Tag: Freie Universität Berlin

CFP: “Africa in Global Intellectual History” (24-25 November 2018, Berlin, Germany)

The Freie Universität Berlin has released a call for papers titled “Africa in Global Intellectual History.” The Conference will be held on 24-25 November 2018. The call explains more about the program: From Plato to Zizek, the study of intellectual history is overwhelmingly confined to the on-going conversation within the Western canon. This narrative is arbitrary…

CFP: Global Histories: A Student Journal

Graduate student readers should consider this great call for submissions for the journal Global Histories. The call explains more: In recent years, global history has become one of the most ambitious and promising strands of historical research. The approach targets relations, flows, and actors that challenge the assumption of the nation state as a natural…

CFP: Global History Student Conference (Berlin, Germany, June 9-10, 2018)

For graduate student readers of the Global History Blog, this recent call for applications is for you. The students of the Global History MA program at Humboldt University Berlin and Free University Berlin have announced “Global History Student Conference 2018” in Berlin. This graduate student-focused conference on global history provides the opportunity to enhance academic…

CFP: In-Between Empires: Trans-imperial History in a Global Age (Freie Universität Berlin, September 15-16, 2017)

For readers interested in borderlands and other liminal imperial spaces of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, here’s an interesting call for papers for a conference to be held at the Freie Universität in Berlin in September:   By focusing on spaces “in-between” empires – their connectivity, cooperation, and competition – this workshop aims at establishing a trans-imperial…

CFP: Third International Global History Student Conference (Berlin, May 20-21, 2017)

For graduate student readers of the Global History Blog, here’s a recent call for applications for a terrific graduate student-focused conference on global history at the Freie Universität Berlin: In recent years, global history has become one of the most ambitious and most promising strands of historical research. The approach specifically targets relations, flows, and…

CFP: Global Histories: A Student Journal

Are you a graduate student working on global history themes and looking for an outlet for your work? Consider publishing in Global Histories, the student-run journal of the Global History MA program at the Humboldt University in Berlin and the Freie Universität Berlin. More information on the latest call for submissions follows: In recent years, global…

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…

Thicker Than Water: Revisiting Global Connections on the Banks of the Suez Canal with Valeska Huber

Thanks to the haze of time, the first great age of globalization during the late nineteenth and early twentieth century can sometimes seem like a golden age. It’s true that we live in an age of unprecedentedly inexpensive air travel, cell phones and Skype often replacing long travel to business meetings, and financial management tools making it easier to speculate on the ups and downs of the S&P or Nikkei, the ruble or the euro. But perhaps as we find ourselves bogged down by the kinks in this new post-1970s world of re-globalization–the passport checks, the baggage fees, the broken connections–it’s all the easier to reimagine the world of high imperialism, a lost golden age. Chroniclers like Stefan Zweig and John Maynard Keynes chronicled the time as an age in which

The inhabitant of London could order by telephone, sipping his morning tea in bed, the various products of the whole earth, in such quantity as he might see fit, and reasonably expect their early delivery upon his doorstep; he could at the same moment and by the same means adventure his wealth in the natural resources and new enterprises of any quarter of the world, and share, without exertion or even trouble, in their prospective fruits and advantages; or he could decide to couple the security of his fortunes with the good faith of the townspeople of any substantial municipality in any continent that fancy or information might recommend. He could secure forthwith, if he wished it, cheap and comfortable means of transit to any country or climate without passport or other formality, could despatch his servant to the neighboring office of a bank for such supply of the precious metals as might seem convenient, and could then proceed abroad to foreign quarters, without knowledge of their religion, language, or customs, bearing coined wealth upon his person, and would consider himself greatly aggrieved and much surprised at the least interference.

There was perhaps no more potent symbol of this world of ultra-connectivity than the Suez Canal, built in what was still Ottoman Egypt in 1869 and connecting the Red Sea with the Mediterranean. The Canal increased world trade. It also  soon became a vital strategic artery for the British Empire, since it made the “passage to India” via intermediary stations like Suez and Aden far shorter than the former trip around the Cape of Good Hope. So powerful was the imaginary of the Canal as one of the crucial changes of the epoch that, when Henry Morton Stanley finally located David Livingstone (of “Dr. Livingstone, I presume?”) on the shores of Lake Tanganyika in 1871, the Canal was the first thing that came to Stanley’s mind when Livingstone asked him what had changed in the world during his many years out of contact with the Western world.

