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INTERACT conversations #4 with Dr. Werner Distler: "The Rise of Historical International Relations and the Challenges of Archival Work"

News from Jun 20, 2023

We are delighted to invite You to the fourth event in our series "INTERACT conversations"!

A recording of the event can now be viewed on our YouTube-Channel under the following link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zhevvOQTzpU

Time & Place:

Altensteinstr. 48, 14195 Berlin | Juli 03 2023, 4-6 pm

In interdisciplinary conversation with Global History, but also due to new impulses from critical approaches (post/de-colonial studies; Critical Race Studies; feminist studies etc.), historically informed research in IR, and Peace and Conflict Studies, is on the rise. Here, voices of witnesses, practises, everyday worlds, and global orders are (re)traced, (re)constructed, (re)formulated by researchers through archival work. However, as archival studies have underlined for a long time, archives are complex spaces, and archival sources do not speak by themselves. Next to epistemological and methodological challenges (How can we find what? What do we see?), researchers and critical audiences need to be aware of (the manipulations and workings) of power in the research process, processes of inclusion/exclusion, of the identities of archives (and sources), and positionality. In the presentation, these challenges of archival work are illustrated with examples from research on post-colonial and post-conflict state formation and conflicts, and a self-reflective approach to research in the "archival assemblage" is suggested.

Dr. Werner Distler:

Dr. Werner Distler is Assistant Professor for International Relations (Chair Group Global IR and Humanitarian Action) at the University of Groningen, The Netherlands. Until 2022 he worked at the Collaborative Research Center (SFB/TRR 138) Dynamics of Security and the Center for Conflict Studies at the University of Marburg. Currently, and also during his stay at INTERACT, he is focusing on knowledge & archives in IR, and security governance & state formation in (post)conflict and (post)colonial situations. Recent publications focus on the role of knowledge in mandate decision-making for Mali operations in the German parliament (2013 - 2021, with Miriam Tekath), spatial security governance, and secessionist conflicts as legacies of UN Trusteeship and colonial rule (with Julius Heise).


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