United Nations Intellectual History Project United Nations Intellectual History Project United Nations Intellectual History Project
ABOUT UNIHP
Funders
Advisory Council
Publication List
ORAL HISTORIES
UN VOICES
 
  Publication List  
     
  All books published by Indiana University Press unless otherwise noted.  
     
 

Ahead of the Curve? UN Ideas and Global Challenges (2001)

Louis Emmerij, Richard Jolly, & Thomas G. Weiss
Foreword by Kofi A. Annan

     

A Choice Outstanding Academic Book of 2003. Translated into Arabic, French, and German.

The first study to trace the development and impact of the UN's most significant ideas on the world's economy.

"Carefully researched and well documented, this dissection of the UN's contributions and failures in the areas of international economic and social development is an important addition to the literature." —Choice

"With the publication of this first volume in the United Nations Intellectual History Project, a significant lacuna in 20th-century scholarship and international relations begins to be filled." —Kofi A. Annan, UN Secretary-General

"A provocative reminder of the major role of the United Nations in global social and economic affairs in the postwar period; and a tantalizing taste of what is still to come in a major intellectual effort better to understand the UN's past and potential future role." —Prof. Gerald K. Helleiner, University of Toronto

"This book as well as the whole project have the great value of raising questions about the easy, conservative realist approach that dominates diplomacy. I wish that I had had it when I was teaching courses on international organization." —Prof. Leon Gordenker, Princeton University

 
  Back to Top ^  
     
 

Quantifying the World: UN Ideas and Statistics (2004)

Michael Ward

     

Good data, Michael Ward argues, serve to enhance a perception about life as well as to deepen an understanding of reality. This history of the UN's role in fostering international statistics in the postwar period demonstrates how statistics have shaped our understanding of the world. Drawing on well over 40 years of experience working as a statistician and economist in more than two dozen countries around the world, Ward traces the evolution of statistical ideas and how they have responded to the needs of policy while unraveling the question of why certain data were considered important and why other data and concerns were not. The book explores the economic, social, and environmental dimensions of the UN's statistical work and how each dimension has provided opportunities for describing the well-being of the world community. Quantifying the World also reveals some of the missed opportunities for pursuing alternative models.

“The political economy of international statistics hardly exists as a subject, but could scarcely be more important to our understanding of the world. We read the world through statistics, but we know little about the non-technical aspects of how they are formulated. This book makes a strong contribution to filling the gap.”—Prof. Robert Hunter Wade, London School of Economics

“Ward’s volume is a well-informed and engaged account of the intellectual and political controversies underlying an essential, expensive, and in many ways successful, UN activity that takes place without notice by the media or the public—the development and assembling of international statistical data.”—Robert E. Lipsey, National Bureau of Economic Research

“This seminal work tracks the UN statistical system from the bold and idealistic days of its foundation when its objective was to “quantify the world” through to today’s obsessions with performance targets. It covers a fascinating debate on the value of internationally harmonized data, highlighting the danger of vesting power in information entirely in the hands of governments. It is essential reading for anyone interested in ‘political arithmetic.’”—Denise Lievesley, UNESCO Institute for Statistics

 
  Back to Top ^  
     
 

Unity and Diversity in Development Ideas: Perspectives from the UN Regional Commissions (2004)

Edited by Yves Berthelot

     

Unity and Diversity in Development Ideas retraces the contribution of each of the UN’s five regional commissions—Europe, Asia, and the Far East, Latin America, Africa, and Western Asia—to UN development thinking and also considers the adaptation of UN global principles to the specific condition of each region. Confronted with the same broad issues—growth, employment, inequality, regional tensions, and globalization—the regional commissions generated different, and sometimes innovative, responses that reflected their economic and cultural diversity. With contributions from former executive secretaries of the commissions themselves and from experts in the individual regions, Unity and Diversity in Development Ideas is an invitation to the UN system to undertake a serious reflection on the formulation of global initiatives. It is also a plea for the UN to draw from its invaluable wealth of national, regional, and global experiences a vision of development adapted to the 21st century.

