Driven by a leitmotif of our own times, globalization, historians are increasingly conducting their research under the aegis of ‘global’ or ‘world’ history. This history no longer seeks merely to explain the origins of the global world in which we now live, or to destabilize a traditional, Eurocentric view of the path to modernity. Instead, it asks us to reconceptualize the ways in which we write history, paying proper attention to transnational connections and to the comparative study of territories. Although it is intuitively plausible to assume that scholars of modern German history have reflected upon the implications of this and integrated it into their approaches to a greater extent than their pre-modernist colleagues, this is by no means uniformly the case; indeed, pre-nineteenth-century experts are arguably particularly well positioned to contribute to the field. Those familiar with the complexities of the history of the Holy Roman Empire work unencumbered by the dominating principle of the rise of the nation state and the associated telos that still implicitly structures much writing on the modern era, for example. In their studies of political, social, cultural and economic history, early modern Germanists frequently write history that crosses borders, both territorial and confessional. Also within the regional framework of the Empire, comparative history is well established. To reflect on the ways in which early modern scholars might therefore not only respond to but also drive forward the narratives and curricula of global history, the editors invitedRenate Dürr (Tübingen), Ronnie Hsia (Penn State), Carina Johnson (Pitzer College), Ulrike Strasser (University of California, San Diego) and Merry Wiesner-Hanks (University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee) to take part in a forum. The questions were posed by Bridget Heal.
Read full post here. (Originally posted September 2013)