Some Reflections on the Nature of Global History

During the 1990s, when the term “global history” started becoming more popular within academic circles, quite a number of scholars expressed great reservations against this field. One of the most frequently articulated charges was that global history was destined to operate on a rather superficial level and would not be able to reach deeper than the realm of textbooks, trade books and introductory undergraduate courses. After all, many critics added, no serious scholar could possibly know a sufficient number of languages which would allow him or her to operate at a truly global level. Hence, the same logic went, global history could never evolve into a true research field which in the field of history, after all, is based on archival work and an intimate familiarity with primary sources on a distinct subject matter ((See for example O’Brien, Patrick K., “Historiographical Traditions and Modern Imperatives for the Restoration of Global History”, Journal of Global History, 1-1 (2006), pp. 3-39)).

In recent years, these debates have subsided, and the new great discussions on global history have moved on to different issues and themes. It is mainly distant outsiders remaining unfamiliar with the field’s most recent developments and trajectories who still pose the question whether global history can indeed evolve into an area of research. As a matter of fact, global history is being practiced by a growing, vibrant community of researchers. For them it is not primarily as a site of textbook production but rather an arena of genuine historical scholarship. This simple observation is evidenced by the sharply growing number of journal articles, research projects and monographs which in their title refer to “global history” or closely related terms ((See for example, Crossley, Pamela Kyle, What is Global History?, Cambridge: Polity, 2008)). In this context one may also refer to the founding of the Journal of Global History in 2006, and one may add that even earlier, in 1999, the American Historical Review introduced a review section focusing on “global and comparative” studies.

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Announcing ‘The Great War and Global History’ conference, Oxford 9-10 January 2014

‘The Great War and Global History’ conference

9-10 January 2014

Maison Française, Oxford

A two-day conference hosted by the Oxford Centre for Global History, Changing Character of War programme and Maison Française d’Oxford.  Convenors: Hew Strachan, James Belich, John Darwin

 PLENARY SPEAKERS:

 FINANCE

Patrick O’Brien (LSE)

‘Warfare with Revolutionary and Napoleonic France and the Consolidation of British Industrial Supremacy’

Georges-Henri Soutou (Paris)

‘They Marched Singing into Bankruptcy: Finance in the First World War’

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REVOLUTION

Dominic Lieven (Cambridge)

‘Imperialism, War and Revolution: a Russian Angle’

Hans van de Ven (Cambridge)

Title TBC

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IDENTITIES

Hervé Drévillon (Paris)

‘Identities and Otherness as Agents of Globalization in Early Modern Wars‘

Tamara Scheer ((Ludwig Boltzmann-Institute for Social Science History, Vienna)

‘Habsburg Empire’s National Identities during World War One’

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MANPOWER

Jos Gommans (Leiden)

‘Fair Play in Early Modern Warfare’

Douglas Porch (California)

‘From Carnot to Reynaud: The Ascent and Disintegration of the French Nation in Arms, 1793-1940’

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MYTHS

Margaret MacMillan (Oxford)

Title TBC

Sudhir Hazareesingh (Oxford)

Title TBC

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GEOPOLITICS

Tonio Andrade (Atlanta)

‘The Global Military Balance: A Long View, 900-1918’

Naoko Shimazu (Birkbeck)

Title TBC

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RESISTANCE

Martin Ceadel (Oxford)

Title TBC

Karen Hagemann (UNC)

‘Women, War and the Nation: Gendering the History of the Wars Against Napoleon’

To register contact global@history.ox.ac.uk
For further information see:
www.history.ox.ac.uk/global
www.history.ox.ac.uk/ccw
www.mfo.ac.uk

Read full post here. (Originally posted July 23, 2013)

CFP: 4th European Congress on World and Global History – Panel: Peripheral Port-Cities as Portals of Globalization

This panel on ‘Peripheral Port-Cities as Portals of Globalization’ is to take place at the 4th European Congress on World and Global History in Paris, 4-7 September 2014.

The panel focuses on port-cities that once were relevant portals of globalization, but for one reason or another lost their appeal or saw their strategic centrality reduced on a global scale. We address both historical overviews and analyses of representations and perceptions.

Title and short abstract (100 words) can be sent to the e-mail-address you find at the bottom of this announcement, by the 15th of September 2013.

Full Abstract

In the common understanding of globalization port-cities play a crucial role, connecting each other as well as respective hinterlands. Such port-cities attained centrality in the process of global integration, both through material interconnectedness and perceptions of prominence, which in turn underpinned the city’s infrastructure and identity. These dynamics form the backbone of many a thriving global city. However, not all stories have been or remained success stories. In this panel we focus on port-cities that once were relevant portals of globalization, but for one reason or another lost their appeal or strategic centrality on a global scale – either temporarily or for good. The focus is on the 19th and 20th centuries.

