Seminar “ Völkerrecht und Schiedsgerichtsbarkeit. Von den Haager Konferenzen bis zum Völkerbund. Globale und belgische Perspektiven“

Seminar “International Law and Arbitration. From the The Hague Conferences to the League of Nations: Global and Belgian Perspectives”, 2 June 2015, Antwerpen

The Centre for Political History at the University of Antwerp is organizing a seminar, on the 2nd of June, entitled “International Law and Arbitration. From the The Hague Conferences to the League of Nations: Global and Belgian Perspectives”. The opening lecture will be given by prof. Maartje Abbenhuis (University of Auckland). More details on the program can be found below. Participation is free, but registration is required.

Seminar organized by PoHis (UAntwerpen)
Veranstaltungsort:,University of Antwerp, Prinsstraat 10, 2000 Antwerp, room P.0029:45 Welcome

10:00 Maartje Abbenhuis (University of Auckland): A Global History of the Hague Peace Conferences, 1898-1914

The two The Hague conferences of 1899 and 1907 have a contested historiography. Depending on the historical tradition, the conferences are presented as either irrelevant, mere footnotes ‚en route to the First World War’, or as foundational moments shaping twentieth-century international law and order. Based on a variety of published and archival sources, this talk explains how contemporaries looked to The Hague conferences as golden opportunities to shape the international law and organisation and explains why these events are so important to understanding global realities of the time.

10:40 Vincent Genin (Université de Liège): Juristes, parlementaires et diplomates en Belgique dans le processus menant aux Conférences de la Paix de La Haye de 1875 à 1899/1907

Il n’est pas inintéressant de souligner que la manière dont la Belgique a appréhendé les Conférences de la Paix de La Haye de 1899 et 1907 mérite encore une étude solide. Notre ambition, dans le cadre de ce séminaire, est d’analyser les circonstances qui ont entouré ce rapport entre un pays déterminé et un phénomène défini, à savoir un aboutissement du processus de diffusion de l’arbitrage obligatoire entre les États. Promu en Belgique par diverses institutions, depuis 1870, et défendu de manière plus ferme par le Parlement dès 1875, cet arbitrage ou la volonté, par extension, de mettre sur pied un tribunal arbitral international, sont l’objet de débats importants en Belgique, tant au Ministère des Affaires étrangères, qu’au Parlement ou dans les écrits et correspondances privées des juristes de droit international. L’étude de ce phénomène et de la manière dont il a été représenté et accueilli, est l’objet de notre contribution.

11:00 Maarten Van Alstein (Vlaams Vredesinstituut): A Realist View: The Belgian Diplomatic Elite and the League of Nations

After the First World War, principles such as collective security and arbitration were enhanced in international politics, not in the least because they formed the cornerstones of new international organizations such as the League of Nations. After nearly eighty decades of neutrality, Belgian policymakers and diplomats were determined to pursue a more activist foreign policy and engage in international organizations and alliances.  Although Belgium became a member of the new League of Nations and provided the first president of its general assembly, Belgian policymakers and diplomats’ attitudes towards principles such as collective security and arbitration ranged from cautiousness to clear skepticism. Although an evolution towards increased trust in collective security and arbitration can be observed between 1919 and 1929, Belgian policymakers‘ and diplomats‘ views during this period remained predominantly based on realist premises and beliefs.

Konferenz über Friedensvorstellungen im Ersten Weltkrieg

Der Arbeitskreis Historische Friedensforschung, das  Centre for Peace History an der Universität Sheffield und das Erich Maria Remarque-Friedenszentrum in Osnabrück organisieren eine Konferenz über

Friedensvorstellungen im Ersten Weltkrieg: Repräsentationen, Medien, politische Visionen in einer vergleichenden Perspektive

Dies ist der Aufruf zum Einsenden von Vorschlägen:

Call for Papers: Imagining Peace in the First World War. Representations-Media-Political Visions in Comparative Perspective

