Karen Blixens Plads 8, 2300 København S
My academic interests are international organizations, bureaucracy and diplomacy, European integration, globalization and maritime history, oral history and biography.
I am currently working on:
(1) The NOS-HS workshop trilogy on "Scandinavian Internationalist Diplomacy, 1920s-1960s".
The CFP can be found here.
(2) An edited volume, together with Gunvor Simonsen (KU) and Laura Almagor (Uni. of Sheffield) on Global Biographies, where we intend to offer theoretically and methodologically reflective chapters that showcase three approaches for historians to write biographies that engage with global themes, problems or processes.
(3) An edited volume entitled Organizing the 20th Century World: International Organizations and the Emergence of International Public Administration, 1920s-1960s (Bloomsbury, 2020) together with Karen Gram-Skjoldager and Torsten Kahlert.
(4) The monograph The International Bureaucrat in the Twentieth Century - A Transnational Biography of Thanassis Aghnides (Palgrave). The contract is signed and the manuscript will be handed in by September 2021.
In 2019 I published:
(1) A special issue entitled "Rethinking European Integration History in Light of Capitalism" in European Review of History (26:4), together with Aurélie Andry (Glasgow Uni.), Emmanuel Mourlon-Druol (Glasgow Uni.) and Quentin Jouan (UCLouvain). Besides contributing to the general introduction, I contributed an article together with Christos Tsakas (Princeton University) entitled “Capitalism, Crisis and Common Policies: Greek–Norwegian Responses to Common Shipping Policy Efforts from the 1960s to 1970s”.
(2) Three co-written peer-reviewed articles on the Secretariat of the League (see below).
(3) The anthology The League of Nations – Perspectives from the Present (Aarhus University Press, 2019), edited together with Karen Gram-Skjoldager, which is an accessible and richly illustrated volume displaying a wide variety of cutting-edge research on the many ways the League of Nations shaped its times, and continues to shape our contemporary world.
(4) A chapter on “The Accession of Austria, Sweden and Finland” co-written with Michael Gehler in the edited volume The European Commission, 1986-2000. History and Memories.
My postdoc (2016-2018), as part of the collective project The Invention of International Bureaucracy at Aarhus University (headed by Karen Gram-Skjoldager), dealt with the development of international bureaucracy within the League of Nations. Particularly, I have worked with the development of a code of conduct for international officials from the League to the United Nations; Scandinavian employees in the League Secretariat and their career trajectories after the Second World War; the Disarmament Section of the League Secretariat; and developing a far-reaching research blog. Having taken a special interest in Director of the Disarmament Section, Thanassis Aghnides, I am developing a manuscript for a biography. Publications from the project include:
- Gram-Skjoldager, Karen and Haakon A. Ikonomou, “The Construction of the League of Nations Secretariat. Formative Practices of Autonomy and Legitimacy in International Organisations” in The International History Review (2019).
- Gram-Skjoldager, Karen, Haakon A. Ikonomou and Torsten Kahlert “Scandinavians in The League of Nations 1919-1946” in Scandinavian Journal of History (2019).
- Gram-Skjoldager, Karen and Haakon A. Ikonomou “Making Sense of the League of Nations – Historiographical and Conceptual Reflections on Early International Public Administration” in European History Quarterly (2019).
My PhD (EUI, 2016) dealt with Norwegian diplomats and their efforts to secure Norwegian membership in the European Community between 1960 and 1972. Combining oral history, institutional theories and primary sources from Britain, Denmark, Norway and the EU archives (Brussels and Florence), the thesis uncovered how a small group of diplomats became increasingly pro-European through socialisation with European networks, profoundly shaped Norwegian EC-policies, and played a crucial and deeply problematic role in the popular referendum in which the Norwegian people rejected membership. ‘Europeans : Norwegian diplomats and the enlargement of the European Community, 1960-1972’ was awarded Best thesis in EU integration 2015-2016 awarded on the occasion of the 60th Anniversary of the Treaties of Rome in 2017.
The thesis is being developed into a monograph, but has also spun off into several publications:
- Ikonomou, Haakon A., “To Remember like a Diplomat” in TEMP, Tidsskrift for historie, (2015).
- Ikonomou, Haakon A., “Boundary-spanning diplomats for a European cause. Norway, the EC and information efforts, 1962-1967” in Thomas Raineau et. al. (Eds.) Réinventer la diplomatie. Sociabilités, réseaux et pratiques diplomatiques en Europe depuis 1919,(Brussels: Peter Lang, 2016), pp. 86-101.
- Ikonomou, Haakon A., Aurélie Andry and Rebekka Byberg (Eds.) European Enlargement Across Rounds and Beyond Borders, (London: Routledge, 2017).
I am review editor of Diplomatica: A journal of diplomacy and society (Brill) and Centre Coordinator of the Centre of Modern European Studies (CEMES), Faculty of Humanities, University of Copenhagen.