Global and/or Transnational

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 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 this 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 which allows them to advance their language skills, take courses in various regional studies, and collaborate with faculty there.  They also benefit from our close cooperation with UNC-Chapel Hill, which offers 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 based on a close collaboration between the Free University of Berlin and Hanyang University in Seoul. 

People

Juliana Barr, Associate Professor in the Department of History

Associate Professor Juliana Barr received her M.A. and Ph.D. (1999) in American women’s history from the University of Wisconsin Madison and her B.A. (1988) from the University of Texas at Austin. She joined the Duke University Department of History in 2015 after teaching at Rutgers University and... full profile »

Dirk Bonker, Associate Professor in the Department of History

Office: 208 Carr Bldg, Durham, NC 27708
Phone: (919) 684-3930

I am a historian of the United States and Germany, who focuses on questions of militarism, warfare, and empire in the long twentieth century. In my work, I also address larger questions about how best to "globalize" and "internationalize" U.S and German histories in the modern age. full profile »

Laurent Dubois, Professor of Romance Studies

Office: 213 Language Center, Durham, NC 27708
Phone: (919) 660-3112

I am a specialist on the history and culture of the Atlantic world, with a focus on the Caribbean and particularly Haiti. I am the faculty director of the Forum for Scholars and Publics at Duke University, and write for magazines including the New Republic, Sports Illustrated, and the New Yorker. I... full profile »

Janet J. Ewald, Associate Professor with Tenure

Office: 316 Carr Bldg, Durham, NC 27708
Phone: (919) 684-4280

My specialty in the history of Africa has led me, in both my teaching and research, to explore how Africans participated in the major currents of world history since about 1700. My first book Soldiers, Traders, and Slaves: State Formation and Economic Transformation in the Greater Nile Valley, 1700... full profile »

Barry Gaspar, Professor with Tenure

Office: 306 Carr Bldg, Durham, NC 27708
Phone: (919) 684-2109

Dr. Gaspar concentrates on comparative slave systems, with a special interest in the development of slave society and the evolution of slave life in the United States and the Caribbean. The Atlantic Slave Trade, Atlantic history and culture, the legacy of slavery in post-slave societies, historical... full profile »

Sucheta Mazumdar, Associate Professor of History

Office: 226 Carr Bldg, Durham, NC 27708
Phone: (919) 684-5490

Grounded primarily in Chinese history, and secondarily in Indian history, I am excited by the intellectual challenges of writing and teaching comparative global history. Two broad questions frame my research agenda: the radical transformation of circuits of consumption and commodity production that... full profile »

Adam Mestyan, Assistant Professor of History

Office: Office 316; 114 Campus Drive, Carr Building (east Campus), Durham, NC 27708
Phone: (919) 684-2343

Adam Mestyan is a historian of the modern Middle East. His first monograph is Arab Patriotism - The Ideology and Culture of Power in Late Ottoman Egypt (Princeton University Press, 2017; order it on... full profile »

Jocelyn Olcott, Associate Professor of History

Office: 201 Carr Bldg, Durham, NC 27708
Phone: (919) 668-5298

Jocelyn Olcott is Associate Professor of History and Gender, Sexuality, and Feminist Studies at Duke University. Mexico. Her first book, Revolutionary Women in Postrevolutionary Mexico, explores questions of gender and citizenship in the 1930s.  Her second book, International Women’s Year:  The... full profile »

Gunther W. Peck, Associate Professor of History

Office: 308 Carr Bldg, 136 Public Policy, Durham, NC 27708
Phone: (919) 668-5297

My research focuses on the long history of human trafficking and its relationship to the evolution of racial ideology, humanitarian intervention, and immigration policy in North America and Europe. In addition to mentoring both History and Public Policy graduate students, I regularly teach four... full profile »

Sumathi Ramaswamy, Professor of History

Office: Dept of History, 325 Carr Bldg, Box_90719, Durham, NC 27708
Phone: (919) 684-5764

I am a cultural historian of South Asia and the British Empire and my research over the last few years has been largely in the areas of visual studies, the history of cartography, and gender. My recent publications in this area include The Goddess and the Nation: Mapping Mother India (Duke... full profile »

Peter Sigal, Professor in the Department of History

Office: 234 Carr, Durham, NC 27708
Phone: (919) 684-3551

The relationships between gender, sexuality, and colonialism have intrigued me since I began my first book on Maya sexuality. I recently completed a study on the interaction of writing and sexual representation in sixteenth and seventeenth-century Nahua societies--The Flower and the Scorpion:... full profile »