Transcultural Connections


We study the history of transcultural encounters and transnational cultural exchange. Our work focuses on the experiences, ideas, practices, and politics of such encounters from the seventeenth century to today. Focusing on internationalism, colonialism, race, empire and Americanization, it includes studies of performances of the Marseillaise across the Atlantic world, Josephine Baker’s danse sauvage in European metropoles and the global circulation of photographs of Phan Thị Kim Phúc (the ‘napalm girl’).

We draw on methods and approaches including discourse analysis, postcolonial theory and memory studies, applying them to sources like newspapers, material culture, films and architecture. Much of our work examines the circulation of people, goods and ideas and their reverberations in an increasingly globalizing world. At a time when questions of diversity and identity are at the forefront of public discussions, we unearth the historical roots of these debates.


(A Selection of) Transcultural Connections Research Projects:

  • Richard Calis explores how notions of cultural and religious difference were brokered between early modern Europe and the Middle East. See his staff page.
  • Rachel Gillett is leading a consortium of academic research institutions and diverse community-based organisations to investigate links between Dutch identity and Europe, including postcolonial and transatlantic connections. See Major research project seeks more inclusive continent.
  • Rutger van der Hoeven researches the global recognition and ‘reading’ of iconic photographs. See Research on global visual memory.
  • Flora Roberts uses Uzbek and Tajik written and oral sources alongside Russian archival documents in research on the environmental history of a transboundary river in the Soviet Union’s cotton belt. See her staff page.
  • Britta Schilling analyses colonial homes in sub-Saharan Africa as transcultural ‘contact zones’. See her staff page.