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Dr Valeska Huber

Dr. Valeska Huber


Global History

Head of the Emmy Noether Research Group Reaching the People: Communication and Global Orders in the Twentieth Century

Global and International History, History of Migration and Mobility, History of Communication


Koserstraße 20
Raum A 390
14195 Berlin


Please get in touch by email to schedule a time. Meetings will take place via telephone or Webex.

Valeska Huber is head of the Emmy Noether Research Group Reaching the People: Communication and Global Orders in the Twentieth Century funded by the DFG (German Research Foundation). She joined Freie Universität Berlin in October 2017 after working as Research Fellow in Colonial and Global History at the German Historical Institute London and as Assistant Professor at the University of Konstanz. She has undertaken archival research in eight countries, organized numerous conferences and has been invited as a speaker to many academic and non-academic settings.

Valeska Huber’s work has been supported by various scholarships and research grants, among them a student bursary and PhD scholarship of the Studienstiftung des Deutschen Volkes (German Academic Scholarship Foundation) and fellowships at the History Department of Harvard University and at the Kulturwissenschaftliches Kolleg Konstanz. She holds a PhD in Modern History from the University of Konstanz, an MPhil from Cambridge University and a BSc from the London School of Economics and Political Science.

In 2018 she was awarded the Heinz Maier Leibnitz Prize. In 2019 she was elected as member of the Junge Akademie of the Berlin Brandenburgische Akademie der Wissenschaften and the Leopoldina where she is involved in a number of initiatives aimed at communicating research findings to a broader public.

Freie Universität Berlin

Reaching the People: How to Write Global Histories of Communication (co-taught with Lea Börgerding and Sophie-Jung Kim, winter term 2019-2020)

Global History Colloquium (co-convened with Sebastian Conrad since winter term 2018-2019)


From Empire to Independence: The Extra-European World in the Twentieth Century (2014-2015)

International History since 1890 (winner of the Martin Abel Gonzalez Teaching Prize) (2013-2014)


University of Konstanz

Introduction to Historical Methodology (winter term 2009-2010)

European Colonialism 1880-1920 (winter term 2009-2010)

Global Localities: World Fairs in the 19th and 20th Centuries (summer term 2009)

The History of Human Rights (summer term 2009)

European Metropoles in the 19th Century: London, Paris, Berlin (winter term 2008-2009)

The Mediterranean: Boundary or Connection? (winter term 2008-2009)

Europe on the Move: Explorers, Tourists, Emigrants (summer term 2008)

London, Imperial City (interdisciplinary seminar (history and literature) with excursion to London, summer term 2008)

Cities between East and West: Cosmopolitanism and Urban Renewal in the Middle East 1850-1950 (winter term 2007-2008)

The Spatial Turn in History and Literature (interdisciplinary seminar (history and literature), summer term 2006)

A historian of global and international orders with a focus on the Middle East, Valeska Huber is particularly interested in the question of how global connections resulted not only in greater integration but also in new attempts to control and contain movements and flows. Such movements could relate to the migration of people, but also to the spread of disease or the exchange of concepts and ideas. Valeska Huber has published articles on the history of mobility and migration, on epidemics and international health policies and on the history of development and education, which have appeared among others in journals such as the Historical JournalGeschichte und Gesellschaft, the International Journal of Middle Eastern Studies and the Journal of Contemporary History.

Valeska Huber’s first book Channelling Mobilities: Migration and Globalisation in the Suez Canal Region and Beyond 1869-1914 was published by Cambridge University Press in 2013 (paperback 2015, Arabic translation in preparation). Telling the stories of tourists, troops, workers, pilgrims, stowaways, caravans, dhow skippers and others, it reveals that the history of globalisation is not simply a history of acceleration, but instead it was characterised by the channelling of mobilities through the differentiation, regulation and bureaucratisation of movement. Focussing on a specific locality, the Suez Canal, this book shows how global migration regimes were forged and contested in the age of empire.

A further and connected field of interest is that of health and disease control. Tracing the origins of internationalism back to the nineteenth-century international sanitary conferences on cholera and plague, Valeska Huber has shown how both international conferences and the ensuing sanitary control practices were marked by exclusion and the establishment of new sets of boundaries, for instance in relation to Muslim pilgrims on their way to Mecca.

More recently, Valeska Huber has turned to the history of political communication and global orders. She has explored the concept of global publics and their limits in a volume co-edited with Jürgen Osterhammel (Global Publics: Their Power and Their Limits 1870-1990, Oxford University Press, 2020). Looking at the period between the communication revolution of the late nineteenth century and the onset of the digital era, the edited volume sheds light on conceptualisations and practices of global publics in a wide variety of settings, such as international organisations, cultural institutions or world exhibitions. Introducing a new conceptual framework and important case studies, the volume shows how global publics were were constituted, imagined and used for different purposes.

Valeska Huber is currently writing a monograph entitled Populations into Publics: Educating the World in the American Century which deals with US-American educational initiatives in the Middle East and beyond between the 1920s and the 1970s. The book covers a broad set of cases, focusing on elite, progressive and mass education as well as on libraries and radio projects. What these cases had in common was their aim of transforming global populations into political agents and of placing communication at the centre of this transformation. Through its focus on competing communication orders, the book provides a new lens in thinking about population, self-determination and global democracy in the twentieth century.

A further book project which is in its early stages investigates global languages (and particularly global English) and their inclusionary and exclusionary effects in the second half of the twentieth century and beyond.


