An anomaly among anomalies: Colonial membership at the League of Nations

Rather than a grouping of sovereign states, the League of Nations, the precursor organisation to the United Nations, admitted several colonies and Dominions as member-states. Perhaps the most unusual addition to the League was that of British India, that was described as an ‘anomaly among anomalies’.

In today’s podcast, we will discuss under what terms colonies could be member-states of an international organisation, as well as why an Empire would want to admit them. And finally, we will cover the precedents that the inclusion of India caused at the League, and how they left their footprint in the structure of the UN. 

Thomas Gidney discusses his PhD thesis on how colonies could become admitted as member-states of international organisations, and the role they play in British imperial policy.

An anomaly among anomalies: Colonial membership at the League of Nations

Picture: LONTAD project
Music: England, CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 Pictures of the Floating World

Health, Intl. ep. 3: Spanish Flu and the Uses of History with Covid-19

In the third episode of the Health, Intl. podcast, Samhita and Thomas discuss the Spanish flu of 1917-1920, a global pandemic that could provide analogies for the current Covid 19 crisis. They discuss how the Spanish flu has been often forgotten in history, and how the flu compares and contrasts with today’s pandemic.

Listen now.

Episode notes

Featuring: Samhita Bharadwaj & Thomas Gidney

Music: What I Learned from Your Mother, by Elephant Funeral (CC By-NC-ND 4.0)

Picture: Men wearing masks during the Spanish Influenza epidemic / Hommes portant un masque durant l’épidémie de grippe espagnole, 1918. Library and Archives Canada, PA-025025, CC By 2.0.

Sources:

Spinney, Laura. Pale Rider: The Spanish Flu of 1918 and How It Changed the World. 1 edition. New York: PublicAffairs, 2017.

Crosby, Alfred W. America’s Forgotten Pandemic: The Influenza of 1918. Cambridge University Press, 2003.

Oxford, JS, A Sefton, R Jackson, W Innes, RS Daniels, and NPAS Johnson. “World War I May Have Allowed the Emergence of ‘Spanish’ Influenza.” The Lancet Infectious Diseases 2, no. 2 (February 1, 2002): 111–14. 

Cheng, K. F., and P. C. Leung. “What Happened in China during the 1918 Influenza Pandemic?” International Journal of Infectious Diseases 11, no. 4 (July 1, 2007): 360–64. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijid.2006.07.009.

Langford, Christopher. “Did the 1918–19 Influenza Pandemic Originate in China?” Population and Development Review 31, no. 3 (2005): 473–505. 

Oxford, John S., and Douglas Gill. “A Possible European Origin of the Spanish Influenza and the First Attempts to Reduce Mortality to Combat Superinfecting Bacteria: An Opinion from a Virologist and a Military Historian.” Human Vaccines & Immunotherapeutics 15, no. 9 (September 2, 2019): 2009–12. 

Book of the Week: “Women in Battle: 150 years of fighting for freedom, equality and sisterhood”, by Marta Breen and Jenny Jordahl

The book for anyone who wants to learn as much as possible about the history of feminism in as short a time as possible. Presented as a graphic novel and spanning 150 years of recent history, Women in Battle celebrates the fight for women’s rights all over the world. Topics include the suffragette movement, female world leaders, abortion and contraception, gay marriage and #MeToo. It is the journey of our mothers, grandmothers and great-grandmothers to where we are today. Slowly but surely we are making progress. We need only dare to be heard.

Publisher: London, Hot Key Books, 2018
Call number: 342.701 HEIBD 105

Series of the Week: “Chernobyl”, by Johan Renck

“Dramatising the true story of the 1986 nuclear accident, one of the worst man-made catastrophes in history, Chernobyl shines a light on the brave men and women who fought an unprecedented war against an invisible enemy, and who suffered and sacrificed, saving millions of lives, often at the cost of their own. “

Chernobyl has received the Golden Globe Award 2020 for the best miniseries.

5 episodes of 60 mns, 2019
Call number: 4.1 CHE2, HEIDVD 3652

Book of the Week: “Kings and presidents: Saudi Arabia and the United States since FDR” by Bruce Riedel

An insider’s account of the often-fraught U.S.-Saudi relationship.

Saudi Arabia and the United States have been partners since 1943, when President Roosevelt met with two future Saudi monarchs. Subsequent U.S. presidents have had direct relationships with those kings and their successors– setting the tone for a special partnership between an absolute monarchy with a unique Islamic identity and the world’s most powerful democracy. Although based in large part on economic interests, the U.S.-Saudi relationship has rarely been smooth.

Publisher: Washington, D.C.: Brookings Institution Press, 2018
Call Number: 327(532/73) HEIA 121331