All posts by Fatma Aladag

CFP: “Re-thinking the Russian Revolution of 1917 as a Global Event in Local Contexts” (University of Essex, England, September 15-16, 2017)

For scholars of Russian history in particular, but also followers of global history, here’s a terrific opportunity to plan next year’ academic events as a recent call for papers “Re-thinking the Russian Revolution of 1917 as a global event in local contexts” taking place on September 15-16, 2017 at the University of Essex at England.

The call for papers explains further:

The Russian Revolution took place in many places and in different ways. Petrograd became the centre of events in 1917, but the revolutionary wave quite quickly swept over the whole Russian empire. Over the last two decades researchers studied and discovered the many faces of Russia’s revolution within the imperial periphery. However, the Russian revolution did not only take place in the former Romanov Empire. News about the Tsar’s abdication, the February Revolution, subsequent events, and finally the Bolsheviks’ seizure of power spread around the globe.

As people in other countries and on other continents learned about the Russian Revolution, they imagined, interpreted, and at times appropriated it for their own causes in their respective local contexts. Russia’s Revolution mattered to foreign governments, social groups, organisations, artists, activists, intellectuals, workers, and other ordinary people far beyond the borders of the former Romanov Empire. In the minds of millions it evoked a range of polarizing emotions, influenced people’s world views and thinking; it triggered actions and reactions in local contexts all over the world. In this sense, the Russian Revolution was a truly global event with many faces. This is the larger picture we plan to discuss at our upcoming conference.

Relative immediacy is a core organising concept of the conference – we are most interested in imaginations, interpretations, and reactions that unfolded simultaneously during the course of 1917 or close to this time span in and outside of the former Tsarist Empire. The conference aims to assemble scholars (including advanced PhD students) whose work is both historical and interdisciplinary to contribute to the discussion about re-thinking the Russian Revolution as a global event in local contexts. We are particularly, but not exclusively interested in the following key areas:

1. Communication, global spread of information
When did the news about the revolutionary events reach other places? How much and what was reported about them? Which particular events of the Russian Revolution got attention over the course of 1917? Who did have access to this information? Were the developments in Russia/Petrograd common knowledge?

2. Imagination, Interpretation, and Representation
How did different parts of societies imagine and interpret the Russian events? How did people far from the events in Russia/Petrograd make sense out of the events or appropriate and integrate them into their discourses? How did they conceptualize “the Russian Revolution”? To what extent did the Russian Revolution enlarge “imaginative horizons”?

3. Reactions/Actions
What kind of reactions/actions did revolutionary events in Russia trigger in social/local contexts? This question refers to a spectrum reaching from emotions to concrete actions.

4. Repercussions
Did contemporary reactions/actions outside Russia or from the imperial periphery have repercussions on the events in the centre? How aware were ordinary Russians about the significance of Russian events? And what influence did it hold for them?

Interested in applying? The conference organizers invite proposals connected with these themes with abstracts (roughly 400 words) should be sent to,, no later than December 15th 2016.

1 Post-doctoral & 12 Doctoral Positions (The Graduate School Global Intellectual History, Berlin)

For those TPF readers looking for post-doctoral or doctoral options on global history, the The Graduate School Global Intellectual History which is run by Freie Universität Berlin and Humboldt-Universität Berlin has announced fellowships opportunity for three years.

The call for applications explains more:

The graduate school aims to explore intellectual reactions to processes of entanglement from the 18th to 20th century in their social, cultural and political contexts: the trans-border spread of ideas, claims to universal validity, as well as counter-movements and resistance to such claims.

The graduate school is funded by the German Research Council (DFG) and jointly run by Freie Universität Berlin and Humboldt-Universität Berlin. It builds on a strong research tradition in area studies and global history at both universities, including the jointly-run MA program in Global History. It offers a stimulating research environment, substantial financial support for archival stays and a strong network of international partners in the form of the Global History Cooperative.

Successful candidates will develop a PhD dissertation/postdoc project in the field of global intellectual history (18th to 20th century) and contribute to the activities of the program in the form of seminars, workshops and/or summer schools.

Fellowships are offered as research positions on a fixed-term basis for three years starting on April 1, 2017. Salary is in accordance with TV-L FU level E13.

