In the twentieth century, international organizations often took responsibility for the bodies of people all over the world. Protecting the body from disease, drug abuse, hunger, human trafficking and harmful labour was an official goal of bodies such as the League of Nations, the World Health Organization, the International Labour Organization, and so on. International sports federations, Christian missionary groups, humanitarian and medical organizations also sought to improve and strengthen the body and mind both in their countries of origin and overseas. However, these efforts were accompanied by racial and gender prejudice against non-Western societies that lasted well beyond the official end of colonial rule.
At the conference "International Organizations and Body Politics in MENA History" (27-29 June 2022) at the Leibniz Institute for European History, Mainz, these aspects were discussed for the region of the Middle East and West Asia. Following the need for a deeper exchange of knowledge on different world regions, we are building an academic network on international and transnational aspects of body politics in the Global South since the 19th century. At the same time, we want to strengthen the state of historical research on countries of the Global South.
The network will facilitate a regular exchange on research projects, literature and upcoming conferences or workshops and thus deepen the cooperation among historians.
As a first step, we will set up a mailing list to explore further possibilities for expanding the network. A first online meeting is planned in autumn. If you are interested in joining the network, please contact the coordinator, Dr. Elife Biçer-Deveci (firstname.lastname@example.org), and provide a brief statement of your research interest.