This course aims to examine and discuss some of the most relevant classical writings from authors of the Americas and Africa on slavery, slave revolutions and the slave trade to deepen the understanding about non-European perspectives and narratives in Global History. The course, therefore, starts with the Caribbean Marxist writers Cyril James ('The Black Jacobins'), Eric Williams ('Capitalism and Slavery') and Pan-Africanist and Marxist Walter Rodney ('How Europe underdeveloped Africa', 'The Russian Revolution'), as well as William Edward Du Bois (“Black Reconstruction in America”; “Along the Color Line”). Thereupon, the courses focuses on the Négritude movement, that is French Caribbean Aimé Césaire (Discours sur le colonialisme; 'Discours sur la Négritude'), Léon-Gontran Damas ('Retour de Guyane', 'Veillées noires') and Frantz Fanon ('Black Skins, White Masks'), as well as Senegalese Leopold Sédar Senghor ('Liberté: Négritude et humanisme', Deux textes sur la négritude'). Finally, the course moves to the Annals School by focussing on the “Latin American moment” of Fernand Braudel in Sao Paulo ('La Méditerranée', 'La longue durée', 'La dynamique du capitalisme'), as well as on the approach of Argentinian Raúl Prebisch ('Capitalismo periferico', 'Die lateinamerikanische Peripherie im globalen System des Kapitalismus') as precursor of the world system theory of Immanuel Wallerstein. As such, the course draws on various topics, such as capitalism, slavery and the slave trade, the Haitian Revolution, blackness and racism, and political aspects of economic development from the American and African perspective.

Semester: ST 2024


How do people form globally interconnected communities? What are the reasons that in some social

and organizational fields, e.g., NGOs or public policy, labor practices look increasingly the same

across the world in spite of major cultural and historical difference that otherwise mark different

countries? What prevents convergence in other fields, e.g., healthcare and medicine? What are the

conditions under which objects, technologies, ideas and people travel from place to place? And

what social effects do they produce in new environments? This course introduces students to

sociological theories, approaches and empirical studies on globalization. We will specifically focus

on questions of cultural globalization in the fields of medicine, humanitarianism and Global Health.

Global Health is a paradigmatic phenomenon of global studies. As a field of transnational practice,

it asks about the social, political, economic, and cultural forces that shape people´s health and

access to health care.

The recent COVID-19 disease outbreak gives new empirical insights into Global Health

governance, controversies, and social dynamics. The COVID-19 crisis is a product of global

circulations, but responses to the pandemic are also constrained by imaginaries of globalization.

The COVID-19 pandemic thus invites us to newly reflect about how the way in which Global

Health is territorialized. The pandemic highlights the precariousness of health systems as well as the

structural violence that exacerbates vulnerability.

Semester: ST 2024


Belonging to social groups is a central way for people to participate in social life. Therefore, concerns over belonging and membership occupy a central place in sociological research. Under condition of globalization, however, the modalities of belonging are rapidly changing and under pressure. The following questions are central to this course: Who is allowed to belong in certain polities and communities? How is belonging territorialized, de-territorilized and reterritorialized through current processes of global change? What are the relationships of power among different communities? How are power hierarchies among communities in society established in the first place and how are they reproduced? What are the conditions under which belonging becomes institutionalized, secured through citizenship or other socio-legal regimes? Why do people wish to abandon certain forms of belonging? Students are expected to prepare each class through reading and homework.

Semester: ST 2024

The aim of the seminar is the study of democratic transitions in Southern Europe in the 1970s (Portugal, Spain, Greece), in Latin America during the 1980s (Argentina, Uruguay, Chile) and in Eastern Europe after 1989 (Romania, Bulgaria, Poland) focusing especially on the topic of transitional justice. In particular, the seminar will address in a comparative perspective and through a transregional approach the factors causing the end of authoritarian rule and shaping the terms of democratic transition in the above cases by introducing key concepts related to transitional justice.
The mode of transition, associated with different processes of remembrance and forgetting, is decisive for criminal prosecution of crimes committed during dictatorship. For instance, in Spain, Uruguay and Chile, the political elites in charge of transition adopted an “Amnesia Modell” to tackle the legacies of dictatorial past. In these cases, societies witnessed in the beginning phases to democracy a silencing of any discussion on the dictatorship which again led to a suspension of criminal prosecution of human rights abuses. In Greece and Argentina, by contrast, those persons of the military dictatorship with maximum responsibility for human rights violations were put on trial and sentenced either to death or to life imprisonment immediately after the collapse of their regimes (“Selective Punishment”). Decisive for this development was in both cases the fact that the end of the juntas was the direct result of a military defeat (Cyprus crisis, Falklands War). Similar, in the Portuguese case, the Angolan War had a great impact on the process of dissolution of the Salazar regime. Furthermore, the seminar will draw comparisons to Eastern European cases. For example, the Romanian President Nicolae Ceauşescu was 1989 not in position to initiate a "regulated" transition to democracy and retain control of the military and judiciary after the transfer of power according to the Chilean or Spanish model. As a consequence, Ceauşescu and his wife were sentenced to death in a show trial and executed by a firing squad. In Bulgaria, transitional justice took a different path. Todor Živkov, the General Secretary of the Bulgarian Communist Party and Head of State for decades, was charged several times but did not face any criminal consequences ultimately. In Poland, again, the parliament decided as early as 1993 to stop the prosecution against General Wojciech Jaruzelski who had proclaimed 1981 martial law and sent the military into the streets to suppress the Solidarność uprising. More than a decade later, a new attempt was launched by the Institute of National Remembrance to prosecute the former Polish Communist party prime minister along with other high-ranking communists.
The last part of the seminar is dedicated to the question of whether the social and historical-political conditions in Southern Europe and Latin America favour the emergence of left-wing populist movements, in contrast to Eastern Europe, where predominantly right-wing populists are successful. 
Course requirements: (1) regular participation in the course; (2) study of the seminar literature (two articles per session) and participation in the seminar discussion (including the short introduction to texts); (3) 20-minute PowerPoint presentation on a topic of the seminar; (4) final essay based on the PowerPoint presentation. Most of the seminar reading will be uploaded to Moodle.
The seminar is designed for a maximum of 12 participants.

Semester: ST 2024