Call for Chapters: The United Nations Trusteeships System: Legacies, Continuities, and Change

Jan Luedert's picture
Call for Papers
January 4, 2021 to January 31, 2021
Subject Fields: 
Colonial and Post-Colonial History / Studies, Diplomacy and International Relations, Human Rights, Political Science, Social Sciences

We are seeking chapter submissions for a contracted edited volume with

Routledge's Global Institutions Series 



The United Nations Trusteeships System: Legacies, Continuities, and Change


This edited volume considers the past and present legacies, continuities and change of the United Nations Trusteeship System by assessing consequences and legacies of decolonization in contemporary society, international organizations, and international politics. Whilst the establishment of the UN the Security Council was the central response to global insecurity, the Trusteeship Council stood as the sole organ for decolonization – a major geopolitical transformation. Authors address the UN Trusteeship System as a venue for multiple state and non-state actors and its effect on the international system. Rather than viewing UN trusteeship as a bygone phenomenon, which marked the end of an epoch in colonial history, this volume underscores its current relevance. Authors emphasize that UN trusteeship still matters, particularly in view of the recent resurgence of trusteeship models such as in Kosovo and East Timor, the continuity of Trusteeship shows that it had consequences – holding the idea of contemporary external intervention alive and giving it legitimacy.

By drawing attention to the role of this specialized UN venue authors pay heed to and offer a more complete account of how various actors within trust territories and those active in the UN shaped global norms including sovereignty and intervention and articulated threats to local and global security. A central contribution of this edited volume is to trace the consequences and effects of the international supervision within the Trusteeship Council and provide innovative research perspectives on the practices in the context of statebuilding, and the creation of new states, and independence movements. Our conceptual and empirical contributions in the edited volume aim specifically at deepening understanding on the legacies and continuities of external engagement in internal affairs and international conflicts surrounding the transition to independent states. The book, as such, seeks to enhance scholarly understanding of two key aspects of international relations (IR):

First, the UN Trusteeship Council was a historically innovative constellation in the beginning of the 20h century. A main impetus to focus on the UN Trusteeship system is simple: Trusteeship involvement in the post-war decolonization era and more recently, although fraught with the trustees’ own agenda, was largely orderly, while conflict was initially the exception. This is important because a focus on international mechanisms that avert conflict and war are a central concern for the study of IR, and security studies in particular. Still, and equally critical, legacies of Trusteeship have been long lasting and more recently conflict erupted in former Trusteeship territories, including, Togo, Cameroon, Somalia, and Papua New Guinea.

Second, via UN trusteeship innovations stemming from the League of Nations Mandate systems accountability mechanisms, protocols, oral and written petitions as well as transcripts it is possible to understand how external governing of non-sovereign states was imagined, discussed, and exercised. Furthermore, the Trusteeship Council enables research regarding state formation outside of Europe, such as in Cameroon or Togo, yet with significant European influence. Since the mandate powers, many of them also colonial powers, were accountable and nudged to be increasingly transparent to the United Nations, the Trusteeship Council broke with the tradition of colonial administration and neighboring decolonization processes. Thus, during the internationalized decolonization, the UN Trusteeship Council served as an audience for involved international and local actors, and independence movements:portrayals of threats, security and insecurity, as well as acts of violence aimed at a global audience. Due to the triangular relationship between mandate power, local representatives and international audiences, investigations on actors' quest and competition for political legitimacy, state sovereignty and selfdetermination, justice, and individual freedoms and human rights are possible.

Keywords: IR Theory, Global History, Peace & Security, United Nations, Intergovernmental Organizations, Non-State Actors, Decolonization, International Intervention, Trusteeship

Submission procedure

We welcome abstracts of around 500 words by January. 31, 2021 via email. You may address any questions on your submission to the editor via email to

Please include a brief biography, contact information and a link to your academic webpage which highlights your research expertise with respect to UN Trusteeship. Your abstract should clearly explain the mission and concerns of the proposed chapter including:

  • preliminary responses to the abstract,
  • outline of the chapter focus and, if applicable specfic Trusteeship case/focus. 

The editors (Jan Lüdert, CityU of Seattle; Maria Ketzermick (University Bayreuth; Julius Heise (Philipps University Marburg) will determine the suitability of your submission.

Full chapter manuscripts (7500 words) will be due end of April 2021. The editors plan a virtual book workshop with all authors for end of May 2021

Acceptance decisions will be made by the editors within 2 weeks after the submission deadline. If accepted, we will share the full book proposal with you and discuss your particular contribution. Following submission, chapters will be subjected to peer review, and an internal editorial process to ensure consistency of quality and tone of the overall volume.

Contact Info: 


Jan Lüdert, Ph.D., Associate Professor, City University of Seattle, USA,

Maria Ketzmerick, Ph.D., Research Associate and Lecturer University of Bayreuth, Associated Postdoc-Researcher Centre Marc Bloch, Berlin, Germany,

Julius Heise, M.A., Research Fellow, Center for Conflict Studies, Philipps-University Marburg, Marburg, Germany,

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