Global and Transnational History

In recent years, global and transnational history have emerged as strong areas of activity at Duke. Both fields seek to transcend national, continental, and other categories, which have long dominated the institutional structures of historiography. At our department, much research and teaching investigates transregional, transoceanic, and other long-distance connections throughout human history. This is the case with many different branches of historiography, ranging from economic history to labor history, from gender history to cultural history, from the history of religions to the study of transnational organizations, and from oceanic history to environmental history. Furthermore, there are a wide variety of emphases in graduate education such as, for example, military history and comparative colonial studies, which provide forums for various kinds of bordercrossing scholarship. In addition, a number of our faculty have contributed to the methodological and conceptual literature on global and transnational history. 

The growing interest in global and transnational history does not mean that historians abandon primary source work and careful analysis of local contexts. In most cases, practitioners of these fields work on a selection of case studies, which they relate to each other and discuss as parts of wider networks of exchanges. In that manner, bordercrossing historiography does not merely accentuate many hitherto rather neglected facets of the past: it also invites us to critically reconsider the idea of nations and world regions such as “Europe” or “East Asia” as the main containers of history. 

The Duke department of history provides ample opportunities to train graduate students in the study of different world regions and, at the same time, familiarize them with global and transnational historical approaches in a wide variety of fields. For example, our program offers specifically designed graduate seminars exposing students to important theories and methodologies in global history as well as related areas of research. Moreover, Duke offers its graduate students a strong infrastructure to advance their language skills, take courses in various regional studies, and collaborate with faculty there. They can also benefit from our close cooperation with UNC Chapel Hill, which has a distinct graduate program in global history. In addition, graduate students can tap into Duke’s broad international connections and either study or do research abroad. Among other initiatives, Duke is now engaged in a transnational graduate network, which is based on a close collaboration between the Free University of Berlin, and Hanyang University in Seoul. 

Listed below are the faculty at our department whose teaching and research interests are closely related to global and transnational history. 

Dirk Bonker

War and empire in a global age; transnational military history; globalizing German & U.S. history

Laurent Dubois

Caribbean, Empire, Atlantic

Bruce Hall

Transnational Histories of Race, Muslim Intellectual Networks

Malachi Hacohen

Jewish Diaspora; European Jewish émigrés; postwar trans-Atlantic  culture; transnational European intellectual networks; imperial  multiculturalism; European Union

Engseng Ho

Mobility as a conceptual theme for researching transregional history and rethinking social theory; universalizing ideologies of religion, empire, trade; inter-cultural exchanges and their historical products; Arabic and Islamic diasporic societies across the Indian Ocean and their entanglements with western empires

Anna Krylova

Transnational communist/feminist movements; Soviet and post-Soviet global imagination

Adriane Lentz-Smith

African Diaspora, Black Internationalism, American Empires

Sucheta Mazumdar

Imperial China, Chinese Diaspora, China and Global Capital

Martin Miller

Transnational political violence, political exile communities: Russia/West, representations of mental disorder

Women and feminism; twentieth century; transnational and Latin America, especially Mexico

Gunther Peck

Global migration; humanitarian intervention; global anti-slavery

Karin Shapiro

Late Nineteenth and Twentieth Century American South; late Nineteenth and Twentieth Century South Africa

Pete Sigal

Transnational/transcultural sexuality, colonial Latin America, indigenous peoples of Latin America

Philip Stern

17th-19th century British Empire, particularly in India and Africa; corporations; state and empire formation

John Thompson

Global cultural; sports

Susan Thorne

Gianni Toniolo

International economic history, financial and banking systems

Mustafa Tuna

Globalization and Muslim Cultures; Late-Nineteenth-Century Globalization; Transregional Muslim Networks

Giovanni Zanalda

Global economic history

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