History of the GESI

Leipzig has a strong tradition in the writing and teaching of world history. Karl Lamprecht’s Institut für Kultur- und Universalgeschichte (founded in 1909) acts a point of departure for further institutionalisation throughout most of the 20th century. The ambition, which has been marginalised within the German academic community, depends both on strong ties with neighbouring disciplines such as the area studies, social sciences and cultural studies, and arises from an internationalisation which establishes cooperation with scholars from all over the world.

Since the mid-1990s attempts were made to revitalize this tradition based on critical reflection. The Centre for Advanced Studies, established in 1994, was the appropriate institutional framework for first workshops to connect with colleagues from other countries and to begin with the first seminars for PhD-students. The journal “Comparativ” (founded in 1991) served as an intellectual platform for the formation of an interdisciplinary group of junior and senior scholars who were eager to explore and promote world and global history approaches, and was later on extended by the electronic platform geschichte.transnational (founded in 2004).

The Global and European Studies Institute (GESI) was founded in 2008 as part of the Faculty of Social Sciences and Philosophy on the grounds of a decision of the Rector of the University of Leipzig  to integrate research and teaching around the two international Master Programmes which had been administered at the Centre for Advanced Studies since 2005. In the fall of 2009, the first cohort of students enrolled into the programmes of the new institute. Strong cooperation connects the GESI to extra-University research institutions in Leipzig like the Leibniz Institute for the History and Culture of Eastern Europe and the Institute for Regional Geography, but also to the eleven members of the Erasmus Mundus Global Studies Consortium and other international partners.

The Institute works in close relationship with the Centre for Area Studies at the University of Leipzig and organizes its PhD-programmes under the roof of the Research Academy Leipzig.