If this sounds interesting, consider applying. As the call for applications notes, “Review of applications will begin on September 16, 2016. Notifications will be sent in mid-October. Successful applicants will be invited to an interview, to take place in Berlin or via Skype in mid- to late November.”

Interested applicants should send your application in one pdf file to For more information, you can visit this website.

CFP: “The Economic Impact of the Portuguese Expansion in Europe (14th-17th centuries)” (Lisboa, Portugal, November 24-26, 2016)

If you’re interested in the global history of economic, here’s a recent call for applications that will surely be of interest. The Portuguese Center for Global History (CHAM) , has organized a conference entitled “The Economic Impact of the Portuguese Expansion in Europe (14th-17th centuries)” will be taking place at Lisbon on November 24-26, 2016.

Here’s how the call for applications describes it:

Five centuries after its beginning (1415), it is necessary to evaluate the real economic impact of the European Expansion in its origins and destinies, breaking boundaries and building the foundations of what is understood as the first global age. This evaluation is based on the need to review this phenomenon, confronting the recent historiographic production which has minimized the economic repercussions of the European Expansion before the 19th century, notwithstanding some positive historiographic reappraisal made recently, at least in the case of Portugal. This discussion only makes sense if a comparative approach between European and extra-European realities is adopted.

Although not an exclusive European phenomenon, the Overseas Expansion made a deep change in Western Europe, revealing a multiform, complex and long-lasting nature in its place of origin and of arrival. Therefore, the aim of this congress is to re-evaluate the Portuguese Expansion from the 14th century to the 17th century, without overlooking its Medieval origins, as well as its extra-European contributions, from a plural and transdisciplinary approach but giving priority to an economic perspective.

The organizers invite you to contribute for this re-evaluation by addressing one of the following issues:
– Commercial networks, economic agents and trading companies;
– Development of trade cultures and techniques;
– Products and methods of economic exploration: continuities and inovation;
– Trade cities and societies: tensions, cooperation and quotidian;
– The impact of commerce and navigation on production and circulation of scientific and technological knowledge.

Interested? You should prepare proposals to be sent to with name, email address, institutional affiliation, title of paper and abstract of 250 words maximum, with 4 keywords in Portuguese, Spanish, English, French or Italian. The deadline for submitting papers is July 29, 2016.

Doctoral Position, The Max Planck Institute for the History of Science (Berlin, Germany)

Open positions continue to abound for historians working on global history of knowledge. Here’s another attractive – and last-minute–  job opportunity announced from the The Max Planck Institute for the History of Science at Germany for a doctoral position, with the possibility of staying on for up to three years. The call for applications explains:

The topic of the candidate’s dissertation should complement the research undertaken in the project “Globalization Processes of Knowledge” and in the junior research group “Asian Impacts on the Globalization of Knowledge: Marine Resources during the Cold War.”

The position will be based at both the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science and the Freie Universität in Berlin. The conferral of the doctorate is expected to take place at the Freie Universität Berlin.

The projects “Globalization Processes of Knowledge” and “Asian Impacts on the Globalization of Knowledge” seek to cooperate on a contribution to the global history of knowledge – with an approach to history that doesn’t rely on a one-sided diffusion model, but instead understands transfer processes as multilateral transformations of knowledge systems. The aim is to investigate the dynamics of such transformation processes using a historical theory on the evolution of knowledge as well as through approaches from the field of the global history of science. The project’s central question is twofold: First, it asks which political, economic, and cultural conditions shape processes of the globalization of knowledge? And secondly, what effects do these globalization processes subsequently have on the societal contexts in which they take place? Bearing these goals in mind, we are looking for a doctoral project that incorporates both multilateral relations and global conditionality.

Suggested Topics for the Dissertation Project:

Living and nonliving (marine) resources (e.g. fish, plankton, pearls, or submarine crude oil, manganese, gas), or, for instance, nuclear energy, electricity, or wood could serve as starting points for an investigation into corresponding phenomena such as development aid, resource conflict, or environment and animal protection.

Of particular interest are projects that consider bi- or multilateral relations within Asia (e.g. Japan-India, India-China, China-Russia, Japan-Korea, Korea-China), or between (East) Asia and South America or Africa, respectively (e.g. “South-South” cooperation). Projects that deal with other regions and multilateral alliances – in particular Southeast Asia – are extremely welcome.

