Europe and International Cooperation in the 20th Century

This research group aims at offering both a local and a transnational platform to explore the historical processes of international cooperation in Europe, as well as Europe’s cooperation with the broader international community during the twentieth century.

International cooperation has played a tremendous role in shaping the development of European (nation) states during the last century. At the same time, regional European integration, most importantly though the EU, is part of wider globalization processes, as well as a response to them. As an international organization, the EU follows from, overlaps and coexists with other international organizations including the League of Nations, the United Nations, the Council of Europe, the GATT/WTO, the OECD and others. International cooperation has also been a response to the challenges of imperial competition and collapse; the protracted processes of decolonization; and conflict in the European state system and within European societies.

Purpose of the research group

The group’s main purpose is to encourage exchanges between scholars who promote renewed research agendas, interdisciplinary approaches and innovative digital tools to study these various topics. Composed of both core and affiliated members from CEMES, universities all over Europe and beyond, as well as over a dozen partner institutions, it also functions as a hub for the development of research projects which can be submitted both individually and jointly to Danish or European research funds, as well as other national funding agencies which promote transnational collaboration.

The group’s main activities include

  • Encouraging synergies between the different research projects carried out at CEMES on the topic Europe and international cooperation.
  • Promoting the use of digital tools in international organization history.
  • Hosting international conferences which rethink European cooperation through interdisciplinary debates.
  • Developing partnerships with relevant archive centers.
  • Inviting prominent scholars from the field to present their research.
  • Making research available to the broader public through digital dissemination.
  • Hosting a bimonthly reading group in which CEMES scholars can discuss new research.
  • Developing research-based teaching and pedagogical approaches to our field.
  • Engaging students in the research activities and public dissemination of the group.
  • Attracting young researchers to develop innovative research projects in the framework of Marie Skłodowska-Curie fellowships.
  • Inviting visiting scholars to CEMES and the University of Copenhagen.
  • Facilitating student internships with relevant European partners.


The Congress for Cultural Freedom and the Cultural Cold War in Scandinavia, 1950-1967
Conducted at: Malmö University
PI: Dino Knudsen
This research project, carried out by Dino Knudsen, which draws on previously inaccessible primary sources, will produce a research monograph, articles in academic journals and leading Danish newspapers, as well as an exhibition at Ovengaden – Institute for Contemporary Art (Copenhagen). In a situation where democracy is challenged by the unequalled abilities of present days intelligence services, tech giants and specialist’s abilities to manipulate public opinion, Knudsen is investigating a historical precedent: the Congress for Cultural Freedom, which in the period 1950-1967, with the support of the US intelligence service CIA, influenced cultural life in more than thirty countries worldwide. The Congress united distinguished writers, artists, and philosophers, such as Arthur Koestler, Nicolas Nabokov, Hannah Arendt, and Bertrand Russell. The project will focus on the underexposed activities of the Congress in Scandinavia, including Selskabet for Frihed og Kultur in Denmark.

Autonomy & Expertise in International Administrations, 1940s-1970s (2022-24) 
Funded by: Independent Research Fund Denmark
PI: Haakon A. Ikonomou

Integration through law - the history of the European court of justice, 1950-1993 (2022-23)
Funded by: Carlsberg Foundation Monograph Fellowships
PI: Morten Rasmussen
Read more.

Globio - The Global Biographies Working Group (2021-)
Read more.

The League of Nations and the development of international law: from promotion strategies to giving shape to international legal instruments (2021-23)
Funded by: Horizon 2020, Marie Curie postdoc project
PI: Vera Fritz

This Marie Curie postdoc project carried out by Vera Fritz will produce an archive-based historical account of how the first universal organization, the League of Nations, forged various diplomatic strategies to convince member states to strengthen and develop international law through the codification of international customary law. It will also study how the League defined the concrete shape that legal agreements would take and developed drafting techniques which still prevail today. Although the history of how the legal shape of international agreements and decisions developed is strictly speaking legal history, it is at the heart of international organizations history because it concerns the capacity of international bodies to act. In addition, law was very much at the center of the League of Nations as a political and ideological project, in which a handful of diplomats played leading roles. This research project will combine a macro-multi archive approach relying on documents from the League and key member states with micro-level biographical research on individual actors. The combination of these different sources and angles of analysis will allow for an important contribution to our understanding of how global governance took a distinctively legal form during the Twentieth Century.

