MITRA4300 – Global Encounters 1850 - 2010 - Transnational Movements of People, Ideas and Commodities

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Course content

MITRA4300 – Global Encounters 1850 - 2010 - Transnational Movements of People, Ideas and Commodities starts from the premise that there is no global history that is not also economic history. While a well-known feature of pre-modern societies, the exchange of goods, people, and ideas greatly accelerated and multiplied over the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, though with periods of stagnation and retreat. We now distinguish between a ‘first globalisation’ era in the age of imperialism on the one hand and a second wave which set in after World War II. However, these are only rough markers: different parts of the world did not experience the same patterns and dynamics while segmentation and tighter border controls have been simultaneous developments in many parts for the world.

The course focuses on these nonlinear dynamics and investigates the intersection of the movement of goods, people, and ideas: it thus spans business and trade history, migration and labour history, consumption and the global circulation of economic ideas. And given that all global history is local the course will illustrate large trends by drawing on precise examples.

The course is divided into three major blocks: (A) people and migration, (B) companies and commodities, and (C) ideas. Block A will follow the shifting waves of migration – seasonal, labour, exile – first out of Europe and then back, but will also investigate very different phenomena such as tourism. Block B sets out to delineate how today’s global division of resources, labour, and riches has emerged over the course of the past 200 years, deeply entangled with great power politics, and has led to a situation in which social and economic standards differ vastly while at the same time consumerism has increasingly shed national particularities. Block C shall discuss the evolution and dissemination of important economic theories which have shaped the way national economies as well as global markets have been run, e.g. free trade, Malthusianism, the growth paradigm, or ecological concerns.

Learning outcome

After you have taken this course you are expected to:

  • have a profound understanding of  the multitude of border-crossing movements of people, ideas and commodities during the 19th and 20th century
  • be able to make judgments on the specific weight of globalization and segmentation shaping transnational movements in various historical settings and areas.
  • apply the knowledge acquired and the methodological framework of transnational history to concrete examples


Students who are admitted to study programmes at UiO must each semester register which courses and exams they wish to sign up for in Studentweb.

If you are not already enrolled as a student at UiO, please see our information about admission requirements and procedures.

The course is available to all students accepted to Modern International and Transnational History (master's two years). Exchange student and students enrolled in other Master's Degree Programmes can, on application, be admitted to the course if this is cleared by their own study programme. HFM2-MITRA students will be prioritized.


Recommended previous knowledge

A good ability to read and understand English is required for this course.


Teaching will be a combination of lectures and seminar teaching.

Compulsory assignment: Participants shall write an obligatory exposé (1 to 1,5 pages) on a topic of their choosing but within the framework of the course, to be submitted by the penultimate week of the course. If accepted – subject to possible revision – this will qualify for the final examination. More information will be given in class.

This is how you apply for a valid absence from compulsory activities/compulsory attendance

Resources and information in this course will be given in Canvas.


The final examination will take the form of a term paper:

  • 5,000-6,000 words (approx. 10-12 pages).
  • based on the exposé, students will choose their topic and research question with the help of the lecturer.
  • the file must be submitted in pdf-format and we stress that the student is responsible for making sure that the files are readable. If you need assistance in converting your file into pdf, we recommend that you follow these instructions.

Submit assignments in Inspera

You submit your assignment in the digital examination system Inspera. Read about how to submit assignments in Inspera.

Use of sources and citation

You should familiarize yourself with the rules that apply to the use of sources and citations. If you violate the rules, you may be suspected of cheating/attempted cheating.

Language of examination

The examination text is given in English, and you submit your response in English.

Grading scale

Grades are awarded on a scale from A to F, where A is the best grade and F is a fail. Read more about the grading system.

Explanations and appeals

Resit an examination

Special examination arrangements

Application form, deadline and requirements for special examination arrangements.


The course is subject to continuous evaluation. At regular intervals we also ask students to participate in a more comprehensive evaluation.

Facts about this course






Every spring

This course will be taught for the first time in the spring semester 2018 and then every spring semester onwards.


Every spring

The first exam for this course will be held in the spring semester 2018 and then every spring semester onwards.

Teaching language