Postgraduate Workshop: Rethinking Transnational History

Long before the term ‘transnational’ became fashionable, historians were interested in transcending national historiographies and boundaries. More recently, many historians have used ‘transnational’ approaches, by examining the transfer of ideas, people, and goods from one nation to another.

While some critics have questioned the explanatory value of this historiographical trend, the term ‘transnational’ often appears as a buzzword with limited explanatory capacity.

This informal workshop investigates the advantages and drawbacks of transnational historiography. Historians of Europe, Asia, Australia, and the world will consider these questions:

  1. How do transnational approaches relate to comparative history?
  2. To what extent does ‘transnational’ history deconstruct traditional narratives, focused on the Western nation state?
  3. How does the transnational relate to the global and/or the imperial? Are the ‘national’ and the ‘transnational’ mutually exclusive categories?
  4. To what extent can transnational approaches be applied to periods before the making of nation states in the long nineteenth century?

The workshop is available without cost for ANU HDR students, but external students may also apply. Numbers are limited to facilitate informal discussion.

Registration deadline: 11 October 2013

Please register with Karen Smith (

Organiser: Dr Christian Goeschel

Workshop Schedule

10:30am-12:00 pm: Opening Panel

Chair: Christian Goeschel (ANU)

Glenda Sluga (University of Sydney), ‘The transnational history of nationalism’

Anne Rees (ANU), ‘Using transnational lives to entangle nations: Australian women in the United States’

Brett Bennett (University of Western Sydney), ‘Transnational forests: writing histories of globally connected environments’

12:00 pm-1:30pm: Lunch

1:30pm-3:00pm: Roundtable

Chair Thomas Dubois (ANU)

Frank Bongiorno (ANU); A. G. Hopkins (University of Texas at Austin);

Tim Rowse (University of Western Sydney); Glenda Sluga (University of Sydney);

Angela Woollacott (ANU)

Informal drinks to follow

Date & time

Fri 25 Oct 2013, 10.30am–3pm


Hedley Bull Building Seminar Room 3, ANU


School of History


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