Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Juniorprofessur für Historische Europaforschung

Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin | Institut für Geschichtswissenschaften | Juniorprofessur für Historische Europaforschung | Lehre | WiSe 20/21: Social security & welfare practices in global perspective

WiSe 20/21: Social security & welfare practices in global perspective

This MA-seminar deals with the things people “do” to stay alive and well, not only as individuals, but also as groups, communities, and national or global citizens. We will take a closer look at the development and change of diverse (gendered) welfare practices and institutions since the 19th century – both on the individual, the national and the transnational or global level. Looking at different threads – from health care and old age protection, to housing and poverty/unemployment prevention – we critically examine existing narratives about the modernity of the “European welfare state and put these narratives into global perspective.

↓ ↓ Online lectures ↓ ↓ 

Dominik Dannecker, Joshua Rossetti among others:

Transnational Third Way

Recent literature on neoliberalism has attributed its apparent durability as a body of thought and governing practice to the fact that its core ideas have made inroads in competing worldviews. To understand the “strange non-death” of neoliberalism, the “mixed morphologies” (Plehwe, Slobodian, Mirowski, 2020) of neoliberal thought require further attention. This presentation will define and historicize the Third Way project to reformulate social democratic thought and practice in the aftermath of the neoliberal revolution, and will explore Third Way as a global political philosophy. What were the core elements of Third Way political philosophy and governing practice? What were its main political diagnoses and prescriptions? What is its legacy? Our presentation will sketch out provisional answers to these questions. 





Romina Schumann, Jonas Schmidt:

Social Housing on a Global Scale (1945-Today) - Examples of
(West) Berlin and New York City

Writing a global history of social housing as a part of the welfare state is a rather complex undertaking, it is a very prominent topic in discourses in and about cities around the globe and with more than half of the global population living in urban areas, making it a field worth studying. Our presentation will only study the examples of Germany and the US, by taking a closer look at the housing sectors of (West) Berlin and New York City, however the issue of housing affordability does not stop at national borders and is affecting many more countries worldwide. By focusing on (West) Berlin and New York City, it is our aim to identify categories and subtopics that make a comparison of different national histories and trajectories of social housing possible. With our lecture, we will provide insights into the chances and pitfalls of writing an interdisciplinary history of social housing on a global scale.





Nina Brune, Gregory Stirton:

The Smallpox Eradication Program

The Smallpox Eradication Program was the first, and remains, the only instance of human agency defeating a disease. Starting in 1966, it took fourteen years until the World Health Organization declared the disease eradicated. Beyond being an unprecedented achievement in the history of health, the program represents a fascinating intersection of welfare, global aid, and the politics of the cold war and decolonization. Our presentation teases out the intricacies of this intersection, detailing the successes of the program, its controversies, and its heuristic value for our own global health problems.





Billy Sawyers, Victoria Michaelis, Lukas Sebold, Hendrikje Lange:

Being a ‘Social Problem’ in a Centaur State: The Blaming and Exclusion of Minority Groups in Welfare Systems Around the World

In this panel discussion we explore an important tension in the history of neoliberalism and the welfare state. For some, neoliberal marketisation delivers greater social and economic freedoms, yet for those marginalised as ‘social problems’, neoliberalism is just the latest repackaging of racialized social control at the hands of the state. Using case studies from Britain, Australia, Colombia and Eastern Europe, we consider Loïc Wacquant’s centaur state as a potential model for these asymmetrical experiences of neoliberal social policy, placing new practices of discrimination and marginalisation in a longer-term history of the ‘social problem’.