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C6 Transnational Networks (project completed)

Historical Perspectives on Transnational Networks in Environment, Agriculture, Food and Health (Pilot Project)



The project is a cooperation between the Cluster of Excellence "Asia and Europe in a Global Context" (Heidelberg University) and the Modern European History Research Centre (University of Oxford). The central focus is on the examination of border-transgressing networks, risks, and conflicts in the environmental-agrarian sector between the 1880s and the 1960s. In the context of increasingly globalised food chains and worldwide agricultural and industrial modernisation, environmental, agricultural and health questions became closely interlinked and, due to their transboundary character, could no longer be efficiently tackled within national boundaries.
The project centres on how risks and conflict potentials challenged the international system and were dealt with on the basis of formal organisations and informal networks. Transnational bargaining processes somehow had to find a balance between Western and non-Western concepts, practical strategies, scientific debates and problematic power relations, thereby changing the ways in which the “mechanics of internationalism” had hitherto dealt with globally relevant problems. The project's special attention is paid to questions of food policy and safety, the border crossing of diseases, problems of regulating agricultural labour and the related economic consequences. The project wants to offer a multi-faceted assessment of the collaboration mainly between European and Asian actors, thereby challenging conventional presentations of transnational cooperation as either a consistently progressive force or one that was shaped solely by Western hegemony.
A workshop hosted by the Modern European History Research Centre was held on June 6, 2009 in Oxford as the starting point of the project. Events for 2010 are in process of planning

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Group members

Madeleine Herren-Oesch
Cornelia Knab

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