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19-20 September, Property and kinship in global social history

Ever since the financial crisis of 2008 and the emergence of the New History of Capitalism, historians have rediscovered economic themes and sought to interrogate them with the conceptual and methodological tools developed by social and cultural historians. This new interest springs from global history — a broad church of scholarly endeavours that have sought to break the hold of national histories and area studies to emphasize broad contextualisation, connectivity and interdependence in historical developments across regions, ecosystems and geo-polities. While global histories are rooted in multiple scholarly traditions — the most influential of which remain environmental history, the new imperial history, postcolonialism and world-systems theories — most practitioners assume that scale matters and that transregional, transnational and global scales open new and important insights about questions previously regarded in local, national or even multinational frames. The New History of Capitalism contributes much to our understanding of global history but reinforces its neglect of some fundamental categories of social history — like the family and property — in favour of other key categories, mainly labour, work, production and a focus on the social context of specifically economic spheres of activity, like trade diasporas.

Many of the key debates in global history have concerned macro-themes related to economy and society, such as the Great Divergence between China and Europe, and the relationship between Atlantic slavery and industrial capitalism. Notwithstanding the important insights and path-breaking arguments that have arisen from macro-level comparisons and connections, the role of micro-historical approaches to global history in these debates has remained less clear, despite the recent emergence of a self-described ‘global social history’.

In focusing on property and kinship in global history, our workshop will integrate microscopic approaches that challenge how we think about scale. We are therefore bringing together historians researching the intimate relationship between family and property understood both in a broad, relational sense as well as  micro-historical and anthropological perspectives, yet with more attention to global social and economic history.

Date: 19-20 September

Venue: Käte Hamburger Research Centre global dis:connect, Maria-Theresia-Str. 21, 81675 Munich

Organiser: Roii Ball and Michael Goebel

Please resister here by 12 September.


Preliminary programme:


8:30: Registration and coffee
9:00–9:30: Welcome and introduction


Alessandro Stanziani, École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales
What’s wrong with the scales? Agency, structures and historical dynamics through judicial archives in France, Britain and the colonial worlds

Anatol Dutta, LMU, Munich
The intergenerational organisation of family wealth: legal platforms and mechanisms

11:00–11:30: Coffee break

Coşkun Tunçer, University College London
Gürer Karagedikli, Middle East Technical University
Urban wealth inequality in the Ottoman Empire, 1620–1870

Jelena Radovanović, University of Münster

13:00–14:00: Lunch


Eva-Maria Gajek, Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies, Cologne
Between fast spaces and settlement: (im)mobilities of super-rich families in the second half of the 20th century

Netta Green, Hebrew University, Jerusalem

Napoleon’s daughters: capital, surveillance and marriage strategies

15:30-16:00: Coffee break


Roundtable I:
Basma Fahoum, Hebrew University of Jerusalem
David Sabean, University of California, Los Angeles
Simon Teuscher, University of Zurich



Laura Mitchell, University of California, Irvine
Property as kinship: tangles of slavery, land tenure and endogamous settler families in colonial South Africa
Gadi Algazi, Tel Aviv University
Property and kinship after expropriation: case studies from the colonisation frontier in Israel/Palestine, 1949–2000

10:30–10:45: Coffee break


Zephyr Frank, Stanford University
Michael Goebel, Freie Universität Berlin
An Atlantic micro-history of inequality: immigration, race and real estate in 19th-century Buenos Aires

Eva-Maria Gajek, Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies, Cologne

Between Fast Spaces and Settlement: (Im)Mobilities of Super-Rich Families in the Second Half of the Twentieth Century

13:00-14:00: Lunch

Roundtable II:
Girija Joshi, Leiden University
Christof Dejung, University of Bern
Roii Ball, University of Münster

15:30:-16:00 Coffee break

Final discussion