4EU+ University Alliance: History of European cooperation since 1919 (2021-22)
MAPS-EU: MA-PhD Seminar - Research skills for junior researchers
Co-PI: Morten Rasmussen
Read more.

European Security in a Changing World. General disarmament between international organization & state sovereignty, 1890s-1930s (2021-23)
Gerda Henkel project within the special programme "Security, Society, and the State”
PI: Haakon A. Ikonomou
Read more.

Scandinavian Internationalist Diplomacy, 1920s-1970s (2020-22)
Funded by: NOS-HS
PI: Haakon A. Ikonomou
Read more.

Laying the Foundations – The League of Nations and International Law, 1919 to 1945 (2018-22)
Funded by: Independent Research Fund Denmark
PI: Morten Rasmussen
Read more.

Towards a New History of European Public Law - Battles over the constitutional practice, 1950 to 1993 (2013-16)
Funded by: the Danish Agency for Science, Technology and Innovation
PI: Morten Rasmussen
Read more




For questions regarding activities or membership of the research group, contact the group's coordinators. 

Will be updated soon.

See a list of all activities Fall 2018 (pdf)
See a list of all activities Fall 2017 (pdf)


Vera Fritz, Postdoc, Saxo-Instituttet, University of Copenhagen
Haakon A. Ikonomou, Lektor, Saxo-Instituttet, University of Copenhagen
Morten Rasmussen, Lektor, Saxo-Instituttet, University of Copenhagen

Center Coordinator

Jacob Jensen, Postdoc, PhD, Saxo-Instituttet, University of Copenhagen



 Research group members

Research group members

Core members 

  • Rasmus Sinding SøndergaardDanish Institute for International Studies
  • Dino Knudsen,Malmö University
  • Emil SeidenfadenUniversity of Copenhagen
Name Title Phone E-mail
Haakon Andreas Ikonomou Assistant Professor - Tenure Track +4535335625 E-mail
Morten Rasmussen Associate Professor +4529620550 E-mail

External members

  • Giles Scott-Smith, Leiden University
  • Ken Weisbrode, Bilkent University
  • N. Piers Ludlow, London School of Economics
  • Laura Almagor, University of Sheffield
  • Eirini Karamouzi, University of Sheffield
  • Victoria Phillips, London School of Economics
  • Christos Tsakas, Danish Institute Athens
  • Patrick O. Cohrs, University of Florence
  • Michael Jonas, Helmut Schmidt University
  • Sunniva Engh, University of Oslo
  • Miriam Bak Mckenna, Roskilde University
  • Niels Brimnes, Aarhus University
  • Andreas Hellenes, Chalmers University of Technology
  • Carl Marklund, Södertörn University
  • Aryo Makko, Stockholm University
  • Kjersti Brathagen, University College Southeast Norway
  • Martin Grandjean, University of Lausanne
  • Hannah Tyler, University of Lausanne
  • Torsten Kahlert, Herzog August Bibliothek
  • Karen Gram-Skjoldager, Aarhus University
  • Myriam Piguet, University of Geneva
  • Colin Wells, United Nations Library and Archives Geneva
  • Blandine Blukacz-Louisfert, United Nations Library and Archives Geneva
  • Dimitris Kamouzis, Centre for Asia Minor Studies
  • Ozan Ozavci, Utrecht University
  • Jonathan Conlin, University of Southampton
  • Bob Reinalda, Radboud University
  • Glenda Sluga, European University Institute
  • Laurent Warlouzet, Paris Sorbonne University