The starting point for this panel is threefold. First, we assert that for a proper understanding of global integration as a non-linear process short-lived or tragic instances of (some degree of) global prominence are as essential as the eye-catching success stories. Secondly, we believe that material or perceived traits that helped a port-city become a portal of globalization in the first place, are crucial to recognize the continuity between before, during and after, and to overcome too simplistic binary centre-periphery thinking. Thirdly, we are interested in what remains of having once been a portal of globalization when a port-city’s centrality decreases. Some impact of once having been globally prominent as well as remnants of connectedness, centrality and world-savvy mentality can still be present – can even have become part of the place’s perceived roots or identity, both locally and radiating over longer distances, in both internal and external perceptions, in both reputations of past glory and of decay.

This panel about port-cities as erstwhile portals of globalization addresses the following questions: why or how did a port-town become a portal of globalization; what did it mean to be a portal of globalization; and how can we discern the legacies of having been a portal of globalization?

The panel consists of two parts, each addressing this set of questions from a different angle. The first part focuses on the ‘descriptive’ side of the story, with historical interpretations of the rise and fall of peripheral port-cities as portal of globalization, incl. aftermath and possible revival. The second part specifically focuses on ‘representations’, with analyses of how a port-city was imagined or perceived during and after its heydays, both locally and externally. Papers that combine both angles are of course also welcome.

Contact:

Geert Castryck

Centre for Area Studies

University of Leipzig

Thomaskirchhof 20

DE – 04109 Leipzig

Email: geert.castryck@uni-leipzig.de

Read full post here. (Originally posted August 12, 2013)

Call for Reviewers: Itinerario, the International Journal on the History of European Expansion and Global Interaction

Itinerario, the International Journal on the History of European Expansion and Global Interaction (part of Cambridge University Press)

is looking for reviewers for the following titles (see list below).

Are any of you interested in reviewing the following books (list below) for the journal? A completed review, of approximately 1000 words, would be due to our office by *JUNE 1, 2013*.

If you’re interested/willing/available, please email Laura Cruz and *include your mailing address *in the response. It takes our office approximately one week to make assignments and you will be notified if you are selected to write the review. All books assigned will be mailed out next week.

*GENERAL/WORLD*

  • Eva Bischoff and Elisabeth Engel (eds.), *Colonialism and Beyond: Race and Migration from a Postcolonial Perspective*. Periplus Studien/Lit, 2012.
  • Jane T. Costlow, *Heart-Pine Russia: Walking and Writing in the Nineteenth-Century Forest*. Cornell University Press, 2013.
  • Karel Davids, *Religion, Technology, and the Great and Little Divergences China and Europe Compared, c. 700-1800*. Brill, 2013.
  • Carole Shammas, ed*. Investing in the Early Modern Built Environment: Europeans, Asians, Settlers, and Indigenous Societies*. Brill, 2013.

*AFRICA*

  • Toby Green, ed. *Brokers of Change: Atlantic Commerce and Cultures in Precolonial Western Africa*. Oxford, 2012.
  • Elizabeth Sutton*, Early Modern Dutch Prints of Africa*. Ashgate, 2012.

*ASIA*

  • Gordon D. Laman*, Pioneers to Partners: The Reformed Church in America and Christian Mission with the Japanese*. Eerdman, 2012.
  • Philippe Beaujard, *Les Mondes de L’Ocean Indien. Volume 1: De la formation de l’Etat au premier systeme-monde afro-eurasien*. Armand Colin, 2012.
  • Philippe  Beaujard, *Le Les Mondes de L’Ocean Indien. Volume 2: L’ocean Indien au cœur des globalisations de l’Ancien Monde*. Armand Colin, 2012.

*EUROPE AND THE WIDER WORLD*

  • Germano Maifreda, *From Oikonomia to Political Economy: Constructing Economic Knowledge from the Renaissance to the Scientific Revolution*. Ashgate, 2012.
  • Jennifer E. Sessions, *By Sword and Plow: France and the Conquest of Algeria *. Cornell University Press, 2011.
  • John Phillip Short*, Magic Lantern Empire: Colonialism and Society in Germany. Cornell University Press, *2012.

*LATIN AMERICA*

  •  Benjamin T. Smith, The Roots of Conservatism in Mexico: Catholicism, Society, and Politics in the Mixteca Baja, 1750-1962. University of New Mexico Press, 2012.

