With the war in Ukraine and fears of a new global Cold War Chinese-Russian relations suddenly are omnipresent in the media. The seminar sheds light on the history of these relations - from Russia’s share in European colonialism in China to the Soviet unsteady support for Guomindang and CCP in the era of civil wars and World War II, the Sino-Soviet alliance in the 1950s, the split in the 1960s and 1970s, to the mutual influence on reform and transformation in the 1980s and the new form of cooperation in recent years. Whereas the relationship’s oscillation between conflict and cooperation in history suggests that it will not become a one-way road in the near future, another fundamental change has taken place that will remain in place for some time: the power relations have turned around, as the former colony, backward country, and learning disciple China has turned into the dominant power in the bilateral cooperation. The seminar will take a global history perspective on this International Relations topic in two respects: 1) we will look at the global contexts and transregional entanglements of the apparently bilateral relations. 2) Assuming that ‘bloc-building’ goes beyond mere government politics and decisions, we look at how transnational exchanges in the fields of economy, science, culture and technology built a social base of inter-governmental relations – in the case of cooperation as well as in the case of conflict.

How to sort and compare urban phenomena is an important question in urban studies disciplines, such as urban sociology, geography and area studies. In this seminar we trace and critically discuss a wide range of approaches to compare and classify cities in the social sciences on a global scale. Introducing typologies (such as “Islamic cities”, “colonial cities”, “global cities”, etc.) and more recent interventions (e.g. “comparative urbanism”, “intrinsic logic of cities”) we engage with the possibilities and limitations of interpreting cities and accompanying social practices by relating them to others. The course readings include theoretical basics as well as case studies. Students are expected to contribute actively to the discussions and to prepare a presentation of a case study which will also serve as the basis for the term essay.

This course serves as an introduction to the sociology of migration by focusing on mobilities in, or originating from, a specific regional context. In a first part we will discuss basic concepts and central debates in the sociology of migration. Then we will reconstruct historical aspects and contemporary phenomena of migration in relation to the Middle East, from the late Ottoman Empire and colonial rule up to today’s independent states. In addition to characterizing mobility within the region, we will analyze how migrations from the Middle East to other world regions, from the second half of the 19th century until the present, have resulted in an interconnected transregional/transnational global Arab diaspora, for example in the Americas, sub-Saharan Africa and Europe. Students are expected to contribute actively to the discussions and to engage in a small group project which will also serve as the basis for the term essay.

To some, “digital humanities” is a grand opportunity for historical research while for others, it is a buzzword. Applying digital methods to historical research has so far remained a niche. The tools are not trained during the common history degree and overtly complex terminology obstructs attempts of self-study. In this class, we look at how digital methods are being used in history, and learn how to use these tools for our own research projects—without coding skills.

This moodle course originally provided assistance to the lecturers in the Global and European Studies Institute (GESI) for the transition to online learning in the Summer Semester of 2020. Following a successful start, we decided to keep the format and continue with regular meetings with GESI lecturers, sharing material, ideas, and sources on moodle.

In addition to the first sections where you can find introductions in different online teaching tools and methods, this moodle is used as a source for experience and knowledge sharing among lecturers in GESI.

This MA seminar is a reading course that explores themes regarding unfree mobilities, anti-slavery and humanitarianism, and empire across European empires of the 19th century with a stronger focus on the British Empire due to the centrality of anti-slavery in its imperial “civilizing mission.” Temporally the seminar starts with the abolitions of the age of revolutions in the US and Haitian Revolutions (ie. emancipation or abolition in the British and French Empires) and ends with World War II. The nature of indentured and convict labor gives this seminar a regional focus on the Indian Ocean and the Atlantic. By centering human unfree mobilities (indentured laborers, refugees, formerly enslaved people, convicts, and sailors), the seminar is able to bring to light a number of themes such as transport infrastructure, the relationship between colonies and the metropole, the role of mobility controls, and the connections between anti-slavery ideology and imperialism. Finally, we end with a topic of reparations for chattel slavery and how they were organized in the French and British empires in the 19th century with a reflection on the politics of reparations today for 18th and 19th century slavery.

The seminar is based around the reading of two books (depending on the number of students) and involves substantial group work and a group presentation of one book (students read 1 full book only!). The books cover different aspects of this history from different methodological perspectives, which we reflect on in our discussions that are organized both by the students and the lecturer. The books raise questions about the agency of indentured laborers, the (formerly) enslaved, and convicts, and also allow us to talk about archives and historical methods as well as transregional research perspectives. We draw on additional material from other readings to tease out certain themes as well as legacies today. Students will write a final essay exploring a topic of their choice related to the seminar themes. This course is for students interested in history, memory culture, and transregional research.

We will also combine the seminar with a guided tour of Leipzig’s memorial for forced labor under the NS regime.

Key Reading:

Clare Anderson, Convicts: A Global History, CUP 2022.

Richard Huzzey, Freedom Burning: Anti-Slavery and Empire in Victorian Britain, Cornell University Press, 2012.

Amalia Ribi Forclaz, Humanitarian Imperialism: The Politics of Anti-Slavery Activism, 1880-1940, Oxford University Press, 2015.