Venia Legendi Awarded to Centre Research Group Leader Nina Schneider

The Käte Hamburger Kolleg / Centre for Global Cooperation Research is proud to announce that its own Dr. Nina Schneider has completed the habilitation process through the University of Duisburg-Essen’s Faculty of Humanities. Along with the title of Lecturer (Privatdozentin), Dr. Schneider receives the much-deserved recognition of leadership in her field.

Dr. Schneider has been a research group leader at the centre since 2018, first of the project 'Global Cooperation and Polycentric Governance,' and more recently in the newly established group 'Legitimation and Delegitimation. She has contributed widely to these projects, which seek to highlight the modern dynamics of intricately interwoven global systems and organizations.

For the written component of the habilitation, Dr. Schneider submitted her dissertation Global Child Labour Opponents in the Americas and their Campaigns in Global Perspective, 1888–1938, which represents an aspect of a larger project funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG). The project addresses an issue which is aligned to the Centre’s mandate, but which is also relevant for human rights on a global scale. The study provokes a problematization of the historic struggle against child labour for the modern climate of sociopolitical interconnectivity. Dr. Schneider combines a biographical perspective and a global history approach, moving from narrative analysis of specific actors outward to the broader international and historical contexts leading to the global goal of abolition of child labour per se.

So far, historical studies on global cooperation have been scarce at the Centre. My project seeks to bridge this gap; it also seeks to advance the centre’s research thematically, empirically, and methodologically. Studying global anti-child labour opposition – I hope – may help spread optimism; child labour was successfully combatted in the past, even if only partially and even if it took a long time.

For the oral component of the habilitation process, Dr. Schneider held a lecture on the topic of Joseph Arthur de Gobineau’s Essay on the Inequality of the Human Races (1853-55). Aiming to identify, systematize, and discuss different readings of this controversial and racially charged work, Schneider asks: what meaning has been ascribed to Gobineau’s essay over time, and what are the central debates in the research community?

Gobineau, his work, and especially its reception are more complex and paradoxical than one might think. I tried to correct or nuance the simplified image of Gobineau, and at the same time to problematize exaggerated attempts at its rehabilitation.

This nuanced analysis of the differential application of Gobineau’s essay resonates with the blended narrative and theoretical methodology of the Legitimation and Delegitimation group’s mandate. Dr. Schneider plans to contribute essays on this topic, including legitimation of racial inequality (and racism itself) from the perspectives of global history, connected history, and the particular case of the later appropriations of Gobineau’s work.

Following the successful completion of her habilitation, Dr. Schneider is working as Privatdozent at the University of Duisburg-Essen. Beginning in the summer semester of 2021, her first course is titled 'Introduction to Public History: Definitions, Debates, and Examples'.