Transnationalising the Humanities

The UCD Humanities Institute led research strand in partnership with the College of Arts & Humanities

We live in an entangled world in which the local, regional, national and global are interconnected through intricate networks and loops of exchange. The analysis of the multidirectional movement of people, languages, ideas, knowledge, and things requires innovative methodological perspectives that are capable of capturing all kinds of spatial and temporal practices. Transnationalism is often associated with an emancipatory politics of resistance as manifest in hybrid or creolized communities which often engender forms of agency that “deterritorialize the nation state”. On the other hand, the history of transnational exchange and contact also includes the history of empires, warfare, colonisation, slavery, the global exploitation of natural resources, and climate change. In the light of this intrinsic tension, the research strand on Transnationalising the Humanities explores methodological issues alongside specific case studies of transnational and transcultural practices, both from historical and contemporary perspectives.

The transnational research strand fosters interdisciplinary research in Memory Studies, Translation Studies, Literary Studies, Architectural History, Migration Studies (including language practices and intercultural encounters), War Studies, the Medical Humanities and the Environmental Humanities, which are important research clusters in the College. In 2018 a new Asia-Pacific Research Network was set up to further develop our transnational / transcultural research agenda and reach.

The transnational research strand is led by the UCD Humanities Institute in partnership with the College of Arts & Humanities. Within UCD the Humanities Institute acts as principal hub for interdisciplinary enquiry and discussion in the humanities and between the humanities and other areas of social and scientific research. The UCD Humanities Institute not only catalyzes and sponsors interdisciplinary research locally, but it engages in international partnerships with cognate institutes such as the Institute of Modern Languages Research at the School of Advanced Study, University of London.

Project Leader:Partner Institution
Professor Anne Fuchs The Institute of Modern Languages Research (IMLR)
Director, UCD Humanities Institute School of Advanced Study
+353 1 716 4684 University of London  

Research Outputs

Transnational and Translingual Urban Writing
Workshop Organised Jointly by the University of London’s School of Advanced Study (SAS) and the UCD Humanities Institute
25 June 2018, University of London

The programme can be downloaded here.

Exploring the Transnational Neighbourhood: Integration, Community, and Co-Habitation
An international and interdisciplinary conference of the UCD Humanities Institute, in collaboration with the Institute of Modern Languages Research, School of Advanced Study, University of London.
25-26 September 2019, UCD Humanities Institute

The programme can be viewed here.

There are plans to publish a peer-reviewed coedited volume with a University Press.

Transnationalising the Humanities: Research Perspectives, Approaches and Methodologies 
Two-day symposium (webinar)
Keynote speaker: Professor Rebecca Braun (Lancaster University): "When is the Nation and Where is the Human? Four Provocations"
17 & 18 June 2020

The programme can be viewed here. Podcasts can be found here.

Videos from the webinar

Keynote (Rebecca Braun)

Panel 1

Panel 2

Panel 3

PhD Panel

Theorizing Crisis Imaginaries

UCD Humanities Institute and IMLR (SAS, University of London) Joint Research Workshop
Format: Virtual
Date: 24 November 2020

One of the most used adverbs to describe the ongoing Covid-19 crisis is ‘unprecedented’: the global spread of the infection, the absence of a vaccine, gloomy forecasts about the long-term economic impacts, and the frenzied mediatization of Covid-19 news stories have produced a crisis imaginary that permeates daily life. Like many other crises, the Covid-19 crisis has disrupted our habitual realities: the highly infectious virus has travelled across regional and national boundaries, crossing continents to create a transnational “mega event” disrupting economic activity, education, cultural life, and everyday social interactions.

Using the idea of a “crisis imaginaries” as a springboard, our workshop investigates the conceptual dimensions of crises from interlocking and interdisciplinary perspectives. 

The programme is available HERE

The podcast of this event is available HERE.


Recent events:

Date: Wednesday, 27th October 2021 

Workshop with Professor Marek Tamm (Prof. of Cultural History, Tallinn University)

"Historical Futures: Apprehending the Past and Anticipating the Future"

In recent times the future has begun to appear simultaneously as bright and cataclysmic. On the one hand, there are the positively stated endeavours (overcoming our biological limitations, opening a new space age; engineering the Earth system; advancing artificial intelligence, etc.). On the other, often the very same endeavors are perceived as launching potentially catastrophic futures as underlined by the unfolding climate crisis. In developing an understanding of future prospects, the question of history is of utmost relevance. It was only with the birth of the modern idea of history and temporalization (Koselleck) that the future appeared as distinct from the past and the present. Today, however, the future looks different to an extent that was simply unimaginable in the modern period. The radical alterity of future prospects poses many questions and gives rise to competing interpretations. Against the backdrop of the emergence of new futures, we propose to introduce a new concept of “historical futures.” Together with Zoltán Boldizsár Simon (University of Bielefeld) and the journal History and Theory we have initiated a collective research endeavor under the label of “historical futures” that examines modalities of historical futures that constitute our current historical condition. For more about the project and its contributions, please see