*NORTH AMERICA/ATLANTIC WORLD*

  •  Marcus Rediker. *The Amistad Rebellion: An Atlantic Odyssey of Slavery and Freedom*. Viking, 2012.
  • Frederic Regard, ed. *The Quest for the Northwest Passage: Knowledge, Nation and Empire, 1576-1806*. Pickering and Chatto, 2013.

Workshop Announcement: Global Archivalities

May 7, 2013, 9-11 AM (PDT)
Convenor: Randolph Head (UC-Riverside)
Co-convenors: Arndt Brendecke (Munich), Hilde de Weerdt (London-King’s College)

Attendance: In-person in Riverside, CA, or via Adobe Connect (globally)

To participate: contact the convenor

Archives play a fundamental role in historical research, yet archivality as a human
cultural product subject to enormous variation – across cultural systems and across time –
has received almost no comparative attention. We propose the
formation of a collaborative network among humanistic scholars interested in
investigating the formation, use, and representation of archives around the globe in the
pre-modern period. By bringing together researchers with the necessary linguistic skills,
specific knowledge, and diverse theoretical and epistemological approaches, this network
will contribute to enriched research on various regions and topics.

Of equal importance,however, will be the project’s contribution to understanding how archival
accumulation has shaped legal, political, memorial and not least historiographical expectations
about the production and preservation of records in different cultural contexts. In light of the
last half-century’s theoretical and methodological insights, it is no longer tenable to write
scholarship from the archives without understanding the history of the archives.

The conceptual workshop on May 7 seeks to define more clearly the terrain that such a
network and project will consider. Bringing together experts on diverse record-keeping
traditions and from varying theoretical perspectives, we seek to promote shared
understandings of the decisive theoretical and empirical issues that the comparative study
of pre-modern archivality must address. A second goal is to highlight the many research
opportunities that the comparative study of archivality can offer, and to help create a
supportive network of junior as well as senior humanists that can promote such research.
Scholars working on any part of the world where systematic recordkeeping took place are
invited to participate.

The core time frame of the subject envisioned by the convenors
runs from the post-Classical through the early modern periods (as they may be defined in
various regions); anyone with interests in the field, regardless of discipline, period or
approach, is welcome to the conceptual workshop.

Adobe Connect allows participation from any networked computer equipped with camera
and microphone. To ensure a smooth flow of events, a moderator will manage
interventions from various participants, with priority given to a number of core sites but
with opportunities for contribution from any participant.

This event is sponsored by the University of California Multi-Campus Research Group
“Material Cultures of Knowledge, 1500-1800,” funded by the University of California
Humanities Network and the University of California Humanities Research Institute.

Call for abstract submissions: Italy, Persia, and Early Modern Globalism

Please consider submitting an abstract for this session at the annual meeting of the College Art Association in Chicago in February 2014.

Chicago, CAA Annual Conference, February 12 – 15, 2014
ITALY, PERSIA, AND EARLY MODERN GLOBALISM

Cristelle Baskins, Tufts University, and Pamela Jones, UMass Boston
Email: cristelle.baskins@tufts.edu or pamela.jones@umb.edu

In late antiquity the eastern frontier of the Roman empire confronted Sassanian Persia. The rivalry between these two world empires was redefined centuries later when the Pope served as the titular head of Christendom and the Shah led Safavid Iran. This session centers on interactions between Italians and Persians as represented in visual culture from 1500-1700. Papers that consider dialogue and exchange, transculturation, or cultural mobility will be especially welcome. Topics might include: maps and travel, missionaries and hagiography, embassies and political imagery, and involve media such as paintings, sculptures, prints, ephemeral decorations, and the decorative arts.

For further information, application form and procedure, see: http://www.collegeart.org/proposals/2014callforparticipation

World History Center, University of Pittsburgh Doctoral Workshop in World History

World History Center, University of Pittsburgh

Doctoral Workshop in World History, June 3 -15, 2013

The World History Center at the University of Pittsburgh is happy to announce its third two-week summer doctoral workshop on World History. The workshop addresses the construction of dissertation projects and teaching curriculum in world history. The program is based on common readings and discussions in World History, interdisciplinary, and additional macro-historical branches (such as Transnational History and Comparative History) applied during the workshop to both the formulation of dissertation projects and course syllabi. Participants will evolve research proposals and syllabi in mutual discussion and in close consultation with the World History Center workshop mentors. The workshop will take place at the University of Pittsburgh from June 3 until June 15. The fee for each participant will be $1000 plus transportation (room and board are covered by the program). Fee waivers may be available for students with special needs.

