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Making progress?

This book explores the development, character and legacy of the ideology of liberal internationalism in late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century Britain. Liberal internationalism provided a powerful way of theorising and imagining international relations, and it dominated well-informed political discourse at a time when Britain was the most powerful country in the world. Its proponents focused on securing progress, generating order and enacting justice in international affairs, and it united a diverse group of intellectuals and public figures, leaving a lasting legacy in the twentieth century. The book elucidates the roots, trajectory and diversity of liberal internationalism, focusing in particular on three intellectual languages – international law, philosophy and history – through which it was promulgated, before tracing the impact of these ideas across the defining moment of the First World War. The liberal internationalist vision of the late nineteenth century remained popular well into the twentieth century and forms an important backdrop to the development of the academic study of International Relations in Britain.

The International Co-operative Alliance (ICA) before and after the First World War
Mary Hilson

2 Co-operative internationalism in practice: the International Co-operative Alliance (ICA) before and after the First World War Like other international organisations of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the ICA did not emerge in a vacuum, but was rooted in the personal international networks that had developed among co-operators during the second half of the nineteenth century.1 These networks originated in northern and western Europe. The first ICA congresses were essentially bipartite collaborations between French and British co

Casper Sylvest

CH APTER 5 Liberal internationalism and the uses of history [The student of history] is the politician with his face turned backwards. (Lord Acton, 18951) No fan of traditional history writing, Herbert Spencer took particular exception to the ‘great man’ theory of history, a doctrine that involved an unscientific and ‘universal love of personalities’ such as ‘Frederick the Greedy’ and ‘Napoleon the Treacherous’.2 While this attack was mainly directed at a familiar opponent of positivist history, J. A. Froude, the loathing between Spencer and the historians

in British liberal internationalism, 1880–1930
Peace, progress and prestige

This study investigates internationalism through the prism of a small European country. It explores an age in which many groups and communities – from socialists to scientists – organised themselves across national borders. Belgium was a major hub for transnational movements. By taking this small and yet significant European country as a focal point, the book critically examines major historical issues, including nationalism, colonial expansion, political activism and international relations. A main aim is to reveal the multifarious and sometimes contradictory nature of internationalism. The Belgian case shows how within one particular country, different forms of internationalism sometimes clashed and sometimes converged.

The book is organised around political movements and intellectual currents that had a strong presence in Belgium. Each of the main chapters is dedicated to a key theme in European history: nationhood, empire, the relationship between church and state, political and social equality, peace, and universalism. The timeframe ranges from the fin de siècle to the interwar years. It thus covers the rise of international associations before the First World War, the impact of the conflagration of 1914, and the emergence of new actors such as the League of Nations.

With its discussion of campaigns and activities that ranged beyond the nation-state, this study is instructive for anyone interested in transnational approaches to history.

Casper Sylvest

CH APTER 2 Victorian liberalism and the roots of liberal internationalism One can be a Liberal, and yet believe in tradition. Indeed, I do not see how one can be a Liberal without believing in tradition. (Ernest Barker, 19491) From the mid-1830s until 1886, or perhaps even 1914, liberalism was the dominant political force of the most powerful country in the world. Part social analysis, part public morality and part political project, the attractions of liberalism were obvious. In its British heyday, liberalism developed into a bundle of assumptions about

in British liberal internationalism, 1880–1930
Marta Werbanowska

Like much of his prose and nonfiction, Baldwin’s poetry follows his actual and figurative movement between Europe and America against the backdrop of his homeland’s constant refusal to work through its racist, imperialist, and heterosexist legacies. The 2014 reissue of his two poetry collections, Jimmy’s Blues (1983) and Gypsy (1989), as Jimmy’s Blues and Other Poems urges us to revisit Baldwin’s poetry as an expression of his ideas and sentiments through a different lens: that of a blues poetics. In Baldwin’s poetry, the blues provide an aesthetic and epistemic framework for his expression of a radical internationalist politics of liberation.

James Baldwin Review
A New Spatiotemporal Logic in James Baldwin’s The Evidence of Things Not Seen
Özge Özbek Akıman

This article examines James Baldwin’s late text The Evidence of Things Not Seen (1985) as one of his substantial attempts at “forging a new language,” which he tentatively mentions in his late essays and interviews. As an unpopular and difficult text in Baldwin’s oeuvre, Evidence carries the imprint of a new economy of time, casting the past into the present, and a new economy of space, navigating across other geographies in appraising the serial killings of children in one of Atlanta’s poorest Black neighborhoods. This article suggests that a new economy of time emerges earlier in No Name in the Street (1972), as a result of Baldwin’s self-imposed exile in Europe. The article then analyzes his spatiotemporal logic in the specifics of Evidence with reference to a Black middle class, urbanization, the ghetto, gentrification, and other colonized spaces.

James Baldwin Review
A Conversation with Bill V. Mullen, the author of James Baldwin: Living in Fire
William J. Maxwell
Bill V. Mullen

William J. Maxwell, editor of James Baldwin: The FBI File (2017), interviews Bill V. Mullen on his 2019 biography, James Baldwin: Living in Fire, along the way touching on both Baldwin’s early internationalism and his relevance to the current wave of racial discord and interracial possibility in the United States.

James Baldwin Review
Editor’s Introduction
Juliano Fiori

prioritised bilateral negotiations. UN institutions were then often used, and even designed, explicitly as vehicles for the pursuit of US interests: the World Food Programme, for example, was established in 1961 to channel American agricultural surplus to the developing world. Liberal internationalism as we know it today, with its particular political and cultural associations with the US, is a product of the 1970s. As Samuel Moyn has argued, it was in the second half of that decade that human rights had its first breakthrough as a cosmopolitan

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs
David Rieff

organisations have claimed to be apolitical, hiding their ideology in the structures of the global system. But in making this claim, all they have really said is that their politics are those of liberal internationalism, whether in its American imperial form or its somewhat more egalitarian European iteration. And the great genius of liberalism is that it is the only political ideology in the history of the world that insists that it is not an ideology at all. But the politics of relief organisations has often been exposed, as in the 1980s when many

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs