Culture of Eastern Europe (GWZO), the European Network in Universal and Global History (ENIUGH), and the SFB 1199 "Processes of Spatialization under the Global Condition."
The event will be recorded for those who cannot attend.
Sandrine Kott is professor of Modern European history at the University of Geneva and, since 2018, a visiting professor at NYU (New York University). She studied in Paris, Bielefeld (Germany) and Columbia (New York) and holds an habilitation from the Sorbonne University. She was a member of the Institut Universitaire de France between 1997 and 2001 and is a member of the academia europeae. She is a social historian of modern Europe as well as an international historian. Her principal fields of expertise are the history of labor and social welfare in France and Germany since the end of the nineteenth century and labor relations in state socialist countries, in particular in the German Democratic Republic. She has also developed the transnational and global dimensions of each of her fields of expertise by working with the archives and resources of international organisations, particularly of the International Labor Organization (ILO).
Dr. Katja Castryck-Naumann is a tenured researcher at the Leibniz Institute for the History and Culture of Eastern Europe and lecturer at Leipzig University. Working as global historian with a regional focus on East Central Europe her research deals in particular with the history of international organisations and internationalism. She lately edited a volume on “Transregional Connections in the History of East Central Europe” (de Gruyter). Currently she writes a monograph about the politics of Polish experts in the secretariats of the League of Nations and UN, and their impact on international health, trade, and the social sciences.
Dr. Antje Dietze is a researcher in the Collaborative Research Centre (SFB 1199) “Processes of Spatialization under the Global Condition”. She is deputy director and coordinator of the Leipzig Centre for the Study of France and the Francophonie and speaker of the Franco-German graduate school „Transferts culturels / Kulturtransfers“. Her field of research is the social and cultural history of Germany, Europe and North America in the 19th and 20th centuries with a particular focus on the history of artistic movements, cultural organizations, and the cultural and media industries.
Dr. Martin Deuerlein is an associate professor at the Department for Contemporary History at the University of Tübingen. His research focus is on the history of His research focuses on the history of international relations, especially the Cold War, the history of globalisation theory and globalist contemporary diagnosis, and the history of indigeneity. In 2020, his study "The Age of Interdependence. Global Thought and International Politics in the Long 1970s."
About the book
By adopting an international perspective, this book challenges the usual interpretation of the post-World War II period, which is too often reduced to the Cold War, and exclusively understood as a global conflict between the United States and the USSR that dominated international affairs. This book grasps international organizations and associations as stages on which the Cold War discourse was deployed, but also, upon closer inspection, as spaces for dialogue and working together across the geopolitical and ideological divisions of the Cold War. These organizations and associations are explored as places where an ideology and a practice of internationalism, which characterized and shaped the period, were constituted.
This perspective highlights how mid-sized powers, including Eastern European and neutral countries, served as bridges across Cold War divisions. It gives newly decolonized and "Third World" countries their voice as international actors that insistently challenged—together with the Second World—the global distribution of power and wealth. Global inequalities became central concerns in international arenas, and until the 1970s, international officials and experts defended and promoted the idea that there would be no lasting peace without a more equitable distribution of wealth. This conviction was especially expressed in the proposal for a new international economic order, formulated in 1974 by non-aligned countries at the United Nations General Assembly. The proposal was intensely debated and developed in international arenas.
Its failure in the 1980s, under the influence of a coalition of actors from Western governments and business associations, marked the entry into the neo-liberal era dominated by the logic of competition between nations and individuals. This dynamic led to increasing social and global inequalities.