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Departmental Research Profile

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Researchers and professors of the Department of History and Civilization come from several academic traditions, and we celebrate Europe’s diversity. We focus primarily on the history of Europe, from the late medieval and early modern period to the present, in a transnational and global context. Equally, we take a broad approach to the study of history that includes social and economic analysis as well as the history of cultural and intellectual transfers. Our work analyses the contradictions, specificities, continuities, and sharp breaks that characterize both Europe’s past and the study of that past, in order also to understand its most challenging present questions. 

The Shaping of Modern Europe

We study Europe as a complex political and economic structure, as well as a social and cultural fabric, that is constantly reshaped by integrative and disintegrative tendencies. We take a broad and differentiated historical perspective that includes transnational interactions, institution building, international relations, and Europe’s self‐representations. The critical re‐evaluation of national historiographies, and the evolution of national discourses in multiple areas of politics, culture, and society, also form an important focus of interest.

Global, Imperial and Colonial History

The Department is interested in understanding the interconnected character of our world, its roots, and the place of Europe in it. The economic and environment challenges of our globalizing world lead us to study empires – European and non‐European, early modern and modern alike – in novel ways.  We therefore seek not only to investigate the textures of colonial and postcolonial societies but also to consider wider geographical and cultural nexus like the Eurasian, Mediterranean, Atlantic, and Pacific worlds.

Gender and Sexuality

Gender is a revealing lens of historical analysis with an uncanny capacity to uncover central, hitherto obscured dimensions of human experience by deconstructing the gender‐based hierarchies of which social, economic, and political life are made. For this reason, we encourage researchers to incorporate gender perspectives into their analytic toolkits and to cross those perspectives with those of class, religion, region, ethnicity, or nation.

Intellectual History and the History of Science

We study intellectual history with a view to local contexts, trans‐imperial trajectories, connections, and local and transnational intermediaries from the early modern period to the present as well as an expanding range of fields in the history of science, including the history of knowledge, history of medicine, and environmental history. Ideas, concepts, and scientific practices are studied together with their material expression, drawing on a plurality of methodologies. Particular attention is paid to the circulation of ideas, processes of translation, and book history, as well as the movement of objects and people, and the material practices of science to understand instances of scientific interaction and integration of Europe in the world.

Page last updated on 29 November 2018