Situating Transnational Actors

Antje Dietze (SFB 1199) & Katja Naumann (GWZO), eds.

Publication Date

July 2018


London: Routledge






European Review of History: Revue européenne d'histoire




3-4, Special Issue


Actor-centred approaches feature prominently in transnational history. Studying transnational actors has helped to better grasp the extent, dynamics and mechanisms of particular cross-border connections, and has highlighted the entanglement and mutual constitution of cultures and societies in a more general sense. While empirical research continues to reveal more forms of their interaction, the general notion of ‘transnational actors’ has been gradually flattened out: the transnational sphere is now often studied in isolation and conceived of as a rather homogeneous space, while transnational actors are largely viewed solely in their border-crossing capacities and activities. The authors argue that while such a focus successfully captures their mobility, it overlooks another important dimension, namely their embeddedness in local, national, imperial or regional contexts. To reconnect these aspects, the authors situate transnational actors in their diverse socio-spatial relations. Investigating them in this way brings out their important role not only as connectors, but also as producers of various kinds of spaces. The contributions to this dossier highlight that transnational fields of activity are heterogeneous and deeply entangled with other spaces of action and belonging.

Biographical Notes

Dr. Antje Dietze (SFB 1199, Leipzig University, Germany)
Antje Dietze studied cultural studies in Leipzig and Paris, earning her PhD in 2012 from Leipzig University for a work on the role of cultural organizations and artistic practice during the post-socialist transition in Germany. As part of her current research she spent 2014/15 as a German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) P.R.I.M.E. research fellow at the Canadian Centre for German and European Studies at the University of Montreal (Canada). Her research interests include entertainment and the arts, cultural industries, and cultural change within the study of culture and transnational history, focusing particularly on Europe and North America in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

Dr. Katja Naumann (Leibniz Institute for the History and Culture of Eastern Europe (GWZO), Leipzig University, Germany)
Katja Naumann is a historian specializing in the history of international organizations, the history of world history writing, and the history of transnational entanglements of and in East Central Europe. Since 2008, she has been a senior researcher at the Leibniz Institute for the History and Culture of Eastern Europe (GWZO) in Leipzig and teaches global history at the Global and European Studies Institute at Leipzig University. She is the editor for the electronic journal Connections. A Journal for Historians and Area Specialists and an editorial assistant for Comparativ. Zeitschrift für Globalgeschichte und Vergleichende Gesellschaftsforschung as well as chairperson of the European Network in Universal and Global History.