Expected Area of Focus:

  • We are looking for a doctoral candidate who is interested in writing their doctoral thesis within the context of the cooperation between the Max Plank Institute for the History of Science and the research group “East Asian Impacts on the Globalization of Knowledge: Marine Resources during the Cold War.”
  • The thesis should use multilateral perspectives to examine the interaction between processes in the globalization of knowledge and societal conditions – in other words, the project should bear in mind the global contingency of local phenomena.
  • The candidate will be expected to either contribute to the development of the theoretical framework of a historical theory on the evolution of knowledge, or to engage the methodological and theoretical issues of the global history of knowledge.
  • The candidate is expected to undertake archival work and research trips (financed).
  • Discussion and exchange within the projects will form a key part of the research process.

Necessary Qualifications:

  • Completed university degree (MA level) in History, the History of Science, Economic History, Regional Studies, or a related field.

Applicants with the following qualifications are particularly welcome:

  • Knowledge of either Chinese, Japanese, Korean, or Russian – especially reading skills for the purpose of archival work.
  • Familiarity with the theoretical approaches of historical epistemology, global and knowledge history, as well as with the theories of cultural evolution.
  • Ability to produce academic publications in English

If this sounds interesting, consider applying. As the call explains, “applications should including a CV, a letter of motivation, a copy of the applicant’s MA certificate or verification that the applicant’s thesis has already been submitted, a digital copy of the applicant’s MA thesis in the form of a PDF, and proof of language abilities, if available.” Applications should be submitted online here no later than July 24, 2016; those with questions should address them to Prof. Dr. Nadin Heé (

Summer School “China in Europe, Europe in China – Past and Present” (University of Hamburg, July 19-21, 2016)

For those readers of the Global History Blog interested in interactions between Europe and China, take note – there’s a summer school taking place at the University of Hamburg from July 19 to July 21, 2016. The summer school devoted to discuss transnational and interdisciplinary approaches on Sino-European interactions in the past and present. The announcement goes into more detail:

The event will bring together PhD students, advanced researchers, and professors from the partner universities Fudan University and Universität Hamburg for a two-and-a-half-day program. With keynote lectures and PhD project presentations, the summer school will provide a platform to discuss transnational and regional ties, interdisciplinary approaches and new findings in the field of Sino-European interactions in the past and present.

Both universities established the graduate school in the autumn of 2013 as part of town twinning initiatives between Hamburg and Shanghai. The graduate school started as a project of the Chinese Studies and History Departments, concentrating on Sino-German relations.

Following last year’s summer school at Fudan University, this year’s event will mark the end of a cycle and the beginning of a new phase: After three years, the first cohort of PhD candidates focusing on Chinese-German historical relations will complete the program. In the future, it will extend its scope to focus on PhD and research projects examining transfer processes between China and Europe. Furthermore, it will look not only at processes in a historical perspective, but will also consider the whole range of the humanities: literary criticism, philosophy, the science of art, musicology, cultural anthropology et cetera. Continue reading

CONFERENCE CFP: “XXVth Conference of the Australasian Association for European History” (Monash University, July 11 – 14 2017)

The Monash University (Australia) is pleased to announce 25th Conference of the Australasian Association for European History focusing on Europe’s Entanglements, to be held at Monash University’s Caulfield Campus in Melbourne on  July 11 – 14, 2017.  The conference announcement explains more about the program,

As Europe commemorates the centenary of the Great War, current conflicts nearby spark the largest influx of refugees since the Second World War. Meanwhile, the United Kingdom considers (once again) leaving the European Union, and economic downturn and the re-emergence of far right politics throughout the EU threatens its unravelling at the seams. What intervention can historians make to understand these developments? This conference invites a reconsideration of Europe’s entanglements – with the past, with its neighbours in the world, and within itself ­­­– and how these have been forged as well as unmade through the commemoration and forgetting of its history, the movement of people across its borders, the clash of political and economic interests, the encounters between different ideologies and worldviews.

