The Institute for Transnational and Spatial History is delighted to announce our new MLitt programme in Transnational, Global and Spatial History. Read more about the new programme.

As part of the general Modern History MLitt (Masters) degree several members of the Institute for Transnational & Spatial History enthusiastically co-teach two different modules.

We are currently offering MO5710 Crossing Borders. European History in Transnational Perspectives and from 2013 on MO5612 Global History, Globalisation and its Histories. These modules run over one semester and are part of the range of optional modules available as part of the Modern History MLitt programme.

One of the (many) beauties is that these modules are taught in small class seminars, usually with four to six students. Over the past few years we had truly transnational classes with students from Poland, Germany, Austria, Canada, France, Switzerland, US and the UK, which is a great teaching experience for both sides – staff and students.

What students think: 

“This course provided an excellent introduction to the key concepts and debates in the field of global and transnational history. As a student who has previously studied history primarily within a national framework, thinking about how to practice history across national borders gave me a valuable new perspective. The course incorporated a variety of approaches to global history, from spatial history to the history of material culture, as well as a variety of themes, from the spread of scientific knowledge to the first international aid organizations, which kept the weekly discussions fresh and lively.” (Fiona O’Carroll, 2014/15)

“Having studied nation centric Scottish history for my undergraduate degree I found the ‘Crossing Borders’ module hugely refreshing to my historical approach. The teaching of this module was second to none with all staff making themselves available for further discussion and advice on approaching the coursework which seemed daunting having no background in the Transnational approach. The studying of networks, connections, experts and commodities has instilled in me new ideas and fresh perspectives that have already changed my research interests and will undoubtedly shape future projects as well as everyday thinking.” (Connor McElwaine, 2013/14)

The ‘Crossing Border’ module offered a deep insight into a new and fresh perspective on history. The discussions in the different sessions helped to challenge categories taken for granted all too often by focusing on border-transcending processes. The variety of professors who taught on this module ensured an interesting variety of topics and also brought in Central and Eastern European history. For me personally, it proved to be the perfect choice and starting point to further follow my own interests.” (Martin Schaller, Austria, 2012/13)

“The ‘Crossing Borders’ module is an excellent choice amongst the specialised courses offered by the School of History at a postgraduate level. For those who want to discover a new historical and historiographical approach, the module offers a wide range of thematic sessions in order to master the study of cross-border flows and connections. Those who are already convinced by the discipline will find that the two essays are a perfect exercise in order to get ready for longer works and future research. As for me, the ‘Crossing Borders’ option had a real impact on my decision to keep studying transnational history for my PhD in the framework of the Alps and the Enlightenment.” (Jordan Girardin, France, 2012/13)

“Today, the nation state is still the prevalent ideal of political organisation. But national borders rarely keep people from crossing them and, above all, borders never stop ideas. In the 21st century, scholars should reflect about the limits of the national paradigm, because a discipline concerned with cultures and ideas should not limit itself.” (Korbinian Erdmann, Germany, 2011/12)


MO5612 Global History, Globalisation and its Histories

The module is designed as a broad introductory module to the field of global history, its methods, approaches and recent historiographical trends. It is divided into two parts. The first part is designed as an introduction to recent trends that have contributed to the emergence of global history. Furthermore, the first part discusses several distinct fields and schools (such as the concept of World Systems by I. Wallerstein) and key narratives and texts (C. Bayly and K. Pommeranz).

The second part engages with different processes that have spurred globalisation since the early modern period – the key focus, however, is on the late-modern period from c.1750. These include processes such as migration, urbanisation, technology or disease. Selected sessions, in particular in part II, may be co-taught by two members of staff who will bring different perspectives, cases and periods to these processes.


Introduction: Global History and the History of Globalisation

I. Approaches and Key Texts

  1. Concepts and Perspectives: New Imperial Histories, Post-Colonial Theory and Global History
  2. World System and Globalisation: Key Interpretations
  3. Master Narratives I: C.A. Bayly
  4. Master Narratives II: K. Pomeranz

II. Practicing Global History: Processes, Spaces and Cases

  1. Consumption and the Circulation of Global Goods, c.1650s-1830s
  2. Technology and Global Connections, c.1840s-1900s
  3. Global Migrations and Hybrid Cultures, c.1840-1950s
  4. Global Crisis, Environment, Diseases and Intervention
  5. The Metropolis as Hub for Global Cultures


Depending on staff availability this module is team-taught by Sarah Easterby-Smith, Konrad Lawson, Chandrika Kaul, Bernhard Struck or Stephen Tyre.