“In showing the diversity of issues faced by the various regions and the diversity of answers developed by the UN Regional Commissions, this book clearly demonstrates that one-size-fits-all policies are inadequate to our world.”—Stéphane Hessel, Ambassadeur de France

“The UN’s economic commissions have been the source of much of the real innovation in our understanding of economic development. Such ideas, documented by this second volume in the series, are one of the lasting legacies of the United Nations system. Indeed. The UN Intellectual History Project is long overdue.”—Craig N. Murphy, M. Margaret Ball Professor of International Relations, Wellesley College

 
  Back to Top ^  
     
 

UN Contributions to
Development Thinking and Practice (2004)

Richard Jolly, Louis Emmerij, Dharam Ghai, & Frédéric Lapeyre

     

A Choice Outstanding Academic Book of 2005.

UN Contributions to Development Thinking and Practice is at once a history of the ideas and realities of international development, from the classical economists to the recent emphasis on human rights, and a history of the UN's role in shaping and implementing development paradigms over the last half century. The authors, all prominent in the field of development studies, argue that the UN's founding document, the UN Charter, is infused with the human values and human concerns that are at the center of the UN's thinking on economic and human development today. In the intervening period, the authors show how the UN's approach to development evolved from mainstream areas of economic development to include issues of employment, poverty reduction, fairer distribution of the benefits of growth, equality of men and women, child development, social justice, and environmental sustainability.

“The far-reaching contributions that the United Nations has made to the theory and practice of development policy are often underappreciated. This well documented study takes a powerful step towards correcting that neglect. It also helps us to understand the continuing relevance of many of the major developmental ideas that have emanated from this remarkable institution.” —Prof. Amartya Sen, Harvard University

“A timely and important study that casts new light on the pioneering—and too little recognized—role played by the United Nations system in shaping some of the most important development thinking and results over the last 60 years. In doing so it not only provides valuable lessons from the past but helps point the way to a 21st century agenda that remains true to the bedrock UN principles of putting people at the heart of development.”—Mark Malloch Brown, United Nations Development Programme

“Often when the Bretton Woods Institutions continued along a path of narrow orthodoxy, the UN stood up with new ideas and alternative policies. This volume documents these and other too often ignored but important contributions over the UN’s 60 years.”—Prof. Joseph E. Stiglitz, Columbia University

 
  Back to Top ^  
     
 

The UN and Global Political Economy: Trade, Finance, and Development (2004)

John Toye & Richard Toye

     
Against the backdrop of a 20-year revolt against free trade orthodoxy by economists inside the UN and their impact on policy discussions since the 1960s, the authors show how the UN both nurtured and inhibited creative and novel intellectual contributions to the trade and development debate. Presenting a stirring account of the main UN actors in this debate, The UN and Global Political Economy focuses on the accomplishments and struggles of UN economists and the role played by such UN agencies as the Department of Economic (and Social) Affairs, the United Nations Commission on Trade and Development, and the Economic Commission for Latin America (and the Caribbean). It also looks closely at the effects of the Latin American debt crisis of the 1980s, the growing strength of the World Trade Organization in the 1990s, and the lessons to be drawn from these and other recent developments.

“Our understanding of debates over the nature of economic development, the role of international organisations and the place of economists in shaping policy are transformed by this readable and deeply researched book. It makes a major contribution to the history of economic thought and of post-war economic change.”—Prof. Martin Daunton, University of Cambridge

“This thoroughly researched history gives a lively and readable account of what seven famous economists contributed to UN thinking. The UN work of Kalecki, Kaldor, Prebisch, Singer, Furtado, Dell, and Noyola Vazquez is critically re-examined and its later consequences are explored. In the final chapter, the authors offer their own important proposals for reform of the current international economic architecture.”—José Antonio Ocampo, Under-Secretary General for Economic and Social Affairs, United Nations