We invite established scholars as well as postgraduates to discuss Europe’s entanglements (and disentanglements), their historical roots, contours and contemporary resonance, from the eighteenth century to the present, on the topics below. Individual papers are welcome, and we also encourage panel proposals. Continue reading

“Emotions: Movemement, Cultural Contact and Exchange, 1100-1800” (Freie Universität Berlin, June 30- July 2 2016)

Here’s an upcoming conference that should appeal to readers of the Toynbee Prize Foundation’s Global History blog. From June 30 to July 2, 2016, the Freie Universität Berlin and the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for the History of Emotions will be hosting a conference devoted to the history of emotions focusing on cross-cultural movement, exchange, contact and changing connections titled “Emotions: Movemement, Cultural Contact and Exchange, 1100-1800.” A description of the conference  follows:

Emotions: Movement, Cultural Contact and Exchange, 1100-1800 is an international conference jointly sponsored by the Freie Universität Berlin and the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for the History of Emotions, Europe 1100-1800, with the further involvement of scholars from The Max Planck Institute for Human Development, Berlin. It will draw on a broad range of disciplinary and cross-disciplinary expertise in addressing the history of emotions in relation to cross-cultural movement, exchange, contact and changing connections in the later medieval and early modern periods. The conference thus brings together two major areas in contemporary Humanities: the study of how emotions were understood, expressed and performed in pre-modern contexts, both by individuals and within larger groups and communities; and the study of pre-modern cultural movements, contacts, exchanges and understandings, within Europe and between non-Europeans and Europeans.

The period 1100-1800 saw a vast expansion of cultural movement through travel and exploration, migration, mercantile and missionary activity, and colonial ventures. On pilgrimage routes to slave routes, European culture was on the move and opened up to incomers, bringing people, goods and aesthetic objects from different backgrounds into close contact, often for the first time. Individuals and societies had unprecedented opportunities for new forms of cultural encounter and conflict. One major question for the conference to consider is finding the appropriate theory and methodology that will account for the place of emotions in this varied history.

Such cross-cultural encounters took place within a context of beliefs – popular, religious and scientific – that were propagated in literary, historiographical and visual sources, with a heritage reaching back to the classical period, and with a long religious tradition. One strand of the conference will deal with the changing literary and visual cultures that mediated European understandings of African, Mediterranean and Asian peoples, practices and environments, and which reveal the image of Europe and Europeans in other regions. Literary works (travel narratives, histories, epics and romances, hagiography), theatrical performances, visual artefacts and musical compositions were highly important in forming the emotional character of cross-cultural contacts, and the nature of literary, visual and performance culture. They responded to new cultural influences and created the emotional habits and practices through which cultural understandings were received and interpreted.

The conference will also explore the role emotions played in shaping early modern and late colonial encounters between indigenous peoples and Europeans. This might include the emotions embedded in missionary work and conversion, as viewed from both sides of these transactions, and in European settlements built on slavery. Evidence is provided by the accounts of participants, in the records of European and colonial government sponsoring and regulating their populations, in personal correspondence, and also in the associated visual and material record, including maps and ethnographic illustrations, propaganda and other responses by indigenous subjects.

Tracing emotional cultural movements also invites consideration of the variety of spaces – ships, villages, churches, courts, rituals and dreams – in which cultural movements and contacts occurred, and emotive responses to environmental features. This might also include the emotional responses of non-Europeans who found themselves in European environments.

More generally, the conference will consider the affective strategies of early modern Europeans in the acquisition, exchange and display of colonial objects. What emotional transformations did objects undergo in their passage across Europe and between European and other societies? What was the role of emotions in the formation of early ethnographic texts and collections, and in the museum culture of early modern Europe?

This last question leads to the issue of retrospective emotions, as observers in modernity look back on the long history of cross-cultural contact and write its course. How have their desires and emotional projections influenced understanding and reception?

Emotions: Movement, Cultural Contact and Exchange, 1100-1800 will extend over two-and-a-half days, including three plenary sessions by distinguished invited speakers, several Round Table discussion groups, and numerous panels consisting of three 20 minute papers plus discussion. One or more refereed publications of essays based on proceedings are expected. 

If this sounds interesting, then please see registration information and full program via this website!

