International History

Departmental Seminar

Organised by Prof Federico RomeroProf Corinna Unger, Dr Maria Gago and Dr Tommaso Milani (Max Weber Fellows)
Registration code: HEC-DS-INTL-20
Thursdays 15:10‐17:00 - Sala degli Stemmi

Starts on 8 October 2020 
Admin. Assistant: Miriam Curci

Seminar description

This departmental seminar explores some of the most innovative as well as established themes of twentieth-century international history with the aim of familiarizing researchers with the field’s varieties of focus, methods, and analytical scope. We consider how advances in the related fields of transnational, global, and world history are influencing the ways in which international history is conceptualized and written. Empirical case studies rather than programmatic statements are studied along with non-Western and Western perspectives and texts. We concentrate on a few central, exemplary topical areas, whose interpretations and methodological approaches have redefined the discipline in recent times.

Seminar preparation and participation

Preparation: Everyone is expected to thoroughly read the set texts each week. Thorough reading means attending to different dimensions of the texts:

  1. Identifying the author’s central arguments and how they relate to larger historical concerns and debates: how is the author responding to others in the field?
  2. Analyzing how the author constructs her/his argument.
  3. Attending to sources and evidence: how does the author correlate his/her argument to the sources? What claims do you think can be made with the adduced evidence?
  4. Asking yourself how the author is trying to change the way you think about the topic at hand.

Participation: Everyone is expected to contribute to the discussion each week by expressing a viewpoint about the texts and salient issues, especially in relation to points 1–4 above.

Each participant will be asked to make a brief introductory presentation on the readings each week. Please note that there is reading for the first meeting.


Background Texts

  • Ángel Alcalde, “Spatializing transnational history: European spaces and territories,” European Review of History: Revue européenne d'histoire, 25.3-4 (2018): 553-567.
  • Patricia Clavin, “Defining Transnationalism”, Contemporary European History 14.4 (2005): 421-439.
  • Patrick Finney, “Introduction: What is International History?,” in idem, ed., International History (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2005), 1-35.
  • Karen Garner, Women and Gender in International History: Theory and Practice (London: Bloomsbury, 2018).
  • Daniel Gorman, International Cooperation in the Early Twentieth Century (London: Bloomsbury, 2017).
  • Stefan-Ludwig Hoffmann, “Human Rights and History,” Past and Present 232 (2016): 279-310.
  • Joseph Anthony Maiolo, “Systems and Boundaries in International History,” International History Review 40.3 (2018): 576-591.
  • Erez Manela, “International Society as a Historical Subject,” Diplomatic History 44.2 (2020): 184-209.
  • Kiran Klaus Patel, “An Emperor without Clothes? The Debate about Transnational History Twenty-five Years On,” [email protected] 26 (2015):

8 October: Colonialism – Europe in the World

  • Tim Rowse, “The Statistical Table as Colonial Knowledge,” Itinerario 41.1 (2017): 51-73.
  • Heather Streets-Salter, “Consuls, Colonies and the World: Low-level Bureaucrats and the Machinery of Empire, c. 1880-1914,” Journal of Colonialism and Colonial History 20.3 (2019), DOI:10.1353/cch.2019.0037.
  • Kim A. Wagner, “Fear and Loathing in Amritsar: An Intimate Account of Colonial Crisis,” Itinerario 42.1 (2018): 67-84.

15 October: Imperialism and Internationalism

  • Daniel Gorman, “Organic Union or Aggressive Altruism: Imperial Internationalism in East Africa in the 1920s,” The Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History 42.2 (2014): 258-285.
  • Christian Høgsbjerg, “Globalising the Haitian Revolution in Black Paris: C.L.R. James, Metropolitan Anti-Imperialism in Interwar France and the Writing of The Black Jacobins,” The Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History 48.3 (2020): 491-519.
  • Rosalind Parr, “Solving World Problems: The Indian Women’s Movement, Global Governance, and the ‘Crisis of Empire’, 1933-46,” Journal of Global History (2020), DOI: doi:10.1017/S1740022820000169.

