A history of globalisation: A new exhibition reflects on the legacies of WWI

21 Dec 2018 12:01:43.923

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A new exhibition at the Royal Geographical Society will let visitors reflect on one of the major legacies of the First World War - 100 years after it ended.

Spaces of Internationalism, which has been put together by experts from the University of Nottingham, is open until the 22 January.

Reacting against the violence of nationalism, internationalism was a major social and political force which emerged in the 1920’s and 30s. Working against a world divided into races and nations, internationalism promoted cooperation and harmony across territorial divides.

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This new exhibition uses maps, photographs, newspaper articles, film footage, portraits and vintage artefacts to provoke a re-reading of interwar internationalism. By including Indian and African-American internationalists it presents a boldly inclusive, multi-racial history of rival internationalisms.

The exhibition also looks at the geographies of internationalism: the different places and scales at which internationalism manifested itself; the “behind the scenes” (often female) workers who supported it; the public and private spaces which enabled London to function as an international city; and the forgotten history of the geographical discipline as an agent of internationalism

The exhibition has been organised by Professor Stephen Legg, Professor Mike Heffernan, Assistant Professor Jake Hodder and Dr Benjamin Thorpe from the University’s School of Geography and was funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC).

Professor Legg says of the exhibition: “Popular assumptions about interwar internationalism are that it was dominated by liberal, European institutions, and that it failed to prevent another war. In this exhibition, we present a new perspective. We emphasise the international geography of internationalism.

“Nations and networks of individuals created their own versions of internationalism and left their imprint on its many varieties. These could be radical or imperial, as much as liberal, and served very different political ends, including the destruction of empires, or their perpetuation. Despite these differences, we argue that these internationalisms functioned through shared spaces, which we explore in the exhibition.”

Spaces of Internationalism’ runs from the 17 December to 22 January (Christmas closure 22 Dec to 1 Jan) and is free to attend.

More information can be found at https://www.rgs.org/events/spaces-of-internationalism/

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The University of Nottingham is a research-intensive university with a proud heritage, consistently ranked among the world's top 100. Studying at the University of Nottingham is a life-changing experience and we pride ourselves on unlocking the potential of our 44,000 students - Nottingham was named both Sports and International University of the Year in the  2019 Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide, was awarded gold in the TEF 2017 and features in the top 20 of all three major UK rankings. We have a pioneering spirit, expressed in the vision of our founder Sir Jesse Boot, which has seen us lead the way in establishing campuses in China and Malaysia - part of a globally connected network of education, research and industrial engagement. We are ranked eighth for research power in the UK according to REF 2014. We have six beacons of research excellence helping to transform lives and change the world; we are also a major employer, proud of our Athena SWAN silver award, and a key industry partner- locally and globally.


Story credits

More information is available from Professor Stephen Legg from the School of Geography at the University of Nottingham, by email at stephen.legg@nottingham.ac.uk

Charlotte Anscombe – Media Relations Manager (Arts and Social Sciences)

Email: charlotte.anscombe@nottingham.ac.uk  Phone:+44 (0)115 74 84 417 Location: University Park

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