The “hydrologist’s weapons”: Emotions and the moral economy of internationalism, 1921-1952

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New Interdisciplinary Landscapes in Morality and Emotion

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© 2018 selection and editorial matter, Sara Graça da Silva; individual chapters, the contributors. This chapter examines the case of the International Society of Medical Hydrology (aka Societé Internationale d’Hydrologie Médicale, or SIHM) in order to explore the interplay of morality, emotions, and internationalism in the “interwar period” and beyond. Founded in London in 1921, the SIHM sought to engender feelings of “friendship” among doctors and scientists from various countries by arguing that their emotional connections would transfer from the professional to the political realm. If the “weapons of the hydrologist”, as one of the SIHM leaders called them, did not succeed at preventing war, they nevertheless contributed to the “moral economy” of internationalism for decades to follow. After 1945, the models inaugurated by associations such as the SIHM informed a variety of international initiatives, from European integration to American cultural diplomacy, and the moral value they attached to internationalist ideas and practices continue to shape how internationalism is perceived in the present.

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