“'Of Nations Linked Together': Cables, the League of Nations & the Construction of Imagined Global Communities"
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Roxana Vatanparast, Visiting Fellow, Program on Science, Technology and Society, Harvard University.
Co-sponsored by the Mossavar-Rahmani Center for Business and Government, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, and School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Harvard University.
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Sheila Jasanoff, Faculty Associate. Pforzheimer Professor of Science and Technology Studies, Harvard Kennedy School.
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From their advent in the nineteenth century to the interwar period in the context of the League of Nations, different visions of desirable futures have become embedded in the technological developments surrounding undersea cables. In the context of the nineteenth century, undersea cables came to represent the possibility of bringing the world closer together and enabled imagining the British nation to be all over the world, transcending territorial borders. This enabled a new spatial scale at which political communities, nations, and governance were imagined. Cables and the communications they enabled also played an important role in the interwar period, as seen ininstitutional discourses of the League of Nations. Communications between people of the world were thought to help promote peaceful relations and became an integral part ofthe League’s work. Moreover, the League, with its emphasis on the importance of information flows and communications, helped construct an imagined global population over which governance could take place, enabling new scales of governance for international law.
Roxana Vatanparast is a Visiting Fellow with the Program on Science, Technology and Society (STS) at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government and an Affiliate with the Center on Global Legal Transformation at Columbia Law School. Her research is broadly concerned with the co-production of technology and technocratic projects of global governance. An interdisciplinary scholar, her research interests include technology and global governance, data, infrastructures, digital platforms, history of technology, international law, STS, and political economy. Additionally, Roxana is an international legal consultant with experience in both the private and non-profit sectors. She has spent research stays at Sciences Po Law School and the Institute for Global Law & Policy at Harvard Law School. She holds a Ph.D. from the University of Turin, Department of Law, a LL.M. from the International University College of Turin, and a J.D. from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law.