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Nicholas Mulder works on European and international history from 1870 to the present. His research focuses on political, economic, and intellectual history, with particular attention to the era of the world wars between 1914 and 1945.
His first book, The Economic Weapon: The Rise of Sanctions as a Tool of Modern War, is forthcoming with Yale University Press. It provides a history of the interwar origins of economic sanctions, showing how they reconfigured international affairs by enabling distant coercion against civilian societies in peacetime. Based on wartime blockade practices, the instrument of sanctions offered a novel way to prevent war. It became embedded in the League of Nations and national state policy, and spurred new economic interventions, as well as anti-liberal bids for autarky. The book argues that sanctions were a potent but unstable and unpredictable political tool, one whose importance to the international crisis of the 1930s-40s is much greater than usually assumed.
His next project, The Age of Confiscation, is an international history of expropriation from World War I until to the 1970s. Other interests include the experience of small countries in the global condition, the history of political and economic thought, and philosophy of history. In the 2021-2022 academic year, his course offerings include lecture courses on the global history of crises of capitalism and democracy since the late 19th century; a seminar on the history and theory of fascism in the 20th century; a survey course on the history of Europe from 1500 to the present; and a graduate seminar on history of European integration and disintegration from the Roman Empire to the EU, co-taught with Professor Cristina Florea.
In addition to academic writing, he has written about European politics, economics, and international affairs for The Guardian, Foreign Policy, n+1, New Left Review, The Nation, Merkur, Dissent, H-Diplo, and other publications.
Modern European history
Late 19th and 20th century
- Political and economic history of modern Europe
- Historical political economy
- The state and property regimes
- History of war (especially WWI)
- Varieties of internationalism
- History of international law
- HIST 2285 : Fascism in the Twentieth Century: History and Theory
- HIST 3081 : Stability and Crisis: Capitalism and Democracy, 1870 to the present
The Economic Weapon: The Rise of Sanctions as a Tool of Modern War (New Haven & London: Yale University Press, 2022).
(With Boyd van Dijk), "Why Did Starvation Not Become the Paradigmatic War Crime in International Law?" in Kevin Jon Heller and Ingo Venzke, eds., Contingency in International Law: On the Possibility of Different Legal Histories (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2021), pp. 370-390.
‘The Trading with the Enemy Acts in the Age of Expropriation, 1914-1949,’ Journal of Global History Vol. 15, No. 1 (March 2020).
‘‘A Retrograde Tendency’: The Expropriation of German Property in the Versailles Treaty,’ Journal of the History of International Law/Revue d'histoire du droit international Vol. 22, No. 1 (2020).
‘The Rise and Fall of Euro-American Inter-State War,’ Review of Oona Hathaway and Scott Shapiro, The Internationalists: How a Radical Plan to Outlaw War Changed the World (Simon & Schuster, 2017), Humanity, Vol. 10, No. 1 (Spring 2019).
‘War Finance,’ in Ute Daniel, Peter Gatrell, Oliver Janz, Heather Jones, Jennifer Keene, Alan Kramer, and Bill Nasson, eds., 1914-1918-online. International Encyclopedia of the First World War, Freie Universität Berlin (February 2018).