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Laureate Research Program in International History

Home to the research theme ‘Inventing the international’
Hosting academics, postdoctoral scholars and junior research fellows to explore the history of how economics and politics intersected after 1815 to make the modern, globalised world.

About us

'Inventing the International' brings together a team of specialist researchers to ask innovative questions about how people have imagined the international as a realm of politics and society in the past.

  • What constituted internationalism in the 19th and 20th centuries?
  • What role did economic ideas and entrepreneurs play in the determination of the international as a realm of political and social life and in shaping geopolitical and civilisational divisions?

We run research workshops and seminar programs on several themes: 

  • Sites of international memory
  • What is international history now?
  • Economics and international history
  • Climate and capital
  • Planetary pasts and futures.

Research themes

'Inventing the international' comprises four main themes

We bring together a team of researchers to ask innovative questions about how humans imagine the international as a realm of politics and society.

Our people

The Laureate Research Program in International History comprises academics and researchers from across the University and we welcome visiting international scholars.


Professor Glenda Sluga

Steering committee

Sunil Amrith, Birkbeck, University of London

Jens Boel, UNESCO

Patrizia Dogliani, University of Bologna

David Engerman, Brandeis University

Madeleine Herren-Oesch, University of Basel

Akira Iriye, Harvard University

Sandrine Kott, University of Geneva

Marilyn Lake, University of Melbourne

Fiona Paisley, Griffith University

Liang Pan, University of Tsukuba

Emma Rothschild, Harvard University


Dr Philippa Hetherington, The University of Sydney

Associate Professor Vanessa Ogle, University of California Berkeley

Professor Patricia Owens, University of Sussex

Professor Naoko Shimazu, Yale-NUS College, Singapore

Dr Lucia Sorbera, The University of Sydney

Our events

League of Nations mass meeting 71st Regiment  armory

Remembering 1919 and the origins of the International Economic Order

Tuesday 16 July | 6 - 7.30 pm
Social Sciences Building
Lecture Theatre 200
University of Sydney


  • Dr. Yves Rees (LaTrobe)
  • Dr. Aditya Balsubramanian (ANU)
  • Dr. Pierre Eichenberger (Lausanne/New School)
  • Dr. Ben Huf (Sydney)
  • Chaired by Prof. Glenda Sluga

THE CHALLENGE: 100  years ago, the Treaty of Versailles was signed in the glittering Hall  of Mirrors, outlining the peace settlements of the First World War.  Among its legacies was the foundations of an international economic  order— multilateral trading, liberalised finance, new global governance  institutions and American ascendency. 1919  also harboured great  inequities, especially for Germany and Soviet Russia, and fostered  nationalism, militarism and extremism that led to a Great Depression and  Second World War.

On the anniversary of the peace of 1919, four  young economic historians reflect on the lasting legacies of 1919 and  put the challenges of the present in sharp relief. Our world in 2019 is  very different from 1919. Empires have declined and new planetary  threats in the form of climate change and infectious disease, and AI are  shaping the future international order. There are eerie similarities,  from economic inequality, to the uncertain status of the United States  and Europe and struggles to accommodate a new power – now China. These  are  threatening isolationism, xenophobia and extremist nationalism.  This symposium, discusses 1919’s legacies for economic nationalism, the  economics profession, the role of international economic institutions  and European integration today. Not to be missed.

Click here for more information

New Economic Thinking Winter School for Early Career Researchers

13-17 July 2019

University of Sydney 

Convened by Dr Benjamin Huf (Sydney) and Dr Anne Rees (La Trobe) with support from the Kathleen Fitzpatrick Laureate Research Fellowship in International History 

What is capitalism’s history? How do we write this chapter in our national and global pasts?  

And how can this historical knowledge inform our economic present and future? 

This July, budding historians are invited to consider these questions at a winter school intensive at the University of Sydney. Over three days, participants will engage with the recent revival in economic history and histories of capitalism and consider the role of economic and material analysis in their own research. 

The program will feature a range of Australian and international historians, and will include both skills-based and conceptual workshops covering topics such as neoliberalism, settler capitalism and Indigenous economies, work and the Anthropocene, statistical methods and public history. 

Download the full program
(PDF 160KB)

Photo credit: Traders at the Australian Stock Exchange in Sydney selling off stock during the stock market crash 20 October 1987, SMH BUSINESS, Picture by ANTON CERMAK, Fairfax Photos.

polar image

Polar Extremes Panel

Tuesday 6 August
6 – 7.30pm
Social Sciences Lecture Theatre 200
Social Sciences Building A02
Click here for map


  • Professor Elizabeth Leane, Professor of English, University of Tasmania
  • Professor Tim Stephens, Professor of International Law, University of Sydney
  • Dr Rohan Howitt, Junior Research Fellow, Laureate Program in International History, University of Sydney

The polar regions are increasingly at the centre of environmental, geo-political and cultural shifts occurring in the world. As experts warn that humans have only twelve years to take action to avert devastating and irreversible climate change, the poles have become a striking focus for observing and understanding environmental change. As ships plough new routes through their melting ice floes, the exploitation of the Polar regions present us with a changing theatre of geo-politics. The prospect of warming polar regions is generating fresh interest – and concern – about new industrial and military applications for the poles.  At the same time the Antarctic Treaty System, a bundle of international agreements that regulate the Antarctic region, has taken on a new significance as a model for cooperative international action. Firmly-established images of the poles as pristine wilderness areas have been called into question, forcing humans to rethink their relationship to the Arctic and Antarctic through literature, media, and culture. This panel will discuss how our relationship with the polar regions has changed in the 21st century and what the polar regions reveal about the challenges facing the world today.

In conjunction with Sydney Ideas

To explore our events, please visit the University of Sydney's What's On calendar.

In the media

ABC Radio National Saturday Extra
1 June 2019
Sabine Selchow, Research Fellow in International History:
A Foreign Affair panel on Australian foreign policy, Indonesian election tension and European Parliamentary elections.

S2Ep3: Skeletons of Empire – History Lab podcast
December 2018
In the aftermath of World War One, nations came together in an attempt to ensure war on the same devastating scale could never occur again. The result? The League of Nations: a revolutionary idea to form the world’s first international organisation. But clearly it did not stop the world from going to war.


Contact details

Program officer