Global History

Photo: Marcia Schenck

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.


Global History Mailing list

We’d like to invite you to join the Global History Mailing list.

We use the mailing list to share updates from the Global History Team here in Potsdam, invite you to our events (including new courses, lectures, and seminars), report on the work of our students (such as the ‘Queer Histories of Berlin Seminar‘s’ interactive map of queer histories or the ‚Global History Dialogues Project‘ Blog with Oral History research from all corners of the globe), and keep you posted about the latest developments in the world of Global History (including book releases, public events, and other exciting developments). 

You can subscribe (and unsubscribe) here.

We look forward to welcoming you into Potsdam’s Global History community!

The UP Global History Team




Final open lecutre: Cultural Heritage and Identities in the Middle East

The last event of the seminar "Cultural Heritage and Identities in the Middle East" will take place on 27.07.2022 at 6 pm. All interested parties are cordially invited!
The focus of the event will be Prof. Dr. Lorenzo Verderame's guest lecture on "Sumerian identity in the contemporary era". 

You can register here

For further questions, please contact Dr. Ahmed Kzzo (


Bild neuer Kurs

The professorship for Global History will offer a new course during the summer semester 2022 “Refugee integration? Critical reflections on history and the present," bringing together students based at five European partner universities within the framework of the European Digital UniverCity partnership. This intensive course delves into the global history of processes of refuge-seeking: it explores the many challenges that refugees and migrants face and the opportunities they create in receiving countries. Its aim is to provide students with the theoretical and conceptual language to make sense of historical processes of refuge-seeking and integration as well as enabling a lively exchange between student perspectives and practitioners’ insights on processes of integration in the city of Potsdam.

Got interested? Find all details on our website:



E-Learning UP award

One of this year's three E-Learning UP awards for "Social Online Teaching at the University of Potsdam" went to Professor Marcia C. Schenck for the Global History Dialogues project. We gratulate her warmly on this success!

Prestigious fellowship award to Potsdam Historian Prof. Marcia Schenck from the Historische Kolleg in Munich


Faculty Prize of the Faculty of Arts

Professor Marcia C. Schenck received the faculty award for excellent teaching from the Faculty of Arts and Humanities 2020/21 based on student evaluations.

Plakat Border Crossing

Student Conference Boder-Crossing

We’re excited to host this year’s History Dialogues Student Conference on September 15th . The participants of the Global History Lab's History Dialogues Project will be sharing their fascinating research on topics ranging from Roma identity in Yugoslavia and the impacts of Covid-19 on the educational sector in Uganda, to the Golden Age of Vietnamese Music. 

You can find the full conference programme here. Zoom links will be circulated to the programme a day prior to registered attendees. You can register here.

We look forward to welcoming you at the conference!

World History as a Dialogue of Histories

Prof. Marcia Schenck brings students from across the globe together in the History Dialogues Project (HDP). The project lets students write their own historical micro-narratives – after taking a quick “ride” through world history and an introduction to the methods of oral history. For Marcia Schenck, this is not a contradiction, but rather a contribution to the further development of historical science.

Read more.


Professor Schenck is thrilled to announce the open access publication of the edited volume Navigating Socialist Encounters. Moorings and (Dis)Entanglements between Africa and East Germany during the Cold War!

Edited by Eric Burton, Anne Dietrich, Immanuel Harisch, and Marcia C. Schenck this book firmly anchors African history in global history by illuminating the connections between African and East German actors and institutions during the Cold War. With a particular focus on agency and African influences on the GDR (and vice versa), the volume sheds light on personal and institutional agency, reciprocal cultural transfers, migration, development, and solidarity.

Interested in the history of refuge seeking in Africa? Check out the recent blog series on Histories of Refuge on Africa is a Country. This series is edited by Madina Thiam and includes contributions by Christoph Kalter, Lazlo Passemiers, Rose Jaji, Keren Weitzberg, Alfred Tembo, Jochen Lingelbach, Aderito Machava, Njung George, Anita Vukovic. Professor Schenck’s contribution on Africa’s forgotten refugee convention is already published. This initiative is a result of the Exploratory Workshop “Rethinking Refuge: Processes of Refuge Seeking”, which Prof. Schenck organized at the Forum for Transregional Studies in Berlin in June 2019.

The new website for the History Dialogues Project is live: Global History Dialogues supports student-researchers around the world and invites you to the conversation. We support, guide, and share original research by people around the world. By training student-researchers in oral history and other historical research methods, we help new voices become narrators of history, and expand conceptions of what history is, and who its authors are. We believe in the right to research and the power of historical inquiry to spark conversations and connections across borders. We encourage you to join the dialogue. Share your comments and ideas after each presentation on the website. Get involved in global storytelling.

Professor Schenck has initiated the creation of an H-Africa “Refugees in African History” , a cross-network project which links H-Africa with H-Migration, dedicated to the historical perspective on refuge seeking in Africa as well as to and from the African continent. Together with her team of editors, Keren Weitzberg (H-Africa), Jochen Lingelbach (H-Migration) and Johanna Wetzel, Prof. Schenck maintains the network, which serves as a space to bring together information concerning research, teaching and discussions on refugees in African history. Are you looking to share a conference call or a call for papers? Would you like to ask colleagues for fieldwork tips? Are you preparing a new course and would like to get inspired by different syllabi? We invite you to take a look at our resources and help us expand them further by sending your input to africanrefugeesmail.h-netorg