29514 - Global History: Public Sphere and Mass Media (1) (LM)

Academic Year 2023/2024

  • Teaching Mode: Traditional lectures
  • Campus: Bologna
  • Corso: Second cycle degree programme (LM) in History and Oriental Studies (cod. 8845)

Learning outcomes

At the end of the course, students will be able to use the acquired conceptual and theoretical tools to build adequate analytical frames and approach specific historical subjects. Particularly, students will master theories and methodological approaches concerning the shape and changes of public spheres in contemporary history. Thanks to the knowledge of the national and international historiography, students will be able to manage on their own further historical research on a specific topic. At the end of the two modules of the course, they will be aware of the methodological orientations prevailing in the global history, particularly with regard to economic matters, material cultures, environmental changes and changes in the public sphere. This will allow them to be critical towards the information, the texts and data and their historiographic relevance.

Course contents

Building relationships and public spheres through solidarity: transnational and global dimensions

The course (module I of the integrated course in Global History)  will introduce and analyse the weight of solidarity in the building of transnational as well as global public spheres. It will begin with the setting of a theoretical frame, considerations on the use of solidarity as a political concept, and the category of public sphere with regard to the XIX and XX centuries. 

We will follow a chronological red thread starting with first conscious experiences of building international solidarity networks, so as to enlighten forms and practices of the transnational circulation of peoples, ideas and discourses.

The programme is articulated in 5 weeks, each of them will focus on specific topics.

Week 1: Building the analytical frame: introduction to key concepts and analytical categories of the programme: Global history, public sphere, solidarity. Debate: Workers solidarity as a historical paradigm?

Week 2:The transnational agency of women: women solidarity networks for citizenship rights and peace in the long 20th century. 

Week 3:Socialist solidarity in Eastern Europe, with a particular focus on the GDR; politicies of socialist solidarity carried out by western left-wing parties.

 Week 4: Third worldist solidarity: emergence, features, issues and effects with regard to African decolonization conflicts and the Vietnam War.

Week 5: Latin America as a laboratory for global solidarity practices and discourses: from the Tricontinental Conference to the Zapatist movement.  

At the beginning of the course there will be organized presentations of readings uploaded on Virtuale (“teaching materials”). The texts will be presented either individually or in small groups accordingly to the effective number of attendind students. 




The books listed below are references for topics tackled in class. They can serve as starting readings for the preparation of the final paper.

On themes concernig methodological approaches and concepts:

Marek Tamm, Peter Burke (eds.), Debating new approaches to history, London, Bloomsbury 2019;

Sebastian Conrad, Storia globale : un'introduzione, Roma: Carocci, 2015;

Stefan-L. Hoffmann, Civil Society 1750-1914, Palgrave New York 2006;

J. Habermas, Storia e critica dell'opinione pubblica, 3. ed
Roma-Bari, Laterza 2008;

Craig Calhoun (ed), Habermas and the public sphere, The Mit Press, Cambridge 1992;

Marica Tolomelli, Sfera pubblica e comunicazioni di massa, Bologna, Archetipo 2006;

Stefan Berger, Holger Nehring (eds.), The history of social movements in global perspective. A survey, London, Palgrave 2017.

On the subject solidarity:

Steinar Stjerno, Solidarity in Europe: the history of an idea, Cambridge: Cambridge university press, 2005;

David Featherstone, Solidarity. Hidden Histories and Geographies of Internationalism, London: Zed Books, 2012;

Stefano Rodotà, Solidarietà. Un'utopia necessaria, Roma-Bari: Laterza 2014;

Mariuccia Salvati, Solidarietà. Con testi di M. Flores, W. Goldkorn, Roma, Treccani 2023;

"Parolechiave", n. 1, 1993, numero monografico dedicato alla parola Solidarietà;

Oliver Janz, Daniel Schönpflug (eds.), Gender history in a transnational perspective. Biographies, networks, gender orders, Berghahn Books, 2014

Francisca De Haan et al., Women's Activism: Global Perspectives from the 1890s to the Present, London, Taylor & Francis 2013

Catia Cecilia Confortini, Intelligent compassion: The Women's International League for Peace and Freedom and feminist peace, Oxford University Press, 2012;

Elda Guerra, Il dilemma della pace : femministe e pacifiste sulla scena internazionale, 1914-1939, Roma, Viella, 2014

Burton, Eric, Dietrich, Anne, R. Harisch, Immanuel and C. Schenck, Marcia. Navigating Socialist Encounters: Moorings and (Dis)Entanglements between Africa and East Germany during the Cold War, Berlin, Boston: De Gruyter Oldenbourg, 2021;

N. Karagiannis, Multiple Solidarities. Autonomy and Resistance, in Varieties of world-making : beyond globalization, edited by Nathalie Karagiannis and Peter Wagner, Liverpool, Liverpool University Press, 2007, p. 154-72.