“Connectivity and Change: Regimes, Conflicts and Revolutions in Global Perspectives” (Ghent, Belgium, June 30-July 2, 2016)

For those readers of the Global History Blog looking for a summer program on global history–here’s a recent announcement is for you! From June 30-July 2, 2016, International Summer School “Connectivity and Change: Regimes, Conflicts and Revolutions in Global Perspectives” will be taking place in Ghent, Belgium. The announcement explains more:

About ten years ago historians began to open up to encounters across borders and entanglements between far-flung parts of the word. Now a lively research on transnational, transregional, world and global history topics exists, which is not only done by senior scholars but also by an ever increasing number of doctoral students. In that course connectivity has become a category for describing and explaining the past, of individual societies as well as of large-scale processes playing out at different places. Continue reading

Conference Report: Global History Student Conference (Freie Universität Berlin)

In recent years, global history has undoubtedly become part of our life as a dynamic historical perspective. Writing history without borders and addressing events with all their actors in an effort to maintain a view of the biggest picture possible, global history enjoys a distinct place among other historical disciplines. Reading the world through an individual or reaching a trans-national network from a local place are two important appeals of global history. Although it is a relatively recent sub-discipline, global history continues to make important contributions in the academic field thanks to the activities and intellectual energy of historians.

Last week, a group of students enrolled in the Global History MA program at Humboldt University Berlin and Free University Berlin hosted a “Global History Student Conference” in Berlin which, appropriately enough, brought together students from around the world. A great deal of effort went into the organization of the event on the part of the generous and welcoming host Alex Holmes and her colleagues Alex Leonzini, Cosima Hohental, Daria Tashkinova, Dennis Kölling, Elisabeth Köller, Maurice Boer, Oscar Broughton, Philipp Kandler, Thomas Lindner, Violet Dove, Willem van Geel, and Yorim Spoelder. The result of everything was a conference that provided students the opportunity to present and learn about wide variety of different perspectives in the field of global history.

The two-day conference consisted of ten panels and 39 presenters, all covering different themes. The goal of the conference was to answer the questions “How can we actually  ‘do global history‘ in practical terms?” and “How can global history complement but also challenge other disciplines; conversely, what critiques and new ideas can other disciplines bring to global history?” Here follows a short round-up of the conference summaries of some papers presented, plus a stirring keynote address delivered by historian Prof. Dr. Sebastian Conrad from Free University Berlin. Frequent readers of the Toynbee Prize Foundation’s website may recall one of our previous interviews on his book “What is Global History?”

In his keynote address, Conrad offered guidance to students who are at the beginning of their careers, focusing on the features, promises, and challenges of global history. He focused on the recent explosion of new books and new journals on global history, but stated that while these developments might be exciting, it is still difficult to offer a clear answer to the questions of “What is global history?” or “What are the differences between global and world history?” Highlighting global history’s features, Conrad explored how it connects the individual or local with the bigger, global picture. Another important point was the significant of “positionality” and the question “where we write the global history?” If a historian writes the history of colonial-India from London, it will be a different history than one written from New Delhi.

Moving on in his speech, Conrad addressed some obstacles and limitations of global history, including the problem of different “centrism” which can lead to “cultural fundamentalism” as well as the tendency to ignore immobile actors, while celebrating mobile actors like sailors or merchants. He concluded his speech with the final word on the “responsibility” of historians to not lose side of the local as they focus on the global.

Photograph of the participants in the 2016 Graduate Student Conference on Global History at the Freie Universität Berlin, May 2016
Photograph of the participants in the 2016 Graduate Student Conference on Global History at the Freie Universität Berlin, May 2016

Spurred by these remarks, the first group of panelists—Philipp Kandler (Freie Universität Berlin), Hayley Keon (University of Edinburgh), and Anna Warda (Universität Potsdam)— presented their papers dealing with the theme of “Decentralizing the Cold War,” with Dennis Kölling serving as a moderator Kandler explored how Latin American dictatorships in the 1970s reacted to the human rights-based criticism of them, which threatened to isolate their state in the international area. He focused on the Argentine military dictatorship between 1976 and 1983 and the dictatorship of Anastasio Somoza in Nicaragua until 1979, analyzing the charges of society on their failure on universal human rights standards. He also described how these dictators, who were in the Western bloc during the Cold War, responded to the growing importance of human rights discourse in the WestKandler addressed the justifications used by dictators and their role at a global level on the international human rights framework.

