Young-Sun Hong

Associate Professor (Ph.D., University of Michigan, 1989)

Posts by Young-Sun Hong

HIS 653 — Transnationalizing History/Historicizing the Global

By now, it has become widely accepted that History (with a capital H) was deeply implicated in naturalizing the territorially delimited nation-state as one of the fundamental categories of historical analysis and narration. This recognition of the radical historicity of their own disciplinary knowledge is leading many historians to take the “transnational turn.” Despite the rapid spread of transnational studies, however, the theoretical thrust and the political valences of the concept still remain imprecise.

Furthermore, so many of the works which march under this banner do so with little or no critical analysis of race, gender, and sexuality. This seminar will explore how ideas on gender, race, and class helped structure global flows of peoples, ideas, and goods and legitimize the unequal power relations that they embodied. In this seminar, we will also discuss how the state serves as a “surface of articulation” between the global and the national. In the end, we will all learn that transnational perspective affects historical narratives and the making of alternative possibilities. The ultimate goal of this seminar is to reflect on strengths, the weaknesses, and future directions of the current transnational turn.

The first half of the seminar will be devoted to reading and discussing recent scholarly literature in the field in order to help students define the parameters and guiding questions for their own research (Readings include selections from: Postcolonial Disorders; Christopher A. Bayly, The Birth of the Modern World; Matthew P. Guterl, American Mediterranean; T. Ballantyne/A. Burton (eds.), Bodies in Contact; Étienne Balibar on transnational citizenship; Geoff Eley, “Historicizing the Global”; S. Conrad/D. Sachsenmai (eds.), Competing Visions of World Oder: Global Moments and Movements). Students are expected to submit a research paper (20-25 pages).

Curriculum Vitae
SBS N-311
Research Interests
A native of Korea, I am a specialist in modern Germany with an emphasis on transnationalism, decolonization and the North-South divide, transnational feminist studies, and critical race theory.

I am currently working on a book manuscript entitled The Third World in the Two Germanys. Development, Migration, and the Global Cold War. Global health represents a major node of the transnational linkages of peoples and cultures of the newly independent Afro-Asian countries, West Germany and East Germany during this period, and in this book, I explore the theoretical framework and methodological issues of transnationalism by placing post-1945 German history in the context of the Cold War, decolonization, and South-North migration.

My first book was part of an ongoing debate over German modernity, and in 2005 I followed this up with an article in Social History, which addressed the question of the extent to which Nazi Germany could be described as a ‘welfare’ state.

My teaching interests are broad and interdisciplinary. Over the past ten years, I have taught courses on transnationalism, Europe and the global South, and gender and race in the European metropolis.

In 2006-7 I was a member of the program committee of the German Studies Association. In recent years I have been a fellow at the Harvard University Center for European Studies and the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, DC.  I have also received several fellowships from major organizations, including the German Marshall Fund, the SSRC, and the German Academic Exchange Service. I have also served on the selection committees of the American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS), the SSRC, and the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) as well as on the prize committee for the Conference Group for the Central European History.
Scholarly Works
Welfare, Modernity and the Weimar State, 1919-1933 (Princeton University Press, 1998).

"Entwicklungsutopien und globale Identitäten," in Hubertus Büschel and Daniel Speich, eds., Globalgeschichte der Entwicklungszusammenarbeit (Frankfurt, 2009).

"'The Benefits of Health Must Spread Among All'. International Solidarity, Health, and Race in the East German Encounter with the Third World," Katherine Pence and Paul Betts, eds., Socialist Modern. East German Everyday Culture and Politics (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2008), pp. 183-210.

“Kalter Krieg in der Ferne. Dekolonisierung, Hygienediskurse und der Kampf der DDR und der USA um die Dritte Welt" (Cold War Away from Home: Decolonization, Hygienic Discourse and the Culture War between East Germany and the United States for the Hearts and Minds of the Third World)” in Uta Balbier and Christiane Rösch, eds., Umworbener Klassenfeind. Das Verhältnis der DDR zu den USA (Berlin: Ch. Links, 2006), pp. 77-95.

“Neither Singular Nor Alternative: Narratives of Modernity and Welfare in Germany, 1870-1945,” Social History 30:2 (May 2005), pp. 133-153.

“The Challenge of Transnational History”H-German Forum on Transnationalism (January 2006).

“Cigarette Butts and the Building of Socialism in East Germany,” Central European History 35:3 (October, 2002), pp. 327-44.