In connection to this research endeavor, the workshop intends to discuss the various ways in which today’s anticipated futures relate to our apprehensions of the past. All participants are welcome to read before the workshop the opening piece of the “Historical Futures” project, available in open access here:

Marek Tamm is the Professor of Cultural History and senior research fellow at the School of Humanities in Tallinn University. He is also Head of Tallinn University Centre of Excellence in Intercultural Studies and of Estonian Graduate School of Culture Studies and Arts. Graduated in history and semiotics at the University of Tartu (1998), he earned his master degree in medieval studies from the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales in Paris (1999) and his doctorate degree in medieval history from Tallinn University (2009). Author of five books, of some seventy scholarly articles published in Estonian, English and French, and editor of dozen collections of articles.


Online lecture: 11th February 2021, 5pm CET / 4pm GMT

Professor Harald Gaski (UiT The Arctic University of Norway)

Past postcolonialism: Indigenous methodologies as Trans-Indigenous Studies

Over the last few decades Indigenous methodologies have developed into becoming a new and invigorating approach to research on Indigenous topics over a wide range of disciplines. The methodology is built upon Indigenous peoples’ own worldviews and epistemologies, and it takes into account the wisdom passed down through generations in stories and traditional knowledge. One of the matters to further develop is a comparative and trans-Indigenous perspective on the whole field of study, thus representing a new and refreshing global view into research which, so far, has been neglected and overlooked. 

Harald Gaski is a professor in Sámi culture and literature at Sámi allaskuvla / Sámi University of Applied Sciences and guest professor at UiT The Arctic University of Norway. Gaski has published extensively on Sámi culture, literature, art and Indigenous methodologies. His latest edited book, Myths, Tales and Poetry (2020), gathers oral and written Sámi texts from the last four centuries.

Co-hosted by Arctic Voices/UiT The Arctic University of Norway and the Craig Dobbin Visiting Professor, UCD Centre for Canadian Studies.


TNH PhD Network

Transnationalising the Humanities (TNH) PhD Network
We would like to invite doctoral researchers working on topics with a transnational dimension to join the TNH PhD Network. We aim to build a community among postgraduate students and to provide academic support. If you are interested in future events and activities, please reply to with a brief description of your research.

We are delighted to announce that our new blogging site is now live! Please visit


School of Art History and Cultural Policy: Prolet Decheva, Bronwen Gulkis, Zhengfeng Wang
School of Classics: Mike Norris, Mengzhen Yue,
School of English, Drama and Film: Lauren Cassidy, Suchismita Dattagupta
School of Irish, Celtic Studies and Folklore: Fiona Lyons
School of Languages, Literatures and Cultures: Bianca Rita Cataldi, Maika Nguyen
School of Philosophy: Kelly Louise Rexzy Agra

TNH PhD Network meeting schedule (via Zoom):

Q1 meetings:

7th December 2020

10th February 2021

17th February 2021

10th March 2021

12th April 2021

TNH PhD Network - committee report for Q1 2021 available here.

Q2 meetings:

10th May 2021

Next meeting:
5 November 2021



Project Updates

This research theme officially launched at the UCD Humanities Institute on Wednesday 27 November 2019 with a lecture by Mike Jenings, former IFUT General Secretary on Transnationalism and the Labour Movement. A copy of the lecture can be downloaded here.

This collaborative HI/ College of Arts and Humanities research strand is well underway. A first workshop was held on 9 September 2019 where participants gave informal and engaging presentations on the transnational dimension of their research. Two dominant strands emerged: a cluster with a strong focus on the material world including post-war modernist architecture, nomadic dwellings; notions of place and identity in the age of migration; alternative ways of mapping; the crossing of species boundaries/cyborgs; and a second cluster concerned with travelling concepts, the role of language, modes of reception, scenarios of exchange, the role of books in transnational encounters.

The idea of two separate events (one for each cluster) was discussed, however participants feel that it would be more productive to organise one symposium to launch the research theme, focusing on methodological issues. There was widespread agreement to run a first symposium in the next few months on: Defining the Transnational Humanities/ what do we mean by transnationalising the humanities? (working title)

The organising committee lead by Kelly Fitzgerald includes Samantha Martin McAuliffe, Stephan EhrigBettina Migge and Joseph Twist. The committee will discuss an interactive format and possible keynote speakers to spark discussion. An e-mail with further information will be sent out in due course.

Exploring the Transnational Neighbourhood: Integration, Community, and Co-Habitation, a joint HI/ IMLR Interdisciplinary Conference took place at the Humanities Institute on 25-26 September 2019. 30 delegates from over 11 countries spoke – Ireland, UK, Spain, Italy, Netherlands, Germany, US, Israel, Mexico, Russia and the Dominican Republic. It was deemed a huge success and there are plans to publish a peer-reviewed coedited volume with a University Press.

A full list of members can be found here.