We think of the First World War as a European War, but in the Middle East, Africa and the Pacific territories also changed hands. At the Paris Peace conference, the victorious allies reluctantly agreed to administer the former German colonies and Ottoman Middle East provinces under “mandate” from the newly formed League of Nations. This lecture explains what that international regime meant – for the people living in mandated territories; for the League itself; and for the imperial order more generally. It recovers the League’s important role in the end of empire and the emergence of a state-centered world.
Susan Pedersen is Morris Professor of British History at Columbia University. A historian of British and international politics, she has written on subjects ranging from the evolution of welfare states, to the impact of women’s movements, to imperial administration between the wars. The recipient of fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the Princeton Institute for Advanced Study, the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin, and others, in 2014 she delivered the Ford Lectures at Oxford University. Her new book, The Guardians: The League of Nations and the Crisis of Empire (Oxford University Press, 2015) has just been awarded the Cundill Prize for Historical Literature.
The seminar meets at 4:00 p.m. at the Woodrow Wilson Center, 6th Floor Moynihan Board Room, Ronald Reagan Building, Federal Triangle Metro Stop.
The seminar is sponsored jointly by the National History Center of the American Historical Association and the Wilson Center. It meets weekly during the academic year. See www.nationalhistorycenter.org for the schedule, speakers, topics, and dates as well as webcasts and podcasts. The seminar thanks the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations and the George Washington University History Department for their support. Reservations requested because of limited seating.