Following this, Hayley Keon focused on the question of “to what extent did the relationship between African Tanzanians and South Asian diasporic communities in Dar es Salaam undermine the rhetoric of Afro-Asian unity in the years following Tanzanian independence?” The presentation went on to demonstrate the nature of the relationships between the Gujarati and African Tanzanian communities of Dar es Salaam during the practice of Ujamaa socialist policies under the regime of Julius Nyerere. Keon presented her topic, analyzing MG Vassanji’s 2014 memoir And Home Was Kariakoo to display Gujarati-Tanzanian connections during the Cold War and the role of the Bandung Conference of 1955. The presentation linked the theoretical discourses of diaspora to the historical narratives of the Gujarati community of Dar es Salaam.

A second panel shifted the focus to “Global History Before 1750,” with commentators Elisabeth Köller and Cosima Hohental and panelists Jasmin Kesetovic (Istanbul University), Robert Yee (Vanderbilt University), Aleksander Palikot (University of Edinburgh), and Michael Lee (Karl-Ruprechts-Universität Heidelberg). Lee contributed to the panel with his paper discussing European sources produced during the first encounters between Europe and Japan in the 16th and 17th centuries offer valuable information to understand Japanese culture that Japanese sources alone do not provide.

A third panel, composed of Katherine Arp (Leibniz Universität Hannover), Alexandra Leonzini (Freie Universität Berlin), and Sona Dilanyan (Sabancı University) under the chairmanship of Willem van Geel and Daria Tashkinova, focused on “Methodology and Marginalization” in the global context. Katherine presented her paper focusing on the question of “Are Social Sciences Serving Eurocentrism?” and Alexandra Leonzini further contributed to the panel with his presentation entitled “The Colonial Archive: A Technology of Rule.” Finally, Sona concluded the panel with her paper on “Feminist Engagements with Historical Ruptures: Methodological Reflections,” in which she analyzed archives and feminist movements in the global context.

The conference continued by highlighting different topics as “Global Urban History” by the fourth group of panelists: Ikbal Dursunoğlu (Boğaziçi University), Ksenia Litvinenko (National Research University–Higher School of Economics), Oscar Fernando Manrique Flórez (Universidad Antonio Nariño), and Wendy Qian (Georg-August-Universität Göttingen), under the chairmanship of Thomas Lindner and Philipp Kandler. Ikbal Dursunoğlu presented paper discussing the Great Fire of 1870 in Pera, Constantinople where most of the European embassies and some numbers of Jews and Muslims were situated. Its complete incineration down and later reconstruction became a subject of intense debate both within and outside the Ottoman Empire. Her study was based on European travelers’ notes, maps drawn at the time, and foreign newspapers then published in Pera, with an emphasis on the archives of Levantine Herald, a daily bilingual newspaper in English and French. Another topic on architectural history in the global context was displayed by Ksenia Litvinenko from Russia. She presented the effect of the Second World War on architecture of Europe but also the ethnic, linguistic, and cultural composition of cities of Vyborg, Lviv, and Kaliningrad in the context of different political strategies of forgetting or commemoration.

Lithograph in 12colors, 35x16 cm. (Miwaku no Futanabi). A travel postcard from the presentation of Jimena Mondragon. The shipping company advertises a trip from Japan to Hawaii by using a sumo wrestler who has one foot on Europe and the other on North America.
Lithograph in 12colors, 35×16 cm. (Miwaku no Futanabi). A travel postcard from the presentation of Jimena Mondragon. The shipping company advertises a trip from Japan to Hawaii by using a sumo wrestler who has one foot on Europe and the other on North America.

