The Legacy of 1919: Reconsidering Versailles and the Minority Rights Regime

AHA Session 261
Sunday, January 6, 2019: 9:00 AM-10:30 AM
Waldorf Room (Hilton Chicago, Third Floor)
David N. Myers, University of California, Los Angeles
Gil Rubin, Harvard University

Session Abstract

This roundtable will aim to bring new historical perspective to the commemorative year of 1919--and more specifically, to the so-called "Versailles system" that was intended to set in pace legal protections and collective rights for national minorities in the successor states that emerged after the First World War. The roundtable will consider whether the "Versailles system" was doomed to failure upon inception--or might have had a chance of success if certain conditions were changed. The discourse of minority rights is itself an important chapter in the history of human rights with particular importance for the history of ethnic and religious groups that failed to achieve sovereignty. The roundtable will consider the legacy of the minority rights debate before, during, and after the Paris Peace Conference--and ask whether that history is of relevance today in thinking through the status of refugees and asylum seekers.
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