Reluctant Internationalists

We are happy to introduce the new website of The Reluctant Internationalists: A History of Public Health and International Organisations, Movements and Experts in Twentieth Century Europe.

When studied through the prism of public health, ‘internationalism’ can refer to a number of very different ideas: the search for intergovernmental agreements and conventions; the practice of international assembly; the projection of national agendas across the globe; the transfer of ideas, resources or people across national boundaries; or even “doctor diplomacy”. These different models of internationalism were shaped by different constellations of foreign policy objectives, economic policies, humanitarian concerns, medical principles, and the priorities of self-governing professions. The Reluctant Internationalists takes a broad view to make sense of internationalism in its various guises over the century, including such phenomena as Communist internationalism, Axis internationalism and Cold War internationalism.

First International Conference on Oral Polio Vaccine at PAHO headquarters in Washington, 1959. (Credit: Photograph by Cameramen Incorporated. Sabin Archives.)

First International Conference on Oral Polio Vaccine at PAHO headquarters in Washington, 1959. (Credit: Photograph by Cameramen Incorporated. Sabin Archives.)

The Reluctant Internationalists is a four-year project at Birkbeck, University of London, funded by a Wellcome Trust Investigator Award and led by Dr Jessica Reinisch. Jessica  works on the history of the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration. The core research team includes postdoctoral research associates Ana Antic,  working on the history of psychiatry in the Balkans during and after the Second World WarDora Vargha, focusing on the history of vaccines in Cold War Eastern EuropeJohanna Conterio Geisler, working on the history of pharmaceutical production in the Soviet Union in the interwar era; and PhD student David Bryan concentrating on Spanish health experts after 1945.

Find more information, news, blog posts, visiting fellows and upcoming events at http://www.bbk.ac.uk/reluctantinternationalists/

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