Deadline: April 21, 2013
Working on Globalisation: Work and Transport in Global History after 1945
Berlin, October 25-27, 2013
Jamie Monson (Macalester College) and Niels P Petersson (Sheffield Hallam University)

Globalisation is hard work. Global flows do not ‘just exist’, they have to be set in motion – goods, people and information have to be carried from one end of the globe to the other. The aim of this workshop is to contribute to the agenda of the emerging field of global history by investigating entanglements and connections through the lens of the transport work that is required to make them happen. By bringing together histories of work and transport in a global perspective, we aim to shed light on the interplay between the global and the local; agency and structure; flows and boundaries.

Papers will explore some or all of the following questions within a triangle constituted by the notions of globalisation, transport, and work:

  • How does the history of transport work contribute to our understanding of global processes of integration, disintegration and reconfiguration?
  • In which ways can a history of transport work make the limits as well as the flows of globalisation more visible?
  • How does a focus on the experiences and processes of work affect our understanding of the history of transport and globalisation?
  • In which ways does global transport labour history lead us to reexamine specific post-1945 moments and periods as they are commonly defined: for example decolonisation, nationalism, the cold war, socialism and post-socialism?

Our primary focus will be on work and work processes. We will also be interested in the global history of labour relations and labour organisation, in particular as these are related to specific contexts of global transport work. We would also invite contributors to reflect on methodology, including the location of historical sources and their interpretation.

The workshop will focus on the post-1945 period in order to ensure a basic coherence of themes and problems. We will not specify any particular regional or geographic focus, but expect that all papers will address an aspect of non-Western history. Alongside historians, we would encourage social scientists, anthropologists and all others with an interest in exploring the workshop topic to submit a proposal.

We are happy to announce Frederick Cooper (New York) and Marcel van der Linden (Amsterdam) as keynote speakers (confirmed).

The workshop will be hosted by the International Research Centre ‘Work and the Human Life Cycle in Global History’ at Humboldt University Berlin.

An expanded version of this call for papers, including a list of possible topics, is available at

Interested scholars should submit an abstract of their proposed paper (c. 500 words) by April 21 to [email protected]. Successful applicants will be notified by early May.

Papers will be submitted two weeks in advance of the conference, and presentations will be limited to about 20 minutes to leave sufficient time for discussion.

We expect to be able to fund the speakers’ travel and accomodation expenses.

Niels P Petersson
Sheffield Hallam University
[email protected]