“This thoughtful and scholarly book, surveying the origins and evolution of United Nations economic policy-making, cogently illuminates how the asymmetrical power among nations has shaped the institutions we see today. It is essential reading for anyone who wishes to understand contemporary international economic institutions.”—Frances Stewart, Director, Centre for Research on Inequality, Human Security, and Ethnicity (CRISE), University of Oxford

 
  Back to Top ^  
     
 

Power of UN Ideas: Lessons from the First 60 Years (2005)

United Nations Intellectual History Project
Richard Jolly, Louis Emmerij, & Thomas G. Weiss

     

Also available for download from www.unhistory.org.

The UN has had a more positive and pioneering record on the economic and social arena than is generally recognized. Its contributions to development, thinking, and ideas are among its most important achievements. Yet often these are little known. This short book provides an overview of those contributions, drawing on the results and findings of the UN Intellectual History Project already published or in preparation.

 
  Back to Top ^  
     
 

UN Voices: The Struggle for Development and Social Justice (2005)

Thomas G. Weiss, Tatiana Carayannis, Louis Emmerij, & Richard Jolly

     
UN Voices presents the human and moving stories of an extraordinary group of individuals who contributed to the economic and social record of the UN's life and activities. Drawing from extensive interviews, the book presents in their own words the experiences of 73 individuals from around the globe who have spent much of their professional lives engaged in United Nations affairs. We hear from Secretaries-General and presidents, ministers and professors, social workers and field workers, as well as diplomats and executive heads of UN agencies. Among those interviewed are noted figures such as Kofi Annan, Boutros Boutros-Ghali, Alister McIntyre, Conor Cruise O'Brien, Javier Pérez de Cuéllar, and Kurt Waldheim, as well as many less well known UN professional men and women who have made significant contributions to the international struggle for a better world. Their personal accounts also engage their contributions in dealing with such events and issues as the UN's founding, decolonization, the rise and fall of the Berlin Wall, human rights, the environment, and September 11, 2001.

“The United Nations is the grand experiment of our age, and, like all experiments, it proceeds through trial and error. Far from being a distant bureaucracy, the UN is composed of individuals who are reshaped by vital experiences. UN Voices gives international civil servants human faces and shows how ideas drive the grand experiment. It is a fascinating book.”—Prof. Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., historian and special assistant to President John F. Kennedy

“The authors have cajoled, intrigued or reassured their seventy-three “voices” into telling a fascinating story of the UN and its institutions, which is also a story of seventy-three individual lives; of women and men who are no longer simply voices, but individuals with their own complicated histories of emigration and education, family relationships and professional choices, hopes and successes.”—Prof. Emma Rothschild, King’s College, Cambridge University

“This extremely impressive oral history volume puts a human face on the ideas and individuals that have shaped the 60 year history of the United Nations. “Voices” is an astonishingly moving personal as well as institutional oral history, drawing upon the testimonies of 73 leaders whose idealism, strategic thinking and collective cooperation led to a system of global governance. This book could not have been more timely, as it is an intellectual contribution that will guide our future even as it illuminates our past.”—Mary Marshall Clark, Director, Oral History Research Office, Columbia University

 
  Back to Top ^  
     
 

Women, Development, and the UN:
A Sixty-Year Quest for Equality and Justice (2005)

Devaki Jain

     

In Women, Development, and the UN, internationally noted development economist and activist Devaki Jain traces the ways in which women have enriched the work of the United Nations from the time of its founding in 1945. Synthesizing insights from the extensive literature on women and development and from her own broad experience, Jain reviews the evolution of the UN's programs aimed at benefiting the women of developing nations and the impact of women's ideas about rights, equality, and social justice on UN thinking and practice regarding development. Jain presents this history from the perspective of the southern hemisphere, which recognizes that development issues often look different when viewed from the standpoint of countries in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. The book highlights the contributions of the four global women's conferences in Mexico City, Copenhagen, Nairobi, and Beijing in raising awareness, building confidence, spreading ideas, and creating alliances. The history that Jain chronicles reveals both the achievements of committed networks of women in partnership with the UN and the urgent work remaining to bring equality and justice to the world and its women.

