Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Social and Economic History

Globalisation as a Historical Process

Research Group "Globalisation as a Historical Process".

Agricultural Markets, World Food Affairs and Transnational Politics in the 20th Century



This research group, founded in 2004, examines globalisation as a long-ranging historical process.

Our research centers, firstly, on the development of global markets in the 19th and 20th, which is examined through different case studies. Along with the study of institutional formation (trade system, corporations), our research focuses on the consequences of the development of global markets in terms of income, consumption and (national) politics.

Secondly, our research group studies the formation of global knowledge systems. The scientification of food and hunger in the late 19th century can only be understood against the backdrop of such transnational processes.

Thirdly, our research group examines the numerous and diverse efforts to politically control and direct the process of globalisation by means of international rules and organisations.  The group is conducting a comprehensive investigation into forms of global governance established after 1945 in international Agricultural and Development Politics. Within this framework, we are analysing the opportunities - but also  the limits and immanent conflicts - of global systems of governance through a historical perspective.


Our project pursues an interdisciplinary approach and combines the methods of the economic, social and political sciences with historical questions. We thereby aim to contribute a deeper historical background to the ongoing debate about globalisation, which is strongly focused on current developments.