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Karen Gram-Skjoldager


Current position: Associate Professor, School of Culture and Society, History, Aarhus University, Denmark

During her Jens Christian Skou Fellowship, Karen Gram-Skjoldager worked on the project 'When International Organizations Improvise. Institutional Responses to International Crises, 1945-2020'

Project at AIAS

In our world of nation-states, international organizations (IOs) have been hugely successful in forging cooperation and achieving shared results. The history of IOs, in other words, provides us with ample examples of convergence, progress and integration. These dynamics are also what have interested historians who have attempted to understand and explain why and how states cooperate and how multilateral and supranational governing structures in turn shape policy processes and preferences among member states. However, the current crisis of post-World War II liberal international order should make us reconsider this focus. In view of the present political situation, where zero-sum geopolitics and the rhetoric of putting the national interest first are becoming the dominant norms of international interactions, the present project proposes to explore the essential, yet largely overlooked question of how IOs have reacted in times of crisis and (potential) disintegration since World War II? More precisely, the project aims to develop a thorough state-of-the-art of the problem and to construct a research design that will allow us to make a first exploration of the issue.

Short bio

Karen Gram-Skjoldager is Associate Professor of International History. She received her PhD from Aarhus University in 2009 and has been Jean Monnet Fellow at the European University Institute in Florence. Her research interests cover Scandinavian foreign policy, inter-war international organizations and diplomacy. She has published widely in leading international journals and is a member of the editorial board of Diplomatica (Brill). She has recently directed the research project Inventing International Bureaucracy.

Project title:

When International Organizations Improvise. Institutional Responses to International Crises, 1945-2020    

Area of research:

20th century international history     

Fellowship period:

1 Oct 2020 - 31 March 2021

Fellowship type

Jens Christian Skou fellow

This fellowship has received funding from The Aarhus University Research Foundation.