The ‘transnational’ has been widely adopted as a conceptual middle road between confident metanarratives and the neatly bounded narratives of parochial, national and regional polities and societies. Yet, for all its potential as a conceptual framework for a globalised world, the transnational remains a contested and often loosely defined term. The Transnational and Global History Seminar aims to become a locus for thinking among the Oxford social science and humanities communities on what it might mean to adapt transnational frames to our research. To this end, we seek to establish a forum for interdisciplinary discussion and research inviting scholars to participate in a dialogue, leading to a two-day academic conference. There is an important gap for this kind of conceptual conversation, particularly among graduate and early-career researchers.
The research will primarily be through fortnightly seminars in Michaelmas 2012 and Hilary 2013, an on going reading group, and a conference on ‘Global knowledge’ in Trinity 2013.
In Michaelmas 2012 we will invite graduate students and academics from the disciplines of History, Politics and International Relations, Economics, Sociology, Area Studies, and Development Studies to take part in a fortnightly seminar series, the aim being to establish whether or not common ground exists in our approach to transnational research and, if it does, begin to map it out. Through this process, we will establish an Oxford-wide interdisciplinary network. In Hilary 2013 we will invite presenters from the same disciplines to present papers that adopt a transnational lens and address the transnational dimensions of important social problems. By critiquing these papers, we will refine a set of ‘core questions’ that we believe should be placed at the heart of transnational research in the humanities and social sciences. In Trinity 2013 we will use a conference theme of ‘Global knowledge’ to draw together scholars from Oxford and beyond, encouraging them to address these refined questions and form a new inter-disciplinary network. The research programme will allow us to establish what the ‘transnational’ is when viewed from an interdisciplinary network and will also help collate exemplars of transnational methodology and conceptions being used in distinct yet compatible disciplines.
Details of past papers and guest speakers can be found on the seminar website. A selection of seminar podcasts is also available from the Oxford University History Faculty page on iTunesU.