Workshop participants may focus on any field or time period, but should have a strong interest in building a global dimension into their work. Applications are open to doctoral students from any university in any country. Preference will be given to students who have completed at least a year of graduate coursework and are currently working on their dissertation proposals.

Applications are to be submitted electronically. For details and application form, see www.worldhistory.pitt.edu.

For inquiries: contact any of the workshop mentors:

Diego Holstein, holstein@pitt.edu

Molly Warsh, warsh@pitt.edu

Patrick Manning, pmanning@pitt.edu

Application due date: March 31, 2013. Final decisions will be announced by Mid April.

Rothermere American Institute Inaugural Lecture: Prof Sir John Elliott: ‘Spanning the Atlantic’

Friday 3 May at 17.00

Rothermere American Institute, Oxford
All welcome

No scholar has done more to explain and illuminate the history of the Atlantic and the nations and empires that have bordered it than Professor Sir John Elliott, FBA. For more than fifty years, his work has shaped the understanding of European settlement and colonization in the Americas, imperial Spain, and the empires of the Atlantic world. Sir John has held professorships at Cambridge, London and Princeton universities, and the Regius Professorship of History at Oxford University from 1990 to 1997.

At Oxford University, he pioneered the study of Atlantic and global history, and was instrumental in the creation of the Rothermere American Institute, where he holds a Distinguished Fellowship. The RAI honours Sir John’s extraordinary contribution to the history of the Atlantic, the Americas and Europe by creating an annual lecture and a graduate scholarship in Atlantic history in his name.

Read full post here.
 

Oxford Centre for Global History: Global Knowledge Workshop

The University of Oxford’s Transnational and Global History group is pleased to announce a one-day interdisciplinary workshop on ‘Global Knowledge’, to be held at Ertegun House, Oxford on 10 May 2013,with a keynote address by Professor Sir Christopher Bayly. It is being planned in collaboration with the Oxford Centre for Global History’s ‘Empires of Knowledge’ workshop on 9 May 2013.

This workshop seeks to illuminate how knowledge, broadly defined, has migrated beyond national or local boundaries and what effects it has had. Whether considering the early expansion of Islam in the seventh and eighth centuries, or the proliferation of transnational networks in the modern era, the movement of knowledge consistently serves to shape distant societies, often producing profoundly different results than had been originally intended. Yet the history of knowledge has remained largely confined to the domains of national or regional history.

Read full post here.

Colloquium – Al-Andalus: History, Memory and Meaning (February 8 2013, CUNY Graduate Center)

Al-Andalus: History, Memory and Meaning

http://alandaluscuny.commons.gc.cuny.edu/

February 8 2013 – 5-8 pm – Room C 197, CUNY Graduate Center, 365 5th Avenue, NY, NY

Al-Andalus was a rare example where Muslims, Christians and Jews largely, if uneasily, co-existed and where, as a result of this intermingling, exceptional art, architecture and literature developed over the course of nearly 800 years. Visited by tourists and scholars, the Alhambra is a lasting testament to an era whose art and literature drew upon the artistic traditions of Islam and Christianity. In some historical narratives, this remarkable structure has come to symbolize an idealized environment that allowed peoples of multiple faiths to flourish. This two-part colloquium will delve into the multiple tensions that characterized the field in which not only the Alhambra, but also other remarkable objets d’art, architecture and literature were created. We aim to better understand the multi-religious and multi-cultural world of Al-Andalus as well as its operation within Spain’s contemporary exercises in cultural memory.

This colloquium explores these issues in two panels of papers by leading academics in the fields of history, literature and material culture.

The first panel, Cultural Practices, Religion and Politics in Al-Andalus, focuses on history and material culture in order to assess the co-existence of Muslims, Christians and Jews through their artistic, architectural and literary practices and productions.  This theme is approached from a multi-confessional perspective, considering not only the experience of ruling Muslims, but also that of minorities, such as Jews and mozarabes, who were subjected to Muslim rule.

The second panel, Memories of Al-Andalus: A Reflexive Take on Current Historiography, focuses on the place that contemporary Spain has assigned to its Islamic heritage.  It will examine the dialectic relation between current debates about ethnicity, religion, and language in Europe, and Spain’s strategies of institutional recognition and discursive processing of its Islamic history and material culture.

Speakers

Jane Gerber, The Graduate Center, CUNY

Cynthia Robinson, Cornell University

Alexander Elinson, Hunter College and the Graduate Center, CUNY

Eric Calderwood, The University of Michigan

Closing Remarks: Anna Akasoy, Ruhr-Universität Bochum and Hunter College, CUNY

Organized by Elizabeth Macaulay-Lewis and José del Valle, the Graduate Center, CUNY