International History

The History Department of the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies teaches and researches the contemporary world through its layered histories and from a multiplicity of perspectives. We study history before, between and beyond the nations, thereby encouraging historically-informed approaches to current policy, politics, economics and culture.




Professor Gilbert Etienne, 1928-2014

Gilbert Etienne, Professor and one time Head of the International History and Politics Section of the Graduate Institute, passed away on 17 May 2014. Since retiring in 1996 Professor Etienne continued as an Honorary Professor of the Institute. His interests focused mainly on development, particularly agriculture and rural development, in South and South-central Asia.

The author of several monographs published by leading presses worldwide and numerous scholarly articles, Professor Etienne was a regular contributor to the press in Switzerland and South Asia. He first traveled to the sub-continent in the early-1950s and has the unique distinction of having followed the development of a village in northern India over a period of nearly five decades. Active till the last, completing a book review on Pakistan for Tribune de Genève less than a month ago from his hospital bed, Gilbert remained in regular touch with friends and colleagues, a warm and generous friend and host, and a regular attendee at several Institute events.

The HI community mourns the sad passing of Professor Gilbert Etienne. His funeral takes place at 3.30pm on Thursday, 22 May, poignantly a few hours before the Institute's end-of-year reception which if in town and good health, he made it a point not to miss.

Gareth Austin
(On behalf of the International History department)
22 May 2014


Prix Arditi 2014

We are very proud to announce that our very own William Sharman, Master of International Studies in International History, has been awarded the Prix Arditi 2014 aux Hautes Etudes Internationales for his thesis entitled Myth or Modernity? Settler Colonization in Imperial Germany, 1884-1914

Bill will be presented with the award at the graduation ceremony on 12th September 2014. Congratulations Bill, we look forward to more great things from you to come! 

Stanton Nuclear Security Fellowship

Jayita Sarkar (PhD defended in June 2014; supervisor: Jussi M. Hanhimäki) will be a Stanton Nuclear Security Postdoctoral Fellow at Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Centerfor 2014-15 academic year. Concurrently, she will be a visiting postdoctoral scholar at the Davis Center, where she will be affiliated with the Harvard Project on Cold War Studies. During her fellowship, Jayita will be investigating U.S. counterproliferation strategies in South Asia during the 1970s with particular reference to Franco-Pakistani, West German-Indian and Soviet-Indian nuclear relations. 

New Doctorates

Jayita Sarkar

On Monday 16 June 2014 Jayita Sarkar, International History department Ph.D, defended her dissertation entitled Franco-Indian Nuclear Relations and US Counterproliferation Efforts during the Cold War, 1948-1978, at the Maison de la Paix.

Her committee was comprised of Professor Isabelle Milbert (Graduate Institute), President of the Committee and Internal Reader, Professor Jussi Hanhimäki (Graduate Institute), Thesis Director, and Professor Francis J. Gavin (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), Second Reader.

Jayita very successfully defended her dissertation, being awarded the distinction of summa cum laude and félicitations du jury, and was joined by friends and colleagues for a reception afterwards.