Ugh, archival work is awful. Not only does the stark white background kill against the defiant black typewriter face, but the endless scrolling for relevancy just makes me want to scream or give up, which ever.
BUT, two interesting things have come of this.
First, have you ever heard of the former state of Nyasaland? Nope, me either. I have, of course, heard of Rhodesia, a former British colony that became Zimbabwe, but not it’s dual federation with Nyasaland. Nyasaland, on the other hand, was also a former British colony which became Malawi. And now we know; queue: ‘AND KNOWLEDGE IS POWER!’ (zombie Foucault)
Second, sometimes you just have funny feelings about things you run across that MUST be investigated further. In this chapter I’m currently writing I’m linking WTO history to my theoretical framework, which sees a dialectical relationship between structure and agency. Reviewing a note from the GATT Executive Secretary, before the title was changed to Director-General, there was to be a ‘panel of experts’ to review the future of international trade. Contracting Parties gave a list on where these ‘experts’ should be ‘fished’ from, and the Executive Secretary Eric Wyndham-White would select 3 members for the panel. Shortly after Wyndham-White released his 3 choices an addendum was released with a fourth member.
I’m tracking how executive heads use their agency to affect organisational structure, and something feels ‘funny’. I google the 4th ‘expert’ who was added without notice or approval from the Contracting Parties - very rare for that time - and a quote from a book by the WTO Secretariat comes up. Just so happens I have this book right beside me on the floor, so I turn to the page, and read an argument about how ‘elite’ US and UK economists played a strong role in shaping the organisation of the GATT (structure). This guy, the 4th ‘expert’ added so haphazardly, is listed as a British economist who so shaped the GATT, along with his well-known American counterpart, Clair Wilcox. HOW INTERESTING!
In sum, trolling archives is shit work, but you really do find some amazing stuff to make your ‘puzzle’ that much ‘richer’. And hey, who knew about Nyasaland!?