The Culture of International Society

The Culture of International Society: How Europe's Cultural Treaties Forged a Global Concept of Culture, 1919-1968

The project is lead by Benjamin Martin, Uppsala University and affiliated to Humlab. In this project he aims to use cultural treaties - agreements among states that promote and regulate artistic, intellectual, and cultural exchange - as a historical source with which to explore the emergence of a global concept of culture in the twentieth century. Specifically, the project will investigate the hypothesis that this concept, in contrast to earlier ideas of civilization, played a key role in the consolidation of the post-World War II international order.

The project examines bilateral cultural treaties from 1919, when the first such agreements were signed, to 1972, by which time such treaties regulated a fully global network of cultural relations. I approach these treaties as sources for the history of ideas, and as a data set, using computer-assisted quantitative analysis to analyze and visualize how these treaties contributed to the spread of cultural concepts and to the development of transnational cultural networks. In this digital part of the research I am supported by the good people of Humlab.

Research on this project is supported by a grant from the Swedish Foundation for Humanities and Social Sciences.