Channelling Mobilities: Migration and Globalisation in the Suez Canal Region and Beyond, 1869-1914 (Cambridge University Press, 2013, paperback 2015).


Edited Volumes

With Jürgen Osterhammel (eds.), Global Publics: Their Power and Their Limits (Oxford University Press, 2020).

Edited Journals

Dossier on Cosmopolitanism and Empire in the Nineteenth Century, Humanity: An International Journal of Human Rights, Humanitarianism, and Development, 12/1 (2021).

Special Section Journal of Contemporary History: Social Planning in Late Colonial and Postcolonial Societies, 52/1 (2017).

German Historical Institute London Bulletin (Coordinating Editor 2011-2015).


Journal Articles

With Jan C. Jansen, "Dealing with Difference: Cosmopolitanism in the Nineteenth-Century World of Empires." in: Humanity: An International Journal of Human Rights, Humanitarianism, and Development 12/1 (2021), pp. 39-46. 

"Pandemics and the Politics of Difference: Rewriting the History of Internationalism through Nineteenth-Century Cholera", in: Journal of Global History 15/2 (2020), pp. 394-407.

With Tamson Pietsch and Katharina Rietzler, "Women's International Thought and the New Professions, 1900–1940", in: Modern Intellectual History 18/1 (2019), pp.121-145. For a review of this article see here.

“Global Histories of Social Planning”, in: Journal of Contemporary History 52/1 (2017), pp. 3-15.

“Planning Education and Manpower in the Middle East, 1950s-60s”, in: Journal of Contemporary History 52/1 (2017), pp. 95-117.

“Multiple Mobilites, Multiple Sovereignties, Multiple Speeds: Exploring Maritime Connections in the Age of Empire”, in: International Journal of Middle Eastern Studies 48/4 (2016), pp. 763-766.

“International Agendas and Local Manifestations: Universities in Cairo, Beirut and Jerusalem after World War I”, in: Prospects: Quarterly Review of Comparative Education (2015), pp. 77-93.

“Connecting Colonial Seas: The ‘International Colonisation’ of Port Said and the Suez Canal during and after the First World War”, in: European Review of History – Revue européenne d’histoire 19/1 (2012), pp. 141-161.

“Multiple Mobilities: Über den Umgang mit verschiedenen Mobilitätsformen um 1900”, in: Geschichte und Gesellschaft 36 (2010), pp. 317-341.

“The Unification of the Globe by Disease? The International Sanitary Conferences on Cholera, 1851-1894”, in: Historical Journal 49/2 (2006), pp. 453-476.


Articles in Edited Volumes

"An International Language for All: Basic English and the Limits of a Global Communication Experiment", in: David Brydan and Jessica Reinisch (eds.), Internationalists and Europe: Rethinking the Twentieth Century (London: Bloomsbury, 2021), pp. 51-67.

“1869: Un canal entre Orient et Occident”, in: Patrick Boucheron et al. (eds.), Histoire mondiale de la France (Paris: Seuil, 2017), pp. 507-511 [English translation: 1869: The Inauguration of the Suez Canal in: Patrick Boucheron et al. (eds.), France in the World: A New Global History (New York: Other Press, 2019), pp. 584-588].

“International Bodies: The Pilgrimage to Mecca and the Emergence of International Health Regulations”, in: Eric Tagliacozzo and Shawkat Toorawa (eds.), The Hajj: Pilgrimage in Islam (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2015), pp. 175-195.

“Les universités du Caire, de Beyrouth and de Jérusalem après la Première Guerre Mondiale: politiques internationals et manifestations locales“, in: Joelle Droux and Rita Hofstetter (eds.), Globalisation des mondes de l’éducation: Circulation, connexions, refractions XIXe siècles (Presses universitaires de Rennes, 2015), pp. 233-257. [Translation of: International Agendas and Local Manifestations: Universities in Cairo, Beirut and Jerusalem after World War I, in: Prospects: Quarterly Journal of Comparative Education 45 (2015), pp. 77-93.]

“Education and Mobility: Universities in Cairo between Competition and Standardization 1900-1950”, in: Liat Kozma, Avner Wishnitzer and Cyrus Schayegh (eds.), A Global Middle East: Mobility, Materiality and Culture in the Modern Age, 1880-1940 (London: IB Tauris, 2015), pp. 81-108.

“Eine Sprache für alle: Basic English und die Grenzen der Globalgeschichte”, in: Boris Barth, Stefanie Gänger, and Niels P. Petersson (eds.), Globalgeschichten: Bestandsaufnahme und Perspektiven (Frankfurt/Main: Campus, 2014), pp. 175-204.

“Pässe, Papiere, Konsulate: Medien und Orte der Identifikation”, in: Jörg Dünne and Kirsten Kramer (eds.), Weltnetzwerke – Weltspiele: Jules Vernes In 80 Tagen um die Welt (Konstanz: Konstanz University Press, 2013), pp. 57-60.

With Michael C. Frank, “Raumfiktionen: Kartographie und Literatur um 1900”, in: Michael Neumann and Kerstin Stüssel (eds.), Magie der Geschichten: Weltverkehr, Literatur und Anthropologie in der zweiten Hälfte des 19. Jahrhunderts (Konstanz: Konstanz University Press, 2011), pp. 239-263.

“Highway of the British Empire? The Suez Canal between Imperial Competition and Local Accommodation”, in: Jörn Leonhard and Ulrike von Hirschhausen (eds.), Comparing Empires: Encounters and Transfers in the Long Nineteenth Century (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2011), pp. 37-59.

Reaching the People