International Conference, organised by the Association for Historical Peace Research, the Erich Maria Remarque Peace Centre in Osnabrück, and the Centre for Peace History at the University of Sheffield

Date: 4-6 July 2014 Place: Osnabrück


The First World brought mass violence and killing on a scale and scope that was unprecedented at least in the modern era. Modern technology and the social and ideological mobilization of whole societies contributed to a protracted war that had corrosive effects on the social fabric of civil society and unleashed a wave of annexationist and militarized fantasies. Yet at the same time, the Great War also ushered in a new era of visions for a peaceful social and political order. As the rolling thunder of the cannon at the front continued, an increasing number of people – from avant-garde artists to first-wave feminists, labour movement activists and Christian priests and laity – thought and fantasized about a social order that would silence the weapons and would be able to protect the livelihood of the people. Some of these visions were a form of escapism, some were outright pacifist or socialist, others were just a brutal mockery of a seemingly apocalyptic present. If there was a unifying thread to these highly diverse imaginations, blueprints and political visions, it was a sense of hope that things could change to the better, and an anxious expectation that a core of human integrity could be salvaged from the disaster.

The international conference will investigate those representations, media and political visions which registered and articulated glimpses, anticipations and full-fledged projects for a world beyond the carnage of war. The immediate focus of the conference is on the war itself, the years from 1914 to 1918 – or in Eastern European regions rather 1914 to 1921 –, but papers on the immediate post-war period are welcome. The conference takes a comparative approach, covering a broad range of countries in Eastern and Western Europe and North America, and inviting both papers that are comparative, and those which cover one particular country, region or group.

Structure of the Conference

The organizers of the conference anticipate papers in three different fields or sections, although this structure is only tentative, and should certainly not limit the range of possible submissions.

I. Political Visions for a Peaceful World

This section is interested in those blueprints and programmes which outlined new social and political configurations for a peaceful post-war world. How did pacifists, feminists of different political orientations, and socialists envisage rebuilding society after the catastrophe of war? Which religious notions of peace and harmony were developed by bishops, priests, rabbis and members of the laity? Which visions and notions of peace did ordinary front-line soldiers develop? Where there repercussions and connections between high-level political programmes and the hopes of socialist or democratic grassroots activists? Papers in this section could also discuss how nationalist intellectuals and movements in East-Central and Eastern Europe combined blueprints for national renewal with visions for peace in the framework of a (re-)established nation-state.

II. Media and the Texture of Non-Violence

The papers in this section will investigate how different media of communication and artistic expression have shaped visions for a non-violence future. Among other media, they will look at poetry and narrative texts, explore postcards, photography and visual art. How did these media identify and portray the potential of peaceful regimes of life? How did the materiality of the respective media shape the texture of visions for non-violence, for instance: how was photography able to represent social or natural spaces which facilitated or equalled “peace”?

III. Social Configurations and the Gendering of Peace

During the Great War as in other conflicts, hopes for the rebuilding of a war-torn society often rested on small-scale configurations, on the family, neighbourhood or village community. The intimacy of face-to-face contacts was highlighted as a retreat from the brutal machinery of war. Many of these more intimate configurations were based on gendered notions of civility and peacefulness. The papers in this section will look at the intersections of gender and non-violent social configurations at different levels, and investigate the gendered attributes of a peaceful post-war world.


Papers at the conference will be oral presentations of no more than 25 minutes. Following a process of peer-review, the revised and expanded papers will be published in a volume in the series of the Association for Historical Peace Research (AkHF). We will seek funding to cover travel and accommodation costs for speakers, but cannot guarantee complete reimbursement at this stage.

If you are interested in presenting a paper, please send an abstract of your paper (no more than 200 words) and a one-page short CV as a Word-Document to both of the following: PD Dr Thomas Schneider, Erich Maria Remarque Peace Centre, email:; Professor Benjamin Ziemann, University of Sheffield, Department of History, email:

Informal enquiries can be directed to Thomas Schneider and Benjamin Ziemann.

The deadline for submission of abstracts is 10 January 2013