Author Archives: Bernhard Struck

Experts & Expertise in Motion @Prague

Some impressions from our #Graines2019 (7th Graines summer school) at Charles University on Experts and Expertise in Motion.

The summer school with some 30 guests – students and staff – is in full swing. The spirit is high: presentations, workshops, excellent discussions – not easy given the conditions: 30 degrees plus but the setting is classy.

The range of topics is great: from engineers and architects, to Esperanto activists and turning sources into “data”, gun-dealers during the Spanish Civil War, expert knowledge and cigar-making in the European Atlantic, from networked German-Jewish invitation letters and letters of recommendation, to World Fairs experts…


Experts & Expertise in Motion

 Call for Applications 

 Experts and Expertise in Motion

 7th GRAINES Summer School, Charles University, 12-15 June 2019

Ever since its establishment Transnational History, however loosely defined, has focused on connections, on flows of people, goods, ideas as well as processes, interconnections and exchange of information in its various forms, that stretch over political and territorial borders. This process-oriented perspective challenges the notion of both the nation and the state as a principal historical category. It questions the binary concept between “centers” and “peripheries” with its single-direction relation. Furthermore, European history has become deeply involved in Global History, and expert networks or scientific transfers are there an important topic too.

solvay conference 1927

Following this perspective, the GRAINES summer school 2019 will engage with the multiple and multi-directional entanglements within and beyond the European continent around “experts” and “expertise in motion”. Experts and expertise shape our modern world and societies, from technology to health care, to decision and policy-making around taxation, education, infrastructure or humanitarian action – to name just a few areas. Experts may work directly in or are associated with the state, yet they also operate beyond and below the state level. They may equally shift between the two, as intermediaries between civil society, science and research on the one hand, and the state on the other. Experts often work in specific institutional settings that produce and provide expertise (e.g. labs, universities, think tanks, academies, learned societies, international organisations). Yet beyond such settings experts form and forge various forms of exchange and cooperation that sets expertise and expert knowledge in motion.

The summer school invites contributions on themes including: the movement of persons, the translocation of objects as well as ideas, the problem of “authority” and “trust” in the establishment of knowledge networks, the forms and reshaping of transnational spheres of “expert” communication and collaboration. We invite contributions on modern European history with Europe understood as an open concept that includes connections within as well as beyond Europe.

The summer school is organised by the Faculty of Arts, Charles University, in cooperation with the Graduate Interdisciplinary Network for European Studies (GRAINES). The program includes reading and discussion groups, lectures and excursions, as well as room for the presentation and discussion of student projects. While the summer school will have a distinct interdisciplinary and trans-epochal character, potential participants should demonstrate historical awareness and general interest in history. We invite postgraduate students from a broad range of theoretical perspectives and disciplines to submit their project proposals to the organisers.

The working language of the summer school is English. It is open to PhD candidates as well as MA students.

Accommodation costs will be covered, a limited number of travel bursaries may be available.

To apply, please send your project proposal of maximum 500 words and a one-page CV by 20 February 2019 to

Summer school organized by:

Faculty of Arts, Charles University in cooperation with the partners of the Graduate Interdisciplinary Network for European Studies (GRAINES)

For further information on the summer school and GRAINES see



#Graines2018 impressions

Here are some of our #Graines2018 (Twitter) impressions from the Sciences Po, Reims campus, 6-8 June 2018. Reims may have a cathedral, but the Sciences Po campus is a cathedral in its own right.


Sciences Po Reims

Here we go: With Jakob Vogel introducing Global Europe.

Jakob Vogel Welcome

And straight into Kapil Raj’s (EHESS) keynote – Calcutta, dogs, alcoholics…fascinating world.

Kapil Raj

And over to the students: 5-7mins speedy, punchy presentations.

Project discussion

Ok, global-transnational Europe…gimme a break. We are also here for coffee, are we not?

Gimme a break

Over to Natalie Scholz (University of Amsterdam) for her keynote.

Natalie Scholz

Research into local food culture, yummy! Gluten here we come.

Matt's pleasures

Marketa Krízová (Charles University) taking us to early Latin America and European missions…and utopia.

Marketa Krizova

Marketa Krizova (Prague)

Farewell Reims 2018

On behalf of all participants, we would like to thank the Science Po team around Jakob Vogel and Thomas Gauchet for organising and hosting our 5th Graines Summer School at the beautiful Sciences Po campus at Reims, 6th to 8th June 2018.

Global Europe

Global Europe #Graines2018

Our summer school on “Global Europe. Connecting European History (17th to 21th Century) brought together some 30 scholars – staff, Master students, PhDs, postdocs – from Poland, Czech Republic, Austria, USA, Turkey, Germany, France, Macedonia, the Netherlands, Italy, the UK, and Switzerland.