The fifth panel addressed the theme of “Gender, Bodies & Power” by commentator Alex Holmes and Yorim Spoelder. James Worner (University of Technology Sydney) presented “Masculinity on Trial: Challenging Myths of Australian Masculinity through Experiences of Germans Interned at the Trial Bay Internment Camp, 1915-1918” and Ayşe Polat contributed the panel with her paper on “Contentious Politics of Sex and Space: Illicit Migration and Urban Governance in Fin de Siecle Istanbul.” Kathy Burke (Humboldt Universität Berlin/Kings College London) explored global history through a paper titled “Bodies as Transnational Sites of Exchange: Interlocking Trajectories of Colonial Subjects in the French Empire of the Third Republic.” Another panelist, Estefanía Montero, offered a paper titled  “Calimbado: Brand, Body and Power in Novohispanic Societies in Oaxaca, Mexico.”

Presenting on a panel focusing on “Transnational Ideologies and Networks,” Alexander Korobeynikov spoke on Kazakh intellectuals’ attempts to transform Kazakh society with new socio-political frameworks by taking advantage of the global trends of nationalism, self-government, and Enlightenment at the beginning of the 20th century. Korobeynikov placed his topic in a global context by focusing on “decolonization, nation building, education and other discourses that played a huge role in national outskirts of the Russian Empire” which was the same process of other national movements in many parts of the world. The sixth panel was continued by Liliia Boliachevets’ presentation (National Research University–Higher School of Economics), which was related to the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917. She sought to situate its causes in the structural and political changes within the former Russian Empire, and the emigration of two millions of people who did not want to live under the Bolshevik order.  In her presentation, Boliachevets showed how actors created new movement as Eurasianism in 1921, which represent a “Third Way” in state development including the advantages of both European liberalism and Soviet socialism. She located her paper in the global context by underlining the fact that other movements based on interwar ideologies, like fascism and the Pan-Asianism, developed in parallel with Eurasianism.

The presenters continued to explore their topics within the theme of “Memory Studies.” Mu-Chien Chen (National Chengchi University Taipei) began his paper with the travels of Zhu Yuanzhang—an emperor who represented an example of dual identities (Chinese and Islamic)—as a case of the global production of historical memories. His study underlined the issues involved in studying historical memories, focusing on Chinese nationalists’ narratives in the 19th and early 20th century and considering the question of whether they are Chinese-speaking Muslims (Hàn-Chinese) who practice Islam or are instead an independent ethnicity? His research investigates the global context of historical memories and quests for the identity of actors. Following upon Mu-Chien Chen’s contribution, in her presentation Laura Neumann (Sabancı University) explored memory studies in the context of the slave trade by emphasizing the gaps in the slavery archives which companies recorded slaves’ life as a commoditiy and Afro-diasporic memory through the novel of Saidiya Hartman, Lose Your Mother: A Journey Along the Atlantic Slave Route.

The theme of “Religion” was the subject of the eighth panel of the conference, which emphasized religious networks in the global context. Shaul Marmari (Hebrew University of Jerusalem) spoke on European and Ethiopian relations over material politics, collective emotions of Europeans’ expectations to ally with Christians in Ethiopia to fight against Muslims, and their disappointment when they encountered the Jesuits who were active in the region. Marmari argued that over the years, Europeans have gained a certain image of Ethiopia as mythical power and religious piety, and that this image became an important figure in the political realm. He also addressed such questions as how Europe imagined Ethiopia, how the image of Ethiopia changed over time, and, most importantly, how this changing image shaped the attitude towards it from a religious point of view.

The “Post-Colonial” panel was another significant part of the conference. Arnab Dutta (Rijksuniversiteit Groningen/ Georg-August-Universität Göttingen) focused on European history through the eyes of some Bangla travelogues. He explored life in Europe through the lens of travelogues and their writing about urban Europe in a non-European language through the relationship between the colonial “masters” and the subjects. The panel continued with a presenter from Turkey, Joshua Shannon-Chastain (İstanbul Bilgi University). His paper discussed Anglo-Ottoman relations in the long 19th century, specifically focusing on British and Anglo-Indian officers who fought beside Ottoman troops for the defense of the Empire. They left behind numerous accounts, reports, articles, and documents providing information about the Ottoman military and political system.

A drawing of Sultan Selim II (1524–1574) by Jacopo Ligozzi (1547–1627) from the presentation of Davide Ferri.
A drawing of Sultan Selim II (1524–1574) by Jacopo Ligozzi (1547–1627) from the presentation of Davide Ferri.

