The Professorship for Global History at the University of Potsdam was established in 2020. It is dedicated to the study of African History as an integral part of Global History.
Global History as a discipline is understood primarily as a history of interdependence. The world we live in is rapidly growing together, English is becoming "Globish" and never before have so many people been able to travel so cheaply and time-effectively. At the same time, however, ethno-nationalism is rising once again, with more and more people trying to distance themselves from this ever more complexifying world. Global History as a discipline reaches beyond Eurocentric, nation-state approaches to history and focusses on processes and ideas of globalization. Through both macro- and micro-level analyses, it reveals, in a nuanced manner, how connections, but also separations, emerge; how continents grow together, but also how processes of alienation set in. Global history enables us to reflect on our role as citizens of the world historically and to position ourselves more consciously in our present.
Africa's rich history bears witness to the great achievements of African societies, as well as to millennia-old links and exchanges with the rest of the world. The continent is in a state of constant change, the causes and consequences of which need to be critically and historically reflected.
Historians of Africa contribute to the development of nuanced historical knowledge about the continent and to uncovering new archival sources and methods. To this end, oral sources and innovative approaches to interpretation are an important part of their methodological repertoire, from which Global Historians can also benefit.
Global History as well as African History can together face their challenges and benefit mutually from the opening of new archives and tackling of methodological problems. The research areas covered by the Professorship for Global History interconnect both disciplines with a focus on the history of migration and refugees, the history of labour, and of education, oral history, and the history of international organizations on the African continent.
Using innovative teaching formats, the Professorship brings together students across countries and continents, with and without refugee experiences in order to both learn and produce Global History through their own research projects.