Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Constitutional History Consortium

Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Constitutional History Consortium

Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Constitutional History Consortium, University of Southampton & Carnegie Corporation
United Kingdom
From - Until
01.01.2020 -
Jonathan Hunt

Thanks to the support of Carnegie Corporation of New York (CCNY), the University of Southampton has embarked on a two-year project to more fully develop “The Constitutional History of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).” The primary component of this will be a consortium of academic researchers working on the role of various countries and organizations in the negotiations during which the treaty was drafted and then ratified by the Eighteen National Disarmament Conference and the United Nations General Assembly and Security Council from August 1958 to June 1968.

As it enters its 50th year in 2020, the NPT confronts both an uncertain future and a contested past. At the upcoming NPT Review Conference (RevCon) in April/May 2020, state parties are almost certain to resurface frustrations with the treaty's implementation and interpretation. These debates highlight the need for a clearer understanding of the historical origins of, and political rationales for, the NPT. Through this project, the University of Southampton will examine original records in multiple languages and in multiple national and transnational contexts to clarify the treaty’s intent and legacies. Among other questions, the project will revisit simplistic narratives of a 'grand bargain' among disarmament, nonproliferation, and peaceful uses of atomic energy, or of a treaty defined above all by nuclear restrictions, to reveal the more complex reality of the global 1960s. The initial phase of this study will be completed in time for the 2020 RevCon, where parties will meet to discuss the state of the treaty.

Thanks to Carnegie Corporation, the research consortium will have the opportunity to mine archives of treaty stakeholders around the world to better recount the drafting process behind the second most adhered to international compact in the world, trailing only the UN Charter. Members will receive a £500 subvention to help cover research costs. The costs of travel, accommodations, and per diem for a symposium in New York on the occasion of the 2020 NPT RevCon and a follow-on book workshop at the University of Southampton will also be covered by the consortium. Their papers will be made digitally available for the RevCon and also published in an edited volume. The intellectual products, including a set of primary sources, will be incorporated into an on-line interactive treaty guide, with an eye to affording scholars, experts, and students access to a globe-spanning record of the treaty’s legal, diplomatic, and political histories.

At this time, the NPT Constitutional History research project is soliciting interest from those who would like to join the consortium. We are particularly interested in scholars working on these countries and organizations’ roles in the treaty negotiations:

The United States, The United Kingdom, France, West Germany, Italy, Canada, The Soviet Union, Poland, Romania, Yugoslavia, Egypt, Nigeria, Israel, Iran, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Nigeria, People’s Republic of China, Japan, Australia, India, Pakistan, Brazil, Mexico, Sweden, EURATOM, IAEA, NATO, The Warsaw Pact.

We also welcome proposals for research papers covering country/organizational dyads (Egypt-Israel; India-Pakistan; U.S.-Soviet; South Africa-Nigeria; EURATOM-IAEA; NATO-Warsaw Pact).

Please send a CV and 250-word abstract to by 8 November 2019.


Contact (announcement)

Dr Jonathan Hunt
Faculty of Arts and Humanities University of Southampton

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