22 October: End of Empire and Postwar Europe

  • Martin Thomas and Andrew S. Thompson, “Rethinking Decolonization: A New Research Agenda for the Twenty-First Century,” in Martin Thomas and Andrew S. Thompson, eds., The Oxford Handbook of the End of Empires (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2018), DOI: 10.1093/oxfordhb/9780198713197.013.20.
  • Margret Frenz, “Complicating Decolonisation: Mozambican Indian Experiences in the Twentieth Century,” The Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History 47.5 (2019): 999-1020.
  • Elizabeth Buettner, “Europeanising Migration in Multicultural Spain and Portugal During and After the Decolonisation Era,” Itinerario 44.1 (2020): 159-177

29 October: International Regimes in the Postwar Period

  • Odd Arne Westad, The Cold War: A World History (New York: Basic Books, 2017), chapter 4.
  • Michele Alacevich, “Planning Peace: The European Roots of the Post-War Global Development Challenge”, Past and Present 239.1 (2018): 219-264.
  • Guy Fiti Sinclair, “Forging Modern States with Imperfect Tools: United Nations Technical Assistance for Public Administration in Decolonized States,” Humanity: An International Journal of Human Rights, Humanitarianism, and Development 11.1 (2020): 54-83.

5 November: The Gospel of Development

  • Sara Lorenzini, Global Development: A Cold War History (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2019), 9-21.
  • Joseph Morgan Hodge, “Beyond Dependency: North-South Relationships in the Age of Development”, in Martin Thomas and Andrew S. Thompson, eds. The Oxford Handbook of the Ends of Empire (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2018), DOI: 10.1093/oxfordhb/9780198713197.013.34.
  • Iris Borowy, “Science and Technology for Development in a Postcolonial World: Negotiations at the United Nations, 1960-1980,” NTM: Zeitschrift für Geschichte der Wissenschaften, Technik und Medizin 26.1 (2018): 31-62.

12 November: Challenging the Postwar Order

  • Eric Burton, “Hubs of Decolonization: African Liberation Movements and ‘Eastern’ Connections in Cairo, Accra, and Dar es Salaam,” in Lena Dallywater, Chris Saunders and Helder Adegar Fonseca, eds., Southern African Liberation Movements and the Global Cold War ‘East’ (Berlin: Oldenbourg De Gruyter, 2019), 25-56.
  • Giuliano Garavini, “From Boumedienomics to Reaganomics: Algeria, OPEC and the Struggle for Economic Equality,” Humanity 6.1 (2015): 79-92.
  • James Mark and Tobias Rupprecht, “The Socialist World in Global History: From Absentee to Victim to Co-Producer,” in Matthias Middell, ed., The Practice of Global History: European Perspectives (London: Bloomsbury, 2019), 81-114.

19 November: The 1970s: NIEO, Neoliberalism, Socialism

  • Daniel Rodgers, Age of Fracture (Cambridge: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2011), 41-76.
  • Quinn Slobodian, Globalists: The End of Empire and the Birth of Neoliberalism (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2018), chapter 7.
  • James Mark, Artemy M. Kalinovsky, and Steffi Marung, eds., Alternative Globalizations: Eastern Europe and the Postcolonial World (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2020), chapter 1

26 November: The End of the Cold War and 1989

  • Charles S. Maier, “Thirty Years After: The End of European Communism in Historical Perspective,” in Juliane Fürst, Silvio Pons, and Mark Selden, eds., The Cambridge History of Communism, vol. III (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2017), 600-621.
  • Laurien Crump and Simon Godard, “Reassessing Communist International Organisations: A Comparative Analysis of COMECON and the Warsaw Pact in relation to their Cold War Competitors,” Contemporary European History 27.1 (2018): 85-109.
  • James Mark, Bogdan Jacob, Tobias Rupprecht, and Ljubica Spaskovska, 1989: A Global History of Eastern Europe (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2019), Introduction.

3 December: The World since the 1990s

  • Iván T. Berend, From the Soviet Bloc to the European Union: The Economic and Social Transformation of Central and Eastern Europe Since 1973 (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2009), chapter 6.
  • Paul Betts, “1989 at Thirty: A Recast Legacy,” Past and Present 244 (2019): 271-305.
  • Eleni Braat and Pepijn Corduwener, “Introduction. 1989 and the West: Revisiting the Cold War victory narrative”, in Eleni Braat and Pepijn Corduwener, eds., 1989 and the West (New York; London: Routledge, 2019), 1-14.

10 December: General discussion








Page last updated on 01 October 2020

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