“Devaki Jain opens the doors of the United Nations and shows how it has changed the female half of the world—and vice versa. Women, Development, and the UN is a book that every global citizen, government leader, journalist, academic, and self-respecting woman should read.”—Gloria Steinem

“Devaki Jain’s book nurtures your optimism in this terrible war-torn decade by describing how women succeeded in empowering both themselves and the United Nations to work toward a global leadership inspired by human dignity.”—Fatema Mernissi

 
  Back to Top ^  
     
 

Human Security and the UN: A Critical History (2006)

S. Neil MacFarlane & Yuen Foong Khong

     
How did the individual human being become the focus of the contemporary discourse on security? What was the role of the United Nations in "securing" the individual? What are the payoffs and costs of this extension of the concept? Neil MacFarlane and Yuen Foong Khong tackle these questions by analyzing historical and contemporary debates about what is to be secured. From Westphalia through the 19th century, the state's claim to be the object of security was sustainable because it offered its subjects some measure of protection. The state's ability to provide security for its citizens came under heavy strain in the 20th century as a result of technological, strategic, and ideological innovations. By the end of World War II, efforts to reclaim the security rights of individuals gathered pace, as seen in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and a host of United Nations covenants and conventions. MacFarlane and Khong highlight the UN's work in promoting human security ideas since the 1940s, giving special emphasis to its role in extending the notion of security to include development, economic, environmental, and other issues in the 1990s.

“MacFarlane and Khong … offer us a thought-provoking and realistic critique of what they term the overreach of human security as a concept as well as its practical limitations. This is an important and stimulating book.”—Prof. J. Ann Tickner, University of Southern California

“[A] major contribution to our understanding of the ideational role of international organizations. The research is extensive, the writing lucid, and their assessment is clear-eyed and relevant.”—Prof. Stephen M. Walt, Harvard University

“Human beings as individuals have increasingly been placed at the center of international scholarly and policy discourse. Perhaps surprisingly for an organization made up of governments, the United Nations has been at the forefront of capturing this historic shift in the new conceptual language of human security. The “how,” “why” and “so what” of the shift is brilliantly analyzed by MacFarlane and Khong in this important new book that is rigorous, detached, and critical rather than mushy and full of passionate conviction.”—Prof. Ramesh Thakur, Senior Vice-Rector, United Nations University

 
  Back to Top ^  
     
 

The Oxford Handbook on the United Nations (2007)

Oxford University Press
Thomas G. Weiss & Sam Daws, eds.

     

This innovative, high profile volume presents an authoritative and accessible state-of-the-art analysis of the United Nations. The volume is intended to shape the discipline of UN studies, and to establish itself as the essential point of reference for all those working on, in, or around the world organization. The volume is substantial in scope, containing 40 chapters from 49 leading scholars and practitioners - writing sometimes controversially, but always authoritatively - on the key topics and debates that define the institution.

“This Handbook is extraordinarily ambitious and very timely, providing the most comprehensive assessment available anywhere of the UN's performance in an increasingly challenging global environment, and featuring an outstanding cast of authors. It will be an indispensable reference guide for scholars and practitioners alike.”—Prof. John G. Ruggie, Harvard University, Former UN Assistant Secretary-General

“The Oxford Handbook on the United Nations provides the essential overview of the UN under its Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon. Timely and authoritative, the book provides a well-judged balance of analysis, critique, and prescription at a crucial time for the World Organization.”—Mary Robinson, President, Realizing Rights: The Ethical Globalization Initiative, Former President of Ireland and UN High Commissioner for Human Rights

