The Graduate School builds on a twenty-year tradition of interaction between spatial and historical, social and cultural sciences in the structured training of doctoral students. The Graduate School has an average of 120 members from more than 40 countries. Every year, about 20 doctoral students begin their dissertation projects at GSGAS and a similar number successfully complete their doctorates each year. A training programme consisting of interdisciplinary research seminars, colloquia and working groups as well as summer and winter schools accompanies the dissertation research.
Globalisation has become a buzzword in political communication. In many discourses it appears as a drastic cause of today's processes and conflicts. Our starting point is different: global interdependencies have as long a history as societies' reactions to profitability or feared losses of sovereignty have far-reaching historical roots. It is worthwhile to examine the different historical forms of these interconnections and how they have been dealt with.
Global flows of people, goods, ideas, capital etc. challenge existing formats of social self-organisation and territorialisation around the nation state. However, they do not lead to a completely borderless and flat world. On the contrary, we keep observing processes of re-territorialisation, but not necessarily the defence of their historical forms, but an innovative search for new regimes of territorialisation - hence the interest in the differences between empire and nation or between nationalisation and transnationalisation, and in the role of regionalisations (within and beyond the level of nation-states) or of networks across continents and oceans.
While de- and reterritorialisation are ongoing dialectical processes determined by the various global flows on the one hand and the search for ways to control them, to restore sovereignty, on the other, there are historical moments when conflicts over new spatial frameworks of social interaction and integration taking place in very different places actually coincide. These critical moments of globalisation are of particular interest to the Graduate School.