DFG Research Training Group "Critical Junctures of Globalization"

doctoral students presenting their research

With this central research concept– as based upon the description, explanation and classification of ‘critical junctures of globalization’ – the postgraduate programme adopts innovations in the areas of global historiography and new political geography, while refraining from privileging the analysis of a single world region. The structure of the programme is interdisciplinary as highlighted by its incorporation of social sciences, cultural studies, history, as well as area studies.

seminar break

With regards to critical junctures of globalization, they are understood to be the social arenas and historical moments in which, through globalization processes, spatial orders (or ‘regimes of territorialisation’) are being negotiated, transformed or created anew. Coupled with the processes of deterritorialization – which are prominently covered by analyses of recent observations on cross-border migration, communication and economic interdependence – are the processes of reterritorialization. In this way, it is possible to better comprehend how under conditions of globalization, throughout preceding eras and up until today, control was achieved and power was exercised over accelerated movements of people and ideas.

after the evaluation of the GK in summer 2010


While renegotiations of spatial orders can give rise to local or regional consequences, they can also be synchronized with global crises. The programme, accordingly, intends to focus during its second research phase (2011-2015) particularly on these interdependencies between critical junctures. In this second phase, we want to explain and determine the critical junctures of globalization as a key analytical category of comparative, historicizing and reflexive approach to the study of globalization. In doing so, we want to focus on those critical junctures in which spatial orders have been or are being globally synchronized. Our research programme will be developed further in three areas in particular: Firstly – and with a focus on globally synchronized critical junctures, which are of worldwide relevance – we intend to analyze spatial orders and their path-dependencies in diachronic comparisons. Secondly, we will analyze arenas of contact and compression of globalization in terms of ‘portals of globalization’, and ask how these portals contribute and, where applicable, accelerate processes of globalization. And thirdly we plan to analyze in greater detail the strategies collective actors employ in processes of de- and reterritorialization with the aim to re-establish or increase their sovereignty.

An established interdisciplinary composition of the group of applicants ensures a research programme that is focused upon comparative approaches and the analyses of transregional interdependence. The research period under review stretches from the end of the 18th century to the present, while including world regions throughout Western and Eastern Europe, the Americas, the Middle East, South and East Asia as well as sub-Saharan Africa.

Embedded into an intertwined network of international cooperation – and supported by a modularized study programme, an international guest researcher programme as well as interdisciplinary co-supervision and working groups – the programme provides an exceptional opportunity for excellent PhD students to compose an innovative dissertation in an extremely dynamic research field of great social relevance.

The postgraduate programme is located at the Centre for Area Studies (CAS) at the Universität Leipzig where it offers further opportunities for cooperation with the research projects constituting the CAS research programme ‘Cultural Encounters and Political Order in a Global Age’.