World History Network - 9th ESSHC, Glasgow 2012

David Lindenfeld, Louisiana State University; Matthias Middell, University of Leipzig
11.04.2012 - 14.04.2012
Middell, Matthias

The next European Social Science History Conference is to be held in Glasgow, Scotland, UK, from Wednesday 11 April up to and including Saturday 14 April 2012.

The major theme for our network will be Comparison and Connectedness.

With our call for papers, we would like to invite to a discussion about recent research on world and/ or global history both in Europe and in the US. We welcome a wide range of topics such as different social, political and cultural developments in world regions compared, a history of connections across the borders of continents, cultures and civilizations. Of course a plurality of theoretical approaches and methods as well as proposals concerning all historical periods are invited.

Among the panels already in the works are:
Natives as Missionaries
Co-sponsored by the network on religion, this panel highlights an aspect of modern world history that is often neglected. The global outreach of Christianity since 1500 is clearly a world-historical topic, sometimes accompanying the colonialism of European powers, sometimes working at cross-purposes with it. Recent research on missionization shows that native peoples have often been key figures in this active outreach, acting as missionaries themselves or as their assistants. This offers a powerful corrective to an exclusively Eurocentric narrative, and includes cases in recent times when non-Westerners have proselytized in Europe and America themselves. Exploration of the motives, extent, and impact of such missionaries provides a focus for studying the roles of religious, economic, and social factors in cross-cultural interactions

East Central Europe and Global History
World and Global History has considerably broadened its spatial scope in recent years. All world regions are in the discussions and several sub-regions which have often been neglected have recently received more attention, for example certain parts of inner Asia and the Balkans. Still there are blind spots; more importantly areas are left out of the picture that may provide new insights into the dynamics of cross-cultural encounters and global integration. East Central Europe is such a region – hardly dealt with in global accounts while being known for its overlapping and interlocking histories. After all internal plurality is accompanied by tight entanglements beyond the constantly shifting borders, and co-dependencies with others have shaped most of its past. Thus, it is worthwhile to explore the globality of East Central Europe’s history. The focus will be on social movements and networks. For little is known how people from this particular region have linked up with transnational efforts to battle for the improvement of living conditions, took part in in border-transcending demands for political changes, or engaged for a more equal representation in institutions of global governance. To shed light on their participation in reformist movements allows us`both to get a better understanding of the (specific) forms of transnational cooperation evolved in that part of the world and to write this region into the social history of worldwide interaction.

Knowing the Others in Empires without Colonies – Latin American Studies in the Habsburg Monarchy and its Succeeding States
Regional and Area Studies have been accused, by some even be condemned, of being little more than instruments in colonizing efforts and projects. Whether exaggerated or not, this view suggests that the need for knowledge of other cultures emerged in contexts and countries which sought to expand and control others. Also newer research on the history of regional / area studies seems to subscribe to this implicit reading, since it focuses almost exclusively on former imperial powers, especially those in possession of colonies, and their 20th century equivalents, namely the US, Great Britain and France, to some lesser extent on Germany. But there is also much evidence from other empires and countries, not to mention regions under foreign rule, where production of scientific knowledge about other world regions began in the late 19th century and soon after led to the establishment of corresponding academic disciplines. This invites to a closer look, which will be taken here in regard to the lands of the Habsburg Monarchy and its successor states, Poland, Hungary, Austria and Czechoslovakia. Latin American Studies suggest themselves because of the close-knit relations between both parts of the world and considerable interest in knowing about the other.

Comparison and Cultural Transfers
In recent years, the question of how to do global history has come more and more to the fore. The panel is organized around this methodological issue and is meant to discuss recent development in cross-regional comparative history as well as in the field of cultural transfers (in other terminologies also registered as entangled or shared histories). We invite both contributions aiming at the discussion of more fundamental methodological questions and case studies dealing with any part of the world but addressing especially the tensions between a comparative approach and one that highlights the connectedness of the topic under consideration.

Shifting Patterns of Territorialisation
One strand in the study of global(ization) processes is an interest in political spaces, in the various forms in which it has been organized and in the dynamics of its change. After all the theoretical insights summarized as spatial turn have made clear that space is not given but is socially produced. Thus also the formation and demarcation of political sovereignty is not self-evident but can and should be traced back and analyzed. As yet historicizations of the establishment of control, rule and power, the emergence of ‘territory’ and ‘territoriality’ have focused on one of its two essential elements, namely the creation of borders and thus delineation from an outside. The organization of the internal space has received considerably less attention. Challenging this imbalance, the stance will be on the ways in which spaces of political sovereignty were sub-divided and structured, especially in view of shifting entities of administration, and how these divisions have changed over time. The Habsburg Monarchy and the Ottoman Empire will serve as case studies.

In addition, we are planning a session devoted to:
_Meet the Author: Domenic Sachsenmeier, Duke University
Global Perspectives on Global History: Theories and Approaches in a Connected World_
Professor Sachsenmeier’s book is appearing this year with Cambridge University Press. It offers a critical review of historiography on global history in the United States, Germany, and Mainland China. The panel will feature the author, plus commentators from each of these three areas.

The World History Network welcomes proposals for theme sessions as well as individual papers. Sessions composed around thematic, theoretical or conceptual questions are preferred to geographical or epoch-oriented sessions, as they favour a comparative point of view.

Every participant can also act as a chair or a commentator outside the session where he/she is presenting his/her own paper.

We encourage proposed session to be rather discussion panels with maximum 4 participants and a discussant than formal paper presentations. We would like then to suggest that each of the panelists will have 10-15 minutes to present their research to leave sufficient time for the discussion. The papers will be uploaded on the website of the conference but the exchange is based on the principle of short oral introductions.

The official language of the conference is English.

Each session must include papers from several countries, with the maximum of two papers from/about one country, to achieve a truly international, comparative discussion. The network chairs may suggest papers to session organisers, particularly to fill a session otherwise incomplete. The final composition of each session is done by the network chairs.

How to propose a paper or a session: Please fill out the pre-registration form on the ESSHC web-site: and include a 500 words abstract of your paper. Each person proposing a paper, even as part of a session proposal, has to register individually. Do not send your paper to the network chairs.

Please submit your proposal as soon as possible, and not later than May 1, 2011. Proposals submitted after the deadline of May 1, 2011, will not be accepted.

We would also like to encourage you to volunteer as chair or discussant.


Prof. Dr. David Lindenfels

Prof. Dr. Matthias Middell

World History Network - 9th ESSHC, Glasgow 2012, 11.04.2012 – 14.04.2012 Glasgow, in: Connections. A Journal for Historians and Area Specialists, 04.03.2011, <>.
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