Colonial Cities and Border Regions in the Long 19th Century in Inter-imperial and Intra-imperial Comparisons. Summer School

Gisonenweg 5-7, Marburg
Herder-Institut für historische Ostmitteleuropaforschung
28.09.2020 - 01.10.2020
Dr. Heidi Hein-Kircher (Herder Institute Marburg), Prof. Dr. Benedikt Stuchtey (Chair of Modern History at Philipps University in Marburg)

Colonial cities, especially port cities, as well as border regions between empires have historically played a decisive role in the perception of colonial rule. They formed key transitional spaces in political, social, cultural, economic, administrative, military and religious conflicts and can be regarded as having held particularly prominent hinge positions with respect to the mobility—in some cases the limited mobility—of people, animals, goods, ideas, epidemics and much more. Hence as kinds of “crossroad regions”, they have been places where questions of the imperial states’ and societies’ security/insecurity have been addressed very differently.

The summer school will focus on colonial cities and imperial border regions as spaces that deve loped representative positions of respective colonialisms and imperialisms, also as a way to re-center colonial political and economic power. Moreover, they can be seen as part of a network that existed beyond a single colonial point of reference, for example in the relationship between Shanghai and Singapore and Jakarta, or in the connections between Riga and the Russian Empire.

In the long 19th century (1780-1920), and thus in an intermediate phase between two decolonization processes, colonial cities and border regions formed spaces of intensive inter-imperial inter actions (as well as rivalries), as “crossroad regions” so to speak, where dynamics of intertwinement developed through transnational interrelationships. The research interests of the summer school will draw on these ideas by recognizing colonial cities and border regions as instruments of various forms and mechanisms of expansion, in which conflicts (around mobility) were carried out just as opportunities for cooperation were sought. Not infrequently, these places reflected experimental phases—concerning the conceptualization of laboratories between colonial and transnational interrelationships, as well as the securitization, and, not least, on the re-centering of the “peripheries”.

PhD students and postdocs working on European and/ or non-European colonial empires are requested to apply by 31 January 2020 with the usual documents (curriculum vitae, abstract of the research project, a short letter of reference from the university lecturer super vising the work, and, if appropriate, publications).
Please send these to:

The Herder Institute welcomes parents with children. Therefore, we are able to organize childcare as required, but also to provide a parent-child room for children with personal baby-sitters. Please do not hesitate to contact the organizers until June 2020, if you would like to make use of this service.


Heidi Hein-Kircher

Gisonenweg 5-7

+49 6421 184-110
+49 6421 184-194

Colonial Cities and Border Regions in the Long 19th Century in Inter-imperial and Intra-imperial Comparisons. Summer School, 28.09.2020 – 01.10.2020 Marburg, in: H-Soz-Kult, 17.12.2019, <>.
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