Global Social History: Class and Social Transformation in World History

Christof Dejung's picture
August 29, 2019 to August 30, 2019
United Kingdom
Subject Fields: 
World History / Studies, Social History / Studies, Labor History / Studies, Colonial and Post-Colonial History / Studies, Area Studies

London School of Economics. Old Building, Vera Anstey Room


This conference interweaves global and social history, exploring global social history as a new field of historical inquiry. The papers aim to demonstrate that we cannot understand the emergence and transformation of social groups across the modern world, such as the aristocracy, the economic bourgeoisie, the educated middle classes, or the peasantry, without considering the impact of global entanglements on class formation. Moreover, the contributions aim to show that we have to examine globalization as a social process which was shaped not least by the agency of particular social groups.

Bringing together established and early career scholars from the fields of social history, global history, labour history, and imperial history, the conference will examine the differences and similarities between particular social groups and processes of stratification in different world areas and their interrelations between the early modern period and the twentieth century. Overall, it will make a substantial contribution to the discipline: it aims to add a global dimension to the field of social history, and to introduce social historical questions to the field of global history.


Thursday, 29 August

13:00    Reception

13:30    Introduction: Christof Dejung (Bern) and David Motadel (LSE)


14:00    Panel 1: Global Interaction, Imperialism and Social Order

Chair: Christof Dejung (Bern)


Andrew Sartori (New York): ‘Society’ as a Space of Norms in a Colonial Context


Merry E. Wiesner-Hanks (Wisconsin): Intersectional Analysis and the History of Globalization


15:30    Coffee Break


16:00    Panel 2: World Markets and Social Stratification

Chair: Francesca Fuoli (Bern)


Christof Dejung (Bern): Spinning the Wheels of Commerce: Mercantile Elites and the Making of Global Markets


Michael Goebel (Graduate Institute Geneva): Density and Differentiation: Cities in Global Social History


17:30    Keynote 1

George Lawson (LSE): A Global Historical Sociology of Class Formation


Friday, 30 August


9:00     Keynote 2

Mike Savage (LSE): The Rise and Fall of the Social Group: Class, Ethnicity and Gender in Historical Perspective


10:30    Coffee Break


11:00    Panel 3: Monarchies of the World

Chair: Margot Finn (UCL)


Jeroen Duindam (Leiden): Ruling Houses in the Sattelzeit: Europe and the World


David Motadel (LSE): The Global Aristocracy: Royal Encounters in the Age of Empire


12:30    Lunch


13:30    Panel 4: Capitalism and Global Labour

Chair: Martin Bayly (LSE)


Marcel van der Linden (Amsterdam): Relational Inequalities within the World Working-Class, 1800-Present. Preliminary Reflections


Leo Lucassen (Leiden): Labour, Immigration and Xenophobia: A Global History


15:00    Coffee Break


15:30    Panel 5: Subalterns and Tribal Societies

Chair: David Motadel (LSE)


Francesca Fuoli (Bern): Mountain People, Banditry and the Global Subalterns


Elisabeth Leake (Leeds): Tribal Societies in Global History


17:00    Concluding Discussion

Commentary: Richard Drayton (King’s College London)

Contact Info: 

Convenors: Christof Dejung (University of Bern) and David Motadel (London School of Economics)