The last panel addressed the topic of global art history. The presenters analyzed reflections of global history on art or visual materials which bear the trace of their own period enlightened today’s world. Davide Ferri (Universität Basel/Humboldt Universität zu Berlin) analyzed the aesthetic features in the depiction of Ottoman sultans with exotic animals in Early Modern Florentine visual culture in the specific case of Jacopo Ligozzi’s (1547–1627) art portraying Sultan Selim II (1524–1574) with a dragon. He underlined that this visual depiction also provides perceptions into the development of encyclopedic classifications of the monstrous in Early Modern natural history. Moving on, Jimena Mondragon (Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México) showed the global connections of travel postcards and steamship companies in the Japanese migration to the Americas in the late 19th century. Mondragon analyzed the Japanese travel postcards of companies which profited by of the transportations of Japanese workers in terms of materiality and the content.

After all the discussions on global history from different perspectives in the various panels, the conference was closed out with a roundtable final discussion covering the challenges of understanding and positionality in writing global history. The presenters also underlined the challenges of language involved in using archives in different countries. Roundtable discussion drew attention to the importance of respect towards indigenous voices and their place in the global context. They also focused on the significant challenge posed by Eurocentrism and other centrisms that overshadow the inter-connected, inter-related, and inter-depended nature of different parts of the world in history and today, and how they can be overcome by focusing larger geographical and temporal scales. Finally, the students arrived at a consensus to study wide a range of untouched topics in global history.

“The Indian Ocean World and Eurasian Connections” (Summer School, Halle, Germany, July 25-30, 2016)

If you are a graduate or a postdoctoral student from Germany or NYU Global Network universities in New York, Shanghai and Abu Dhabi, who want to spend the summer vacation efficiently, there is a great opportunity for you!

The Center for Interdisciplinary Area Studies (ZIRS) at the Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg, Germany, and the Center for Global Asia at NYU Shanghai, China have recently announced a summer school, titled The Indian Ocean World and Eurasian Connections”. Taking place from July 25th to 30th, 2016 in Halle (Saale), Germany, the program will focus on “Networks of Connectivities: Routes, Commodities, and the Politics of the Indian Ocean. Here’s how the call for applications describes it:

The Center for Interdisciplinary Area Studies (ZIRS) at the Halle-Wittenberg, Germany, and the Center for Global Asia at NYU Shanghai, China, will collaboratively offer a summer school on the topic of “The Indian Ocean World and Eurasian Connections”, the first in a series of three funded through a grant from the Volkswagen Foundation.

This year’s summer school will take place in Halle (Saale), Germany, from July 25th to 30th, 2016 and will focus on “Networks of Connectivities: Routes, Commodities, and the Politics of the Indian Ocean.” The landmass extending from the Mongolian grasslands to the Black Sea is usually portrayed as the conduit for Eurasian interactions and exchanges. However, even more of the links across Eurasia were initiated by sea. The summer school foregrounds these links, demonstrating that the Indian Ocean has been an integral and essential aspect of trans-Eurasian connections from the early historical period to contemporary times.

The summer school invites qualified participants to meet with leading scholars from various parts of the world, who will direct our shared exploration of the commercial, diplomatic, religious, technological, and migratory exchanges across the Indian Ocean world that link the far eastern regions of Asia with the heartland of Europe and many areas in between.

Specific themes to be examined include:

  • the movement of products such as porcelain, spices, tea, and incense
  • the transmission of ideas, including those associated with Buddhism, Islam, and Christianity
  • archaeological evidence for sea travel
  • contestations over and interior working of maritime hubs
  • creation of and scrutinizing of cultural heritage sites
  • use of history for contemporary geopolitical agendas

Participants will learn about and discuss the dynamics of the Indian Ocean world through rigorous analysis of texts, archaeological evidence, secondary sources, and ethnographic data. The overall aim of the summer school is to stimulate an understanding of the importance of Indian Ocean “connectivities” and Eurasian exchanges in global history.

If this sounds of interest to you, send in an application! The application should include “a CV, a letter of intent (one page maximum) explaining why you would like to participate in the summer school, what knowledge you have on the subject, a short writing sample based on your current research interests” and be sent to as one pdf no later than June 15, 2016.

The organizers will cover travel, accommodation and meals for the participants.