For 2.5 days we discussed themes, topics, and readings ranging from colonial encounters in 18th-century Calcutta, to versions of maritime history, early modern European missions and visions of Latin America, to “Eurafrica” and colonial as well as transnational connections to migration history and the globally connected village. Formats ranged from keynotes to reading groups, 5-mins speed-presentations by our PhDs to a sprint-pair-writing session on aspects that had arisen from discussions. The programme can be found here: GRAINES 2018 Programme Summer School.

Marketa Krizova

Market Krizova (Prague)

Following two intense and packed days of keynotes, presentations and project discussions, students were asked to team up in pairs and pick any point of discussion or feedback and co-write for 2×25 mins as a team. The challenge was a multiple one: it was later in the evening, co-writing (with very limited time) is normally not what we do as historians, and English was not the native language for most participants. Yet the reflections were highly inspiring. Here are some tasters:

Celtic Revivalist Movements: From Comparative approaches to Interconnected Methodologies (Martina) 

 My PhD project seemed well defined before arriving to GRAINES summer school. My intention was to extract differences and similarities between Irish, Welsh, Scottish and Breton revivalist groups participating in Pan-Celtic Congress, and their approach and reasoning about Celtic Identity as label or tool, within the context of their goals. It should have been “classical” comparison, studying each of the groups more or less separately. However, discussions and the whole topic of the venue (Global and Transnational Historical Approaches) made me think not only about the interconnections between these groups, individual actors, but also external influences. I’ve realized that by applying this perspective I will be more likely able to formulate the aspects that influence the social group representation, and to see through the motivations of each of these groups or individuals. Microhistorical and transnational approach in combination with comparison could be a good starting point.


Neither Really Global nor Imperial? – How to Conceptualise Connectivity over Countries, Empires, Continents and Oceans (Tom & Merle)

Global and Imperial History, increasingly seen as overlapping, have been hotly discussed in recent years and its popularity among historians only seems to be growing. As a consequence, more and more attempts are coming up to specify the exact workings of such global and imperial connections. One of them is the article Global History, Imperial History and Connected Histories of Empire by Simon J. Potter and Jonathan Saha. We both think this could revolutionise our understanding of such connections. We will illustrate this with our respective projects.

Imperial violence in the fin de siècle period was ubiquitous and took very similar forms in many different empires, be they British, German, Dutch or otherwise.

Student Presentations

PhD Presentations

This has had historians puzzling where this violence came from. Was it something that arose out of the specific conditions of colonial warfare that colonial troops saw themselves confronted with? For instance, most colonial wars sooner or later took the form of an asymmetric conflict. This might have led to imperial armies coming up with the same kind of solutions in different contexts. In this vein, Dierk Walter has argued that these armies had to ‘re-invent the wheel over and over again’. However, there were also many different forms in which knowledge on specific techniques of colonial violence was passed on. These forms included accounts of colonial wars, specific handbooks for prospective colonial soldiers, but also a mouth-to-mouth conveyance wherein soldiers with colonial experience, either on the spot in the colony, or within certain regiments, could teach persons new to colonial warfare about its specifics. Continue reading

Welcome to our Writing Session #Graines2018

Global Europe. Connecting European History

Going against stereotypes:
  • Historians are slow…. (and we love it! And there are good reasons!)
  • Historians are lone wolfs… (and we love it, those days in archives and libraries… just leave me alone!)
  • BUT let us be different (just for an hour), learn from Coding, Computer Sciences, Speed Dating (no kissing and hugging, unless you want to) – PAIR WRITING (driver and co-pilot)

What we need:

  • Pairs of 2 – 1 Computer (needed per pair) – 1 Idea Sticker
  • Either 2×30 mins or 1×60
  • Create a Document with names – punchy title & punchy paragraph or two (send to
  • Take 5 minutes to discuss your 1 or 2 points of writing

Goal, Format and Setup:

  • Think: BLOG – as in Be prepared, Language matters, Opinion matters, Go for it
  • Write a paragraph or two on ANY point of interest from “Global Europe” – a text, a point of discussion, what you learned, what you would like to share with others, which idea you take home… OR write the first page of your PhD!
  • Questions? …. GO FOR IT! Have fun… but not too much, be productive

From #Graines2015 to #Graines2016

Thank you all for coming, sharing, listening, writing, collaborating. Three days under the Scottish sun in St Andrews, Fife around networks and transnational history, that was #Graines2015.

