HomeExperts and expertise in the mandates and of the society of nations

HomeExperts and expertise in the mandates and of the society of nations

Experts and expertise in the mandates and of the society of nations

Experts et expertises dans les mandats de la Société des Nations

Figures, fields and tools

Figures, champs et outils

*  *  *

Published on Wednesday, March 04, 2015


Our vantage point is to consider the growing in importance of expertise during the twentieth century within the management of the colonial world and hence to study the emergence of the international sphere as a level of decision making. The purpose of this conference is to investigate the influence of early international agendas, advanced across the colonial world by experts operating in the orbit of international organizations. The investigation should also focus on the procedures and framework of international recognition of expertise at the intersection of the colonial and the international spheres. A first line of enquiry tackles the relations between the epistemologies that underpinned scientific knowledge in the colony and the metropolis. Another one looks into the sites of production of Mandatory expertise. Finally, we want to investigate the explicitly evolutionary conceptual framework for the mandates and its influence on the work of experts. We invite contributions dealing with the figure of the expert, whether official or not, and the various fields and tools of Mandatory expertise. Part and parcel of our reflexion is also a study of the limits and scope of expertise.



Thursday, March 26th, 2015

8.45: Welcome
9.15: Véronique Dimier, keynote lecture (ULB/Bruxelles)

10.00-13.00: 1st panel - Figures of the expert

Chair : Chantal VERDEIL.

Discussion : Emmanuelle SIBEUD (Université Paris 8 - Vincennes-Saint-Denis)

  • 10.00-10.30: Daniel ABWA (Université de Yaoundé I Cameroun), « Théodore Marchand, commissaire de la République française au Cameroun (1923-1933), représentant de la France à la CPM face aux pétitions des Camerounais »
  • 10.30-11.00: Julie d’ANDURAIN (Université Paris IV – Paris Sorbonne), « Robert de Caix, un expert désabusé »

11.00-11.30: Coffee break

  • 11.30-12.00: Karène SANCHEZ (Universiteit Leiden), « Missionnaires britanniques : experts/ contre- experts du Mandat en Palestine ? » 
  • 12.00-12.30: Quintino LOPES (Universidade de Évora, Portugal), « Fernando Pereira da Silva, the National Education Board [Junta de Educação Nacional] and the League of Nations: science and diplomacy in the 1930s »
  • 12.30-13.00: Geoffrey D. SCHAD (University of Pennsylvania), « The figure of the native expert: Léon Mourad in the service of the High Commission for Syria and Lebanon »

13.00-14.30: buffet

14.30-17.30: 2nd panel - Fields of expertise

Chair: Norig NEVEU.

Discussion : Michael FISCHBACH (Randolph Macon College)

  • 14.30-15.00: Elizabeth WILLIAMS (Georgetown University), « Scientific Agriculture and the Politics of Expertise in French Mandate Syria and Lebanon »
  • 15.00-15.30: Sarah GRISWOLD (New York University), « Law of the Land: Experts and Antiquities Legislation in the Class A Mandates, 1918-1926 »

15.30-16.00: Coffee break

  • 16.00-16.30: Liat KOZMA (Université hébraïque de Jérusalem), « Mapping prostitution in the Levant » 
  • 16.30-17.00: Nova ROBINSON (University of New Jersey), « The Committee of Experts on the Legal Status of Women and Measuring the Status of “All the World’s Women” »
  • 17.00-17.30: Julia SHATZ (University of California), « Defining the Child: Juvenile Delinquency and Competing Expertise in Mandate Palestine »

20.00: Conference dinner

Friday, March 27th, 2015

09.00: Welcome

09.30-12.30: 3rd Panel - Tools of expertise

Chair : Simon JACKSON.

Discussion : Philippe BOURMAUD (Université Jean Moulin – Lyon 3)

  • 09.30-10.00: Roser CUSSÓ (Université Paris 1 – Panthéon Sorbonne), « Aux origines de l’évaluation statistique internationale : le système mandataire de la Société des Nations »
  • 10.00-10.30: Fuat DÜNDAR (Bilgi University), Determining Ethnic Borders by the League of Nations Mosul Commission; Statistics and Cartography
  • 10.30-11.00: Lauren BANKO (University of Manchester), « Differences between the natives’ state of civilization’ : creating, implementing and rationalizing nationality and citizenship in the interwar Middle East »

11.00-11.30: Pause

  • 11.30-12.00: Geoffrey GRAY (University of Queensland), « We want people … who want to study real difficult problems’: the anthropological expert in the Territory of New Guinea »
  • 12.00-12.30: Christine WINTER (University of Sidney), « Mixed race populations in the C Mandates: a study in ambivalence »

12.30-14.30: Lunch break

14.30-18.30: 4th panel - The limits of expertise

Chair : Philippe BOURMAUD.

Discussion : Simon JACKSON (Birmingham University)

  • 14.30-15.00: Alvine Henry ASSEMBE NDI (Université de Yaoundé), « La gestion des pétitions sur le Cameroun sous mandat français par la CPM : une contre-expertise négligée ? »
  • 15.00-15.30: Ananda V. BURRA (University of Michigan), « Newly Minted Experts: Petitioning the Mandates System and Anti- Colonial Protest »
  • 15.30-16.00: Robert GORDON (University of Vermont), « ‘Bloody Geneva’: The Administrator of South-west Africa responds »

16.00-16.30: Coffee break

  • 16.30-17.00: Emma EDWARDS (National University of Ireland), « International institutions as catalysts for change? Nascent postcolonial discourse in the International Labour Organisation 1919-47 »
  • 17.00-17.30: Hilary Falb KALISMAN (University of California), « Local and Colonial Educators in the Mandates for Iraq and Palestine: Contested Expertise within National and International Frameworks »

17.30-18.30: Conclusions of the conference, Susan Pedersen (Columbia University)

The conference is organized with the support of the INALCO, the Institut Universitaire de France, the Centre de Recherche Moyen-Orient Méditerranée (EA 4091), the Institut Français du Proche-Orient (USR 3135), the Université Jean Moulin – Lyon 3 and the Laboratoire de Recherche Historique Rhône-Alpes (UMR 5091).

Pratical information


This is an open conference, of special interest for students of international relations, Modern and Contemporary history, colonial studies, Middle Eastern studies, African Studies and Pacific studies. Due to the recent upgrade of security measures in France and in Paris in particular, we invite everyone who wishes to attend to bring proof of ID, the presentation of which might be asked of them at the entrance of the INALCO.


The languages of the conference will be English and French.


The Institut National des Langues et Cultures Orientales is located close to the Bibliothèque François Mitterrand metro station, 65, rue des Grands Moulins – 75013 PARIS :






  • Auditorium de l'INALCO - 65 rue des Grands Moulins
    Paris, France (75013)


  • Thursday, March 26, 2015
  • Friday, March 27, 2015


  • expertise, société des nations, mandats, colonialisme, entre-deux-guerres


  • Philippe Bourmaud
    courriel : philippe [dot] bourmaud [at] univ-lyon3 [dot] fr
  • Chantal VERDEIL
    courriel : chantal [dot] verdeil [at] inalco [dot] fr
  • Norig NEVEU
    courriel : norigneveu [at] hotmail [dot] fr

Information source

  • Philippe Bourmaud
    courriel : philippe [dot] bourmaud [at] univ-lyon3 [dot] fr


CC0-1.0 This announcement is licensed under the terms of Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal.

To cite this announcement

« Experts and expertise in the mandates and of the society of nations », Conference, symposium, Calenda, Published on Wednesday, March 04, 2015, https://doi.org/10.58079/s60

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