Area Studies vs. Global History? Madeleine Herren-Oesch at Roundtable
Prof. Madeleine Herren-Oesch, Director of the Institute for European Global Studies, participated in a roundtable discussion on the relationship between Global History, Area Studies, and other disciplines. The debate took place on Thursday, September 22, at 18:15 at the Department of History. It was part of a workshop on the same topic that was organized Prof. Dr. Julia Tischler.
In the past two decades, Global History has boomed, as seen in new research projects, study programmes, and institutions operating under this umbrella term. At the Institute for European Global Studies, Global History is seen as a way of transcending the history of the nation and historical comparisons. Global History analyzes transcultural processes, concepts, and actors with a strong interdisciplinary focus. However, such developments have also been regarded with skepticism, which is often expressed in terms of an antagonism between "older" Area Studies, highlighting local specificity and expertise, and the new global approaches. These debates do not only play out on the level of research, but are also reflected in university strategies, M.A. and PhD courses, and funding priorities. Hence, questions arise, such as: What are the major differences? Are they in fact so different? What does it mean to do "global research"? When does one qualify as an area specialist? What are the potentials, but also the possible limitations of the different approaches? It is these questions that the workshop and the roundtable discussion sought to answer.
Apart from Prof. Dr. Madeleine Herren-Oesch, three other researchers participated at the roundtable discussion: Prof. Dr. Benjamin Schenk, Professor of Eastern European History at the University of Basel, Prof. Dr. Martin Dusinberre, Professor for Global History at the University of Zürich, and Prof. Dr. Gregor Dobler, Professor for Social and Cultural Anthropology at the University of Freiburg. The discussion is chaired by Prof. Dr. Julia Tischler, Assistant Professor of African History at the University of Basel. Prof. Dr. Tischler also organized the Workshop "Area Studies vs. Global History?", which took place from September 22 to 23. The venue for the roundtable discussion is the Department of History, Hirschgässlein 21, Seminar room 1.
Prof. Dr. Madeleine Herren-Oesch is Director of the Institute for European Global Studies, University of Basel. She has written extensively on European history and global history of the 19th and 20th centuries. Within the history of Europe, her work has focused on European expansion, imperialism, and integration.