O. A, Westad, The Global Cold War. Third World Interventions and the Making of our Times, Cambridge university press, Cambridge 2007

Q. Slobodian (ed.), Comarades of Color. East Germany in the Cold War world, Berghahn, New York 2015

Quinn Slobodian, Foreign front : Third World politics in sixties West Germany, Durham: Duke university press, 2012;

Christoph Kalter, The discovery of the Third World. Decolonization and the rise of the New Left in France,1950-1976, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press 2016

Kristin Ross, May '68 and its afterlives, The University of Chicago press, 2002

Jeffrey J. Byrne, Mecca of revolution: Algeria, decolonization, and the Third World order, New York, Oxford University Press 2016

Samantha Christiansen, Zachary A. Scarlett (eds.), The Third World in the global 1960s, New York, Berghahn Books, 2015;

Jocelyn Olcott, International womens year : the greatest consciousness-raising event in history, New York: Oxford University Press, 2017;

Thomas Borstelmann, The 1970s. A new global history from civil rights to economic inequality, Princeton University Press, Princeton 2011

Carmelo Mario Lanzafame, Carlo Podaliri, La stagione della solidarietà sanitaria a Reggio Emilia: Mozambico 1963-1977, Torino, L'harmattan Italia, 2004;

Giancarlo Monina (cur.), Novecento contemporaneo. Studi su Lelio Basso, con la guida alle fonti per lo studio dei comitati di solidarietà democratica, Roma: Ediesse, 2009

Benedetta Calandra, L'America della solidarietà : l'accoglienza dei rifugiati cileni e argentini negli Stati Uniti, 1973-1983, Roma, Nuova cultura, 2006

Elena Apostoli Cappello, Tutti siamo indigeni! Giochi di specchi tra Europa e Chiapas, Padova, CLEUP, 2013

Alex Khasnabish, Zapatismo beyond borders. New imaginations of political possibility, University of Toronto Press, 2008

Teaching methods

For the preparation of class discussions the texts will be uploaded on the "didactic materials" related to teaching.The course includes lectures alternating with debates in which active participation of students is required. Some readings to be discussed in class will be assigned in the first week of lessons. 

For the preparation of class discussions the texts will be uploaded on the "didactic materials" related to course.


Assessment methods

Students who attend at least 75% of the lessons are considered to be attending.

Attending students are asked to produce a written paper on a theme pertaining to one of the two modules, to be agreed with the teacher of the respective module. For a 12-credit-essay it is required a length of about 7.500 words.

The paper will be evaluated both in terms formal aspects of presentation and articulation of the work, clarity of exposition,  accuracy in the use of historiographic concepts and categories, and in terms of the ability of critical elaboration of the bibliographic material used and its coherence in relation to the subject of the paper. In the evaluation of attending students, systematic and active participation in class will also be taken into account.


In addition to the final paper, not-attending students must take a written exam - valid for both the two modules of the integrated course - on the following books:

Sebastian Conrad, Storia Globale. Un'introduzione, Carocci, Roma 2015. 

Christophe Bonneuil, Jean-Baptiste Fressoz, La terra, la storia e noi. L'evento antropocene, Roma, Treccani, 2019

The exam, to be done in 90 minuts, will consist of open question, three for each book. 

The overall grade of the first module for not-attending students will be the average obtained between the written exam and the final paper (to be agreed with one of the two teachers of the integrated course).

With regard to the outlined criteria the evalution will result from following assessment scale:

  • Excellent (30 cum laude)
  • Very Good (28-30)
  • Good (25-27)
  • Satisfactory (22-24)
  • Sufficient (18-21)

This 6 CFU course can be chosen as a part of the 12 CFU Integrate course "Profili di storia globale (C.I.) (LM)". If the student has the Integrated Course (12 CFU) in his/her study plan, the final grade will result from the arithmetic average of the marks obtained in the two parts (“Global history: Public sphere and mass communication (1) (LM)" and “Global history: Economics, Environment, Society (1) (LM) “).

Teaching tools

The weekly readings will be made available on the "Teaching materials" related to teaching. Knowledge of English is desirable as some of the readings will be in English.

Office hours

See the website of Marica Tolomelli


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This teaching activity contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.