MO5710: Crossing borders – European History in Transnational Perspective

This course focuses on late-modern European history and its historiography from the late eighteenth to the twentieth century. Questioning the impact of the nation and nation-states as well as nation-dominated narratives, the module focuses on transnational aspects and approaches including comparative history, cultural transfers and entangled history. The course reflects on the ongoing process of the Europeanization of Europe and the increasing interest in global history both of which challenge the writing of national as well as European history. The first sessions are dedicated to an introduction of the main concepts and methods currently used in the field of transnational history, such as comparison, cultural transfer or histoire croisée and will discuss their application in recent historiography. Following the introduction of approaches and methods the course then focuses on problems and challenges such as spatializing and periodizing transnational history as well as empirical examples such as the European Union, border regions or diaspora in transnational perspective.

The course is team taught by Conan Fischer, Tomasz Kamusella, Bernhard Struck, Kate Ferris, Sarah Easterby-Smith


  1. 1) Introduction

    (I) Approaches, Tools, Debates I
    2) Transnational History – Why now? Aims, Scope, Scepticism
    3) Ian Tyrrell, Transnational Nation: United States History in Global Perspective since 1789
    4) Sebastian Conrad, Globalisation and the Nation in Imperial Germany

    (II) Transnational Spaces
    5) Borders and historical regions: The case of Silesia
    6) Empires and transnational regions: The Atlantic and the Mediterranean 

    7) Reading Week

    Approaches, Tools, Debates II
    8) From local to global – from global to local: Scales in Transnational History

    (III) Transnational Moments and Periods 
    9) The European Union, 1919-1932  
    Or: Periodizing Transnational History: ‘1989’

    10) Project Session

    (IV) Transnational Agents and Culture
    11) Migrants, exile and diaspora
    Or: Experts and networks

    12) Concluding debate


Introductory Reading

Burton, Antoinette, ‘Who Needs the Nation? Interrogating “British” History’, Journal of Historical Sociology 10 (1997), 227-249

Cohen, Deborah & Maura O’Connor (eds.), Comparison and History. Europe in cross-national perspective (2004)
Haupt, Heinz-Gerhard, ‘Comparative History’, in International Encyclopedia of the social and behavioural sciences (2001), 2397-2403

Hopkins, Anthony, ‘Back to the Future: From National History to Imperial History’, Past and Present 164 (1999), 198-243

McGerr, Michael, ‘The Price of the “New Transnational History”’, American Historical Review 96 (1991), 1056-1067


*The course might be subject to minor changes depending on staff availability.