We have started discussing hosting #Graines2016 in Cologne – potentially around the theme: empires. For in-between meetings, first ideas have been floated to have one-day events in the spirit of sharing and collaborating. Be aware, more pair-writing and unconference stuff ahead. See:

#Graines2015 - The Group

#Graines2015 – The Group

CFP for GRAINES Summer School now open

Call for Applications

Interconnected – Actors, Objects and Ideas on the Move

3rd GRAINES Summer School, St Andrews, 7-10 June 2015

GRAINES network and the Institute for Transnational & Spatial History, St Andrews, in collaboration with the Institute for Intellectual History, St Andrews & Global Cities (AHRC Project)

Over the past years, networks, along with Actor-Network-Theory, have attracted scholars’ attention. While networks are not new as a topic, they have gained attention in particular in the field of global and transnational history. As part of global and transnational research perspectives, as well as in urban or intellectual history, in the history of science or in economic history networks serve multiple purposes. All these fields share an interest in processes of exchange, in connections and flows of people, goods and ideas that can be tracked and analysed through networks.

In these and related fields networks can be:

  • objects of research
  • outcome of research
  • a heuristic device and tool in order to generate research agendas.

Networks may also serve as a way of seeing spatial relations and dynamics beyond (or in addition) to more conventional geographical and territorial frameworks, e.g. nations, empires, regions, cities. The increasing interest in the study of networks coincides with a rapidly changing research environment and the rise of Digital Humanities. A variety of software and computing tools are available to visualise data and networks. This again poses questions on how to treat data, how to narrate and how to collaborate across and between disciplinary boundaries.

In the vein of previous GRAINES summer schools we invite applications from within and beyond the GRAINES network. While GRAINES shares a strong historical orientation with a focus on European history from the late medieval period to the present, we welcome applications from neighboring disciplines like Art History or Literature as well as the sciences (geoscience and computer science).

The purpose of the summer school is to bring together scholars and postgraduate students working on or with the concept of networks in projects related to transnational, global, urban and intellectual history.



The summer school will seeks to be a forum for sharing and collaborating, for knowledge production rather than consumption. In conjunction with more traditional elements such as reading groups, paper presentations, we adopt different elements of collaboration inspired by the model of “unconferences” (a model we successfully used for the “Mapping and Visualising Transnational (Hi)Stories” workshop in June 2014) as well as “Pair programming” in the Humanities.

Pair progamming

Pair progamming

Please send your proposal as a single word or PDF document (abstract of a project / proposal of max 250 words; brief biographical sketch of max 150 words including the motivation to participate and what you are willing to contribute & share during the summer school, e.g. contribute to reading group, writing session, workshop introducing a tool or software) to

Giada Pizzoni, mail:

Fees: 130 GBP – includes: 4 nights student hall accommodation with B&B, dinner and catering during summer school. Travel expenses are not included.

Fees: 50 GBP – participation without accommodation.

Submission Date: 9 March 2015

The CFP can be downloaded Graines Interconnected_CFP (word) or Graines Interconnected_CFP (PDF). The summer school will mainly be organised via




Summer School 2015

The 3rd GRAINES Summer School will be hosted at St Andrews, 7-10 June 2015.  This year’s theme is “Interconnected – Actors, Objects, and Ideas on the Move in Transnational & Global History”. The Call for Applications will be out in the second half of January 2015.

The Summer School is organised by the Institute for Transnational & Spatial History in collaboration with GRAINES, the Institute for Intellectual History and the AHRC funded project “Global Cities“.

Spending time in Vienna

One of the key ideas behind GRAINES is that it allows us to put European and transnational history into practice with a flexible and informal way of exchanges of both staff and students between the partner institutions. Martin Schaller one of the current PhD students based at St Andrews will be spending part of his project time in Vienna. We are grateful that Markian Prokopovych and Philipp Ther have agreed to informally supervise Martin during his time in Vienna.

In order to facilitate exchanges between the partner institutions and in order to help financially, Erasmus agreements between St Andrews and Vienna, as well as between St Andrews and Basel will be set up soon.


Welcome to Anja Rathmann-Lutz

We welcome a new member of staff as part of GRAINES. As of October 2013, Dr Anja Rathmann-Lutz will be joining the Steering Committee on behalf of the Basel team replacing Roberto Zaugg who has recently joined Sciences Po, Paris.

I am a historian and art historian and received my PhD from the University of Hamburg and is currently Assistant Professor (Wissenschaftliche Assistentin) at the Department of History at the University of Basel (Switzerland).


My research concentrates on the cultural history of the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, especially on the perception of change in the high Middle Ages, the political use of images and questions of visibility, the history of late medieval cities and questions about temporality and space time relations.