“Given the constant pressure of events within the United Nations, and rapid developments in all the fields that it touches, it is very useful to have a study that stands back and reflects on the challenges for the United Nations as the new Secretary-General takes office. The Oxford Handbook on the United Nations is clearly a scholarly and important work. The editors of this volume have sought contributors of the highest quality to comment on the track record of the Organisation and to make recommendations for the future. The Handbook will surely be of interest to all those who know - or think that they know – the United Nations.”—Judge Rosalyn Higgins, President of the International Court of Justice

 
  Back to Top ^  
     
 

Human Rights at the UN: The Political History of Universal Justice (2007)

Roger Normand & Sarah Zaidi

     

This book will be an assessment of the revolutionary idea of human rights, beginning with the UN Charter and the Universal Declaration and ending with the contemporary emphasis on the holistic package of civil, political, economic, social, and group rights. The analysis will raise questions about the unfinished revolution, not the least whether the world, as too often before, may be entering a phase of reversal in what was a major area of human advance. The authors will examine important advances and continued strong support for human rights that will not easily be reversed by the war on terror. The outcome, as so often before, will depend on the pressures brought to bear by civil society.

 
  Back to Top ^  
     
     
  FORTHCOMING UNIHP BOOKS:

Preventive Diplomacy at the United Nations: The Journey of an Idea
B.G. Ramcharan
Preventive diplomacy is one of the great ideas promulgated by the world organization, namely that quiet diplomacy may head-off some armed conflicts. While running with the intellectual threads of the concept in the political, economic, social, human rights, and humanitarian spheres, this book will also document the available practice, showing significant contributions in situations such as the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962, tracing the role of the Security Council, representatives of the Secretary-General and regional conflict prevention centers, and examining the application of the concept in new areas, such as the prevention of genocide and terrorism.

The UN and Development Cooperation
Olav Stokke
This book will be an assessment of the UN's role in conceptualizing and advocating policies for the transfer of public resources, soft lending, and technical assistance. The history of this public concern changed significantly over the course of the second half of the twentieth century, reflecting changes in the political and economic international environments and evolving predominant norms. The focus will be on the role of the United Nations and its specialized agencies in generating and following up ideas within this policy area. But these institutions were not the only actors on the scene; and the World Bank and member governments of the UN in their individual capacities have strongly influenced both the philosophy guiding this public activity and the practice.

The UN and Transnationals, from Code to Compact
Tagi Sagafi-nejad, in collaboration with John Dunning
This book will examine the intellectual contributions spawned within, or filtered through, the galaxy of disparate units of the United Nations on the role of transnational corporations (TNCs) and their impact on economic development and international relations. It will seek to determine whether, and in what respects, the UN has been ahead of the curve of scholarly understanding on this topic and of the institutions and policies of both national governments and supranational entities in response to the increasing role of TNC activity in the global economy.

The UN and the Global Commons: Development Without Destruction
Nico Schrijver
This volume will analyze the contribution of international organizations to the idea of sustainable development and to the effective management of the global commons. The clash between the ideas of the conservation of natural resources versus the requirement to develop less industrialized countries is one of the most crucial challenges as the 21st century deals with such issues as global warming and carrying capacity of the globe.

The UN and Global Governance: An Idea and its Prospects
Ramesh Thakur and Thomas G. Weiss
This book will examine the complex of formal and informal institutions, mechanisms, relationships, and processes between and among states, markets, citizens, and organizations, both inter- and nongovernmental, through which collective interests on the global plane are articulated, rights and obligations are established, and differences are mediated. “Global governance”—which can be good, bad, or indifferent—refers to concrete cooperative problem-solving arrangements, many of which increasingly involve not only the United Nations of states but also “other UNs,” namely international secretariats and other nonstate actors.

The United Nations: A History of Ideas and Their Future
Richard Jolly, Louis Emmerij, and Thomas G. Weiss
This final volume will draw upon the commissioned books and oral histories with the ambition of being the synthesis of “forward looking” history, drawing conclusions for international governance in the 21st century. The goal is to identify specific lessons from the past so that the UN can play a fuller and stronger role in the changing context of the issues and challenges of the emerging world economy.

 
  Back to Top ^