Launch of the Transimperial History Podcast

History may be grounded in the past, but it is always evolving and changing as new perspectives, research, and discoveries emerge. Events are never set in stone, and as time passes, historians continually re-evaluate and re-interpret the past, shedding new light on events that were once shrouded in mystery. While history is rooted in the past, it is also forward-looking, providing valuable insights into how we can navigate the present and future.

In this series host David Motzafi-Haller and his colleagues discuss the meaning and evolution of trans imperial history, as well as its significance in pushing the boundaries of scholarship on empire and colonialism. Leading scholars in the field share their insights and perspectives on the key challenges and opportunities of trans imperial history today and its future prospects.

Produced by Michelle Olguin-Flückliger and David Motzafi-Haller, the Transimperial History Podcast’s first episode can be accessed through the Pierre Du Bois foundation website or the International History and Politics department’s website. The podcast provides an excellent opportunity to gain insights into the history of empires and their interconnectedness.


Episode 1: Introducing Transimperial History David Motzafi-Haller and Professor Cyrus Schayegh

The transimperial history podcast’s first episode overviews the field of transimperial history. PhD Candidate David Motzafi-Haller talks to Professor Cyrus Schayegh about the evolution, the future and the central characteristics of transimperial history.

Join us as we discuss the nuts and bolts of writing transimperial history, the persistence of container thinking in historiography, how racial and class lines go across empires, and whether transimperial history is a fad.

The three reading recommendations by Professor Schayegh are:

  1. Véronique Dimier, Le gouvernement des colonies, regards croisés franco-britannique, Bruxelles, Éditions de l’Université de Bruxelles, coll. « Sociologie politique », 2004, 288 p.
  2. Ulrike Lindner, Koloniale Begegnungen: Deutschland und Großbritannien als Imperialmächte in Afrika 1880-1914, Frankfurt/New York, Campus Verlag GmbH, 2011, 529 p.
  3. Daniel Hedinger and Nadin Heé, “Transimperial History – Connectivity, Cooperation and Competition”, Journal of Modern European History 16(4): 2018: 429-452.


Episode 2: Practising Transnational History Anshul Verma and Professor Harald Fischer Tiné

In the transimperial history podcast’s second episode, PhD Candidate Anshul Verma talks to Professor Harald Fischer Tiné from ETH Zurich about how the way transimperial networks of scientists have shaped the way colonialism was practised on the ground, when not to use a transimperial framework, and how to retain a balance between agency and structure.

Join us as we discuss the approaches to, and the limits of, practising transimperial history, and ask what exactly the YMCA and the Boy Scouts were doing in the heart of rural India in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Professor Fischer Tiné’s recent works include:

  1. Harald Fischer Tiné, Stefan Huebner and Ian Tyrrell, editors. The Rise and Growth of a Global “Moral Empire”: The YMCA and YWCA during the Late Nineteenth and Early Twentieth Centuries. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 2021.
  2. Harald Fischer Tiné, editor. Anxieties, Fear and Panic in Colonial Settings: Empires on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2017.
  3. Harald Fischer Tiné, ‘Low and Licentious Europeans’: Race, Class and White Subalternity in Colonial India. New Delhi: Orient Longman, 2009.


Episode 3: Placing Transnational History Atiya Hussein and Professor Nile Green

In the transimperial history podcast’s third episode,  PhD Candidate Atiya Hussein talks to Professor Nile Green from UCLA about Mumbai as a transimperial cradle of Muslim modernity. What kinds of diasporas are made and remade across empires? Who makes a place transimperial? And how does the transimperial framework shape language?

Join us as we discuss the role Mumbai played in a religious marketplace that spanned the Indian Ocean. We debate how supply and demand form the cradle of modernity and how these were not only economic, but also religious and social terms. *

Professor Green’s recent works include:

  1. Nile Green, How Asia Found Herself: A story of Intercultural Understanding. New Haven, CT: University of Yale Press, 2022. 472p.
  2. Nile Green, The Love of Strangers: What six Muslim Students learned in Jane Austen’s London. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2016. 416p.
  3. Nile Green, Sufism: A Global History. Hoboken, NJ: WIley-Blackwell, 2012. 288p.



Episode 4: Tracing Transimperial History Shijie Zhang and Professor Martin Dusinberre


In the transimperial history podcast’s fourth episode, MA Student Shijie Zhangtalks to Professor Martin Dusinberre from The University of Zurich about the creation of a Japanese diaspora under Meiji Japan and its spread across the pacific .

Join us as we discuss the spaces in between home and abroad and how ships encapsulate transimperial worlds. We talk about how to read an archive globally and how historians can react creatively to changes in their lives and careers, and the serendipity of research itineraries.


Professor Dusinberre’’s recent works include:

  1. Martin Dusinberre, Mooring the Global Archive: A Japanese Ship and its Migrant Histories. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2023.
  2. Martin Dusinberre, “J. R. Seeley and Japan’s Pacific Expansion”, The Historical Journal 64(1) (2021): 70-97.
  3. Martin Dusinberre and Ronald Wenzlhuemer, editors. “Being in Transit: ships and global incompatibilities”, Journal of Global History (Special issue) 11(2) (2016).