At the end of the Napoleonic wars, the invention of a new kind of international politics, with
an emphasis on permanent peace, humanity and humanitarianism, was already implicated in
the rise of new kinds of international finance, and the prospect of transnational investment in
humanitarian policies. A century later, the Paris peace conference of 1919, prospects for
human dignity and efficient trade were tied to the internationally-consistent rights of workers
in the shaping of the ILO. In this talk, I focus on the economic contexts of human rights
discourse and law as a way of capturing the spectrum of imaginaries and cultural norms that
have shaped modern conceptions of international order, with a particular emphasis on gender
and the family. My aim is to understand specifically the place that human rights has in the
international politics of not only the past, but the future.
Glenda Sluga is Professor of International History at the University of Sydney. She is also an
Australian Research Council Laureate Fellow, currently directing the program ‘Inventing the
International — the origins of globalisation'. Her most recent books include Internationalism
in the Age of Nationalism (Penn, 2013), (with Carolyn James) eds, Women, Diplomacy and
International Politics since 1500 (Routledge, 2015 ) and (with Patricia Clavin),
eds, Internationalisms: A Twentieth Century History (CUP, 2017).