Transnational Histories of Voluntary Action Network

Historians are increasingly realising that ‘history must be understood, not simply as a sum of national histories or a chronicle of inter-state affairs, but also as a story of transnational connections and circulations, by people, goods, capital, ideas and tastes’ (The Palgrave Dictionary of Transnational History, ed., Pierre-Yves Saunier and Akira Iriye, 2009). The history of voluntary action is a particularly rich field for transnational and comparative history, from eighteenth-century hurricane relief funds and transatlantic anti-slavery campaigns to the work of development NGOS and international volunteering programmes after the Second World War.

We are therefore seeking to set up an international network on this theme. We define transnational histories of voluntary action broadly to include:
• Comparative study of voluntary action in different countries/regions;
• History of international organisations;
• Study of transnational movements or networks of people, ideas and funds.

Voluntary Action includes the study of all activity taking place outside the sphere of governments or the private/for-profit sectors, including but not only: charities, philanthropic or civil society associations; humanitarianism and benevolence; religious organisations and missionary societies; mutual aid and friendly societies; non-governmental organisations (NGOs); sports, leisure and social clubs and societies; cultural and educational associations, museums and galleries; voluntary medical, social or community work; campaigning, fundraising and volunteering.

Organiser(s): Dr Georgina Brewis (Institute of Education), Dr George Campbell Gosling (Oxford Brookes University), Dr Peter Grant (Cass Business School), Dr Melanie Oppenheimer (University of New England, Australia)

We are looking to find partners both inside and outside the UK. Activities may include:
• Formation of an international research network
• Organisation of workshops or conferences in the UK and outside the UK
• Publication of a book or books on the topic
• Applications to fund collaborative work, for example Leverhulme Trust International Networks

If you are interested, please contact us by 19 November 2011. See here for more details.

2 Nov 2011