Prof. Dr. Carina SchmittProf. Dr. Carina Schmitt
1.5 Million Euros from the European Research Council for Research on "The Legacy of Colonialism: Origins and Outcome of Social Protection".

Great news at SOCIUM: Carina Schmitt, Professor of Global Social Policy at the University of Bremen has received a prestigious award. She acquired one of the coveted ERC Starting Grants. The European Research Council (ERC) now funds her research with nearly 1.5 million Euros. Carina Schmitt explores the legacy of colonialism with regard to the origins and outcomes of social security. She examines the influence of the colonial past of former colonies on the effectiveness of social policy to combat poverty and inequality. Moreover, together with colleagues, she is building a database containing information on social policies from a global and historical perspective.

Carina Schmitt: "I am very glad about receiving this award, as it allows me to implement an exciting research project in a great research environment here at the University of Bremen. This is not to be taken for granted."

This year, the ERC Starting Grant is being awarded to 406 young top researchers across Europe. Overall, the European Research Council is supporting scientists with 605 million Euros. The funding is intended to enable the recipients to independently implement their own research ideas with their teams. For this prestigious award, 3085 proposals had been submitted.

More information: Working Group "Global Social Policy"

Prof. Dr. Carina Schmitt

International Conference, University of Bremen, September 13-15 2017

Dr. Teresa Huhle & Prof. Dr. Delia Gonzalez de Reufels, Latin American History (History Department, Faculty 8), University of Bremen, in cooperation with the SOCIUM Research Center on Inequality and Social Policy, University of Bremen

The conference aims to bring together an international group of junior and senior scholars from history and related fields who are working on the history of social policies and the welfare state in the Global South from a transnational, entangled or global history perspective.

Together, we would like to discuss current trends of research as well as map out open questions of the field. During the last ten years, the historiography on social policies and the welfare state has started to participate in the transnational turn. However, the exchanges of knowledge, ideas and institutions have been predominantly studied among countries and regions of the Global North, also highlighting transfers from north to south. The way European powers have intervened within their colonial domains in Africa and Asia in social policy issues can serve as an example.

We attempt to broaden these perspectives on the directions of transfer and communication. We are especially interested in research that focuses on exchanges and processes of transfer which have worked in the south-south and south-north direction. These can include questions on the effects that colonial contestations of welfare measures had on the policies in the respective ¡¥motherlands¡¦, on regional exchanges during moments of crisis (e.g. in Latin America during the Great Depression) or on how delegates from the Global South shaped the social policies of international bodies like the International Labor Organization (ILO) or the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCR).

In this context, we consider it promising to use a broad concept of the welfare state and its policies, including not only the classical domains of labor security and public health, but also encompassing fields like nutrition, reproduction, education, recreation and other emerging research perspectives.

The integration of a cultural history perspective will further enable us to look at representations and constructions of social problems in diverse spatial configurations. We consider these as directly intertwined with the policies directed at them and want to highlight that 'welfare problems' and their underlying social and moral assumptions traveled just as much.

We are furthermore particularly interested in discussing the role of policies and welfare measures in the processes of nation building, which both on an institutional and an identity level must be conceptualized as a global phenomena and transnational endeavor. At the same time, we consider it important to look at the formation and exchange of social policy ideas and institutions beyond the national level, highlighting both exchanges on the communal and provincial level and within regional cooperation and international organizations.

In sum, we are particularly interested in case studies which fit into this general framework. We invited contributions which pay particular attention to the following methodological and thematic aspects:

  • Transnational networks and actors who promoted and conceptualized social policies and their mobility, especially beyond the realm of policy makers and experts, highlighting the role of social movements, labor unions and health activists among others

  • The development and transfer of visual and graphic depictions of social problems and social policies

  • The gendered dimensions of social policies and political demands

  • Colonial and imperial social policies and their possible afterlives during nationhood

  • Cross-border struggles for the recognition of social rights

The discussion will be stimulated by keynote lectures, including Prof. Dr. Christoph Conrad (University of Geneva).

If you wish to participate in the conference, please send in an abstract (maximum length 300 words) and a short CV by October 31st, 2016 to
Notifications of acceptance will be sent out by mid-November 2016. A small travel allowance may be granted but funds are limited.

For further information please contact:

Download: Call for Papers

Carina SchmittCarina Schmitt
Best Research Paper of the Joint Sessions of the European Consortium for Political Research (ECPR).

The Joint Sessions of the European Consortium for Political Research (ECPR) are one of the largest Political Science conferences. At the end of March 2015 they convened in Warsaw with 25 panels and more than 800 proposed papers. And it is now official: An international jury selected Carina Schmitt’s paper on "Social Security Development and Colonial Legacy" as the best research paper which was awarded the Rudolf Wildenmann Prize.

In her paper Carina Schmitt, PostDoc at the SOCIUM of the University of Bremen, deals with the question of the historical development of the social security systems of the former colonies of Great Britain and France. She shows that the colonial heritage is still influencing these countries and that it dominates their social policy. The paper is part of her new research focus which deals with the diffusion and convergence of national social policies in a comparative perspective. More and more she is looking into the social security systems of developing or transformation countries which until recently did not receive much research attention.

The Rudolf Wildenmann Prize is endowed with 1.000 euros and commemorates the late Mannheim Political Scientist Rudolf Wildenmann who was not only one of the founders of ECPR but also one of the founding fathers of the West-German quantitative political science research.

More information: Rudolf Wildenmann Prize

Prof. Dr. Carina Schmitt

Dr. Carina SchmittDr. Carina Schmitt
Carina Schmitt has been coopted as one of ten new members to the Junge Akademie.

The selection committee of the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities and the German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina decided to coopt Carina Schmitt to the Junge Akademie in march this year.

Carina Schmitt is a post-doctoral researcher in the department "Institutions and History of the Welfare State" at ZeS. After her habilitation thesis on the convergence and diffusion of social and economic policy in rich democracies she has been awarded with a John F. Kennedy Memorial Fellowship by the DAAD and the Center for European Studies at Harvard University. In September last year, the commenced her ten-month research stay at Harvard University, where she is working on a research project on the global emergence of the welfare state.

The Junge Akademie has set itself two overriding tasks: encouraging academic, especially interdisciplinary, discourse among outstanding young academics as well as promoting initiatives at the intersection of academia and society. Members have different backgrounds ranging from Astrophysics via Law and Political Science to Philosophy of Science. Members are elected for five years. Each member is endowed with a research budget of currently about 30,000 Euro for joint academic projects.

More information: Die Junge Akademie

Prof. Dr. Carina Schmitt

Dr. Carina SchmittDr. Carina Schmitt
Fellowship for a ten-month research stay at Harvard University's Center for European Studies.

Carina Schmitt has been awarded a John F. Kennedy Memorial Fellowship for 2013/14 by Harvard University's Center for European Studies (CES) in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

The fellowship amounts to 60,000 US-Dollar and is associated with a ten-month research stay at Harvard University's Center for European Studies. In a three-stage process, the CES grants up to three fellowships for post-doctoral German scholars who work on their Habilitation or an equivalent research work.

The fellowhsip was established in 1966 and supports research projects on topics focusing on Europe, transatlantic issues or the United States. 

More information:
German Academic Exchange Service (Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst e.V.)
John F. Kennedy Memorial Fellowship for visiting post-doctoral Fellows at the Minda de Gunzburg Center for European Studies, Harvard University

Prof. Dr. Carina Schmitt