The Reluctant Internationalists research group is excited to launch a new Centre at Birkbeck, the Centre for the Study of Internationalism. The Centre gives a presence to a significant field of research at Birkbeck: internationalism in its various guises, in the past and present. It provides an intellectual home for researchers at all stages in their careers who are interested in the social, cultural, political, economic, intellectual and legal fabric of our world of nation-states and international or global institutions. It unites scholars from different academic fields and departments, including history, the political, legal and social sciences, economics, languages, philosophy, and other disciplines. The Centre will organise reading groups, seminars and workshops, and host an annual lecture and visiting fellow.

The launch event will take place on Monday, 23 May, 6-8pm at Birkbeck. Jessica Reinisch will introduce the Centre, followed by a lecture by our visiting fellow, Prof Holly Case, on ‘The Age of Questions’, which looks at a period in modern history – roughly 1810 to 1950 – when ‘questions’ reigned. The Russian writer Leo Tolstoy wrote his views on the ‘Eastern question’ through the character in Anna Karenina, the future president of Czechoslovakia penned over 700 pages on the ‘social question’, and a German novelist expressed his immoderate views on the ‘oyster question’. When and why did people start thinking in terms of ‘questions’ and what did it mean?

The talk and discussion will be followed by a drinks reception.

Places are free but need to be reserved, here.

'The labour question'. 'Lord Salisbury's policy'. "We cannot look abroad into the territories ... On this matter I can only say that I believe the Government may give useful assistance ... when it finds that men are willing to co-operate with them." Lord Salisbury is shown holding a piece of paper titled 'Arbitration'. To his left are workers on strike and to his right a female figure with 'trade' written on her walks to the sea. In the distance and across the sea are the named countries, German.,57 x 90 cm.

Holly Case is a historian of Europe specializing in modern East-Central and Southeastern Europe. Her work focuses on the relationship between foreign policy, social policy, science and literature as manifest in the European state system of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Her book, Between States: The Transylvanian Question and the European Idea during WWII, was published in 2009.