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Enlightenment and Global History

Final Report Summary - ENGLOBE (Enlightenment and Global History)

ENGLOBE - Enlightenment and Global History. Marie Curie Initial Training Network

With the newly emerging supra-disciplinary field of Global History and the conceptual tools of the Enlightenment, ENGLOBE created a research platform that set out to critically assesses Europe's role in the process of globalization. We focused our critical research on four key concepts: Knowledge, Perception, Values, and Evolution. By challenging eurocentric conceptualizations of world history and following the assumption that Europe will no longer dominate the globalization process in the future, ENGLOBE encourages critical thought that can be applied to global conflicts through reflected intercultural communication.

The ENGLOBE training program was built upon existing doctoral programmes and provided its research fellows with thorough academic training in the new field of Global History, enhanced their academic qualifications and complementary skills, and established training structures for thematically specialized international doctoral training. We also assisted our researchers in the development of e-learning and new forms of communication methods, conference organization, publication, project funding and management.

The ENGLOBE project united nine partner universities in a thematically focused, but multi-disciplinary network, thus profiting from a common focus and a variety of perspectives at the same time. The ENGLOBE partners were:

• Universität Potsdam (coordinator)
• Universidade de Coimbra
• Université de Versailles Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines
• Uniwersytet Zielona Góra
• Technische Universität Berlin
• National University of Ireland Galway
• Middle East Technical University Ankara
• Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Scientíficas Madrid
• Queen's University Belfast

In addition, ENGLOBE had eight associated extra-European partners in India, South Africa, South and North America, and China. With a number of these, new ties of cooperation have been established since the beginning of the ENGLOBE project, among them a very promising relationship with the project "Radiating Globality. Interdisciplinary Research into the History and Geography of Globalization" of which the renowned post-colonial scholar Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak (Columbia University, NY) is the leading figure. This link was further deepened through the participation of Prof. Spivak in the ENGLOBE summer school in Versailles as a guest speaker.

In addition, each ESR spent three months at one of the extra-European partner institutions during their recruitment period. A second secondment of three months to one of the Cultural Institutes involved in ENGLOBE as non-academic associated partners was destined to the enhancement of complementary skills and career perspectives that go beyond the academic field.

ENGLOBE's First Year Conference, „New Perspectives on Global History", took place in Buenos Aires in March 2011, in cooperation with the local associated partner. A joint volume of conference proceedings has been published which unites contributions by ENGLOBE scholars and by the Latin American scholars present at the conference, but which also gave the ESR the chance of positioning themselves with their on-going research in an up-to-date scholarly context. In June 2012, a summer school in Versailles provided space for the ESR to negotiate their own approach to ENGLOBE’s topics, since they were in charge of conceptualizing and organizing the event. This enabled them not only to sharpen their own approaches and to intensify collaborative work among themselves and with ENGLOBE scholars, but also provided opportunity and encouragement to form connections with scholars from outside the network. The guest experts were chosen by the ESR, who also conceptualized and facilitated the panels at the summer school. The final ENGLOBE conference, “Europe and Globalization: The Historical Perspective” took place in March 2013 in Belfast and primarily served as a forum for the ESR to present the (preliminary) results of their research to a scientific audience.

Looking back on the project, the establishment of coherence and of joint objectives and working methods within the four workgroups has been highly successful and satisfying. This ensured an ideal working context for the doctoral researchers who received valuable feedback not only from their teams of supervisors, but also from other scholars in the network and from their fellow ESR. Communication across workgroup boundaries was encouraged through jointly held workgroup meetings and, importantly, by the ENGLOBE platform which enabled collaborative work as well as debate and exchange. This platform also hosted the introductory e-course on Global History which was devised especially for ENGLOBE and which provided a common ground of knowledge for all ESR.

The timeliness and relevance of ENGLOBE has been proven by a rising number of new scientific projects dealing with global approaches to the Enlightenment in different European research contexts and institutions. In addition, the thematic field “Europe and the World” will stay in focus in the new EU research framework programme HORIZON 2020.

The ENGLOBE partners will continue to use the network established in the course of the project for further collaborative efforts. One example of this is the IRSES project WORLDBRIDGES which will start in March 2014. It unites the former ENGLOBE partners CSIC Madrid (co-ordinator), University of Potsdam, and associated partner Buenos Aires, with additional partners, and takes up some of the issues that were elaborated within ENGLOBE.

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Contact details:
Project coordinator: Prof. Dr. Günther Lottes
Project manager: Prof. Dr. Iwan-Michelangelo D’Aprile
University of Potsdam, Historical Institute
+49 331 977 1199