Channelling Mobilities (Cambridge UP, 2015), the recent book of Valeska Huber (German Historical Institute London)

Channelling Mobilities (Cambridge UP, 2015), the recent book of Valeska Huber (German Historical Institute London)

Yet as Dr. Valeska Huber, a research fellow at the German Historical Institute in London, shows in her recent book Channelling Mobilities: Migration and Globalization in the Suez Canal Region and Beyond (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, paperback 2015), the Suez Canal did not so much open as channel migration and globalization during this world of increasing trade and economic integration.

Sure, the opening of the Canal made it easier for passengers—that is, especially if they were white, wealthy, British, or best, all three—to travel around the world, often unencumbered by passport checks. But our popular memory of the Canal often forgets the fact that building a giant channel of water in the middle of the Egyptian desert obstructed the migratory routes of Bedouin tribes who formerly moved from east to west. More fundamentally, the very opening of the Canal and the transformation of the region into a giant transportation hub gave rise to new worries about the movement of slaves, prostitutes, Muslim “fanatics,” or disease across the region. Contemporary fears that cholera originated in India led to the imposition of quarantine and disease control regimes along the shores of the Red Sea. At the same time, shipping titans and imperial bureaucrats debated the wisdom of dividing shipping routes’ staffing between Asians (for the hot and sticky days of shipping through the Indian Ocean, supposedly unbearable for the “white race”) and Europeans (so as to avoid the problem of Asian or Arab crews outstaying their welcome in Southampton or the London docklands). The Canal channeled as much as it connected.

Huber’s work is, then, valuable not only as an intervention into the field of Middle Eastern Studies, relying as it does on British, French, and Egyptian archives. It constitutes a welcome foray into the broader conversation about the history of globalization and the history of the late nineteenth century as a time not only of increasing connectivity, but also of increasing channelling—that is, processes and institutions whereby migration of goods and people is cordoned off, classified, or restricted, often relying on distinctions of race, sex, or level of civilization. In order to discuss Channelling Mobilities more with Dr. Huber, Toynbee Prize Foundation Executive Director Dr. Timothy Nunan (TN) made use of the twenty-first century’s aforementioned telephonic tools to speak with Dr. Huber (VH) across oceans–fitting, given that telegraphic cables were just one of many pieces of infrastructure to cross the Suez Canal during the period her book studies.…

“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,…

Global History as Past and Future: A Conversation with Sebastian Conrad on “What Is Global History?”

It’s a common question that teachers of global history face. We belong to one of the most quickly-moving, contested, and changing subfields within the historical profession, and the travel schedules on many of our dockets—Istanbul one week, Tokyo the next—make our colleagues who slave away in the same provincial state archive blush. The years spent learning foreign languages begin to pay off, as one can not only read the newspaper but also foreign colleagues’ peer review comments on an article scheduled for publication in this or that journal. Life, it seems, is good.

But when it comes time to teach global history as a field, one hesitates. For audiences of graduate students, of course, it’s possible to follow the tactic of assigning a pile of monographs bringing global history perspectives to different regions of the planet: China the one week, the Gambia the next. But how to put it all together into one common language that speaks to the Americanists and the East Asianists in one seminar? Worse yet: how to teach this all to undergraduate audiences for whom the monograph approach would incite revolt?

Sebastian Conrad's "What Is Global History" (Princeton University Press, 2016), the subject of this latest installment of the Global History Forum

Sebastian Conrad’s “What Is Global History” (Princeton University Press, 2016), the subject of this latest installment of the Global History Forum

Fortunately, as we’ve noted in earlier installments of the Global History Forum, scholars of global history who formerly had to throw their hands up in response to this dilemma increasingly have at their disposal an array of good introductory works to the field. One might only think of the work of Diego Olstein, for a recent work in just this niche in English, or, for German-speaking audiences, a 2011 book that fills the same need by Austrian economic historian (and former TPF interviewee) Andrea Komlosy. At the field grows and becomes more sophisticated, though, so, too, are the options for introductory texts expanding. One of such works constitutes the focus of this installment of the Global History Forum, namely the aptly-titled What Is Global History? (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2016) by Professor Sebastian Conrad, the Chair in Modern History at the Free University of Berlin.

Billed as a “problem-oriented” approach to global history that provides much-needed criticism and pauses alongside enthusiasm, Conrad’s What Is Global History? appears at just the right time for a field in much need of explaining itself to students—and to critically interrogating its own limits. Recently, Toynbee Prize Foundation Executive Director Timothy Nunan had the chance to speak with Professor Conrad to discuss his recent book and what he sees as the biggest challenges facing the field as it matures and grows in years ahead.…