Until very recently, historians have looked at the past with the tools of the nineteenth century. But globalization has fundamentally altered our ways of knowing, and it is no longer possible to study nations in isolation or to understand world history as emanating from the West. This book reveals why the discipline of global history has emerged as the most dynamic and innovative field in history—one that takes the connectedness of the world as its point of departure, and that poses a fundamental challenge to the premises and methods of history as we know it.
What Is Global History? provides a comprehensive overview of this exciting new approach to history. The book addresses some of the biggest questions the discipline will face in the twenty-first century: How does global history differ from other interpretations of world history? How do we write a global history that is not Eurocentric yet does not fall into the trap of creating new centrisms? How can historians compare different societies and establish compatibility across space? What are the politics of global history? This in-depth and accessible book also explores the limits of the new paradigm and even its dangers, the question of whom global history should be written for, and much more.
Written by a leading expert in the field, What Is Global History? shows how, by understanding the world's past as an integrated whole, historians can remap the terrain of their discipline for our globalized present.
Sebastian Conrad is professor of history at the Free University of Berlin. He is the author of German Colonialism: A Short History, Globalisation and the Nation in Imperial Germany, and The Quest for the Lost Nation: Writing History in Germany and Japan in the American Century.
"Conrad makes a case for global history as a self-consciously political and ethical enterprise through an enjoyable synthesis of what has to date been a diffuse, even incoherent field. A must read for anyone attempting to write or read global history."--Choice
"What is Global History? appears to have been intended for an audience of colleagues, particularly young scholars, who will benefit from Conrad’s dazzling bibliographical survey, as well as the author’s methodological caveats, as they formulate research projects. . . . A learned and provocative introduction to the challenges of ‘doing’ history, whatever the specialty."--Emily Tai, Canadian Journal of History
"What is Global History? is a thoughtful, careful exploration of an emerging field. . . . What is most welcome is that Conrad explores global history as a vibrant research field rather than as a teaching field. Those who read Conrad's interpretation will be impressed not only with the promise of a field that seeks to explore integration, mobilities, and circulations on a global scale, but also with its potential limitations in an era when it is difficult to see the ways our focus on movement and connection might blind us to other narrative worlds."--Heather Streets-Salter, World History Connected
Praise for the previous edition: "The necessity for a global history has never been more urgent. . . . I can't think of a more useful guide . . . Than Sebastian Conrad's What is Global History?. This short, stimulating book sets out the challenges facing historians more used to working within the boundaries of an individual nation-state."--Pankaj Mishra, BBC History Magazine
Table of Contents:
1 Introduction 1
2 A short history of thinking globally 17
3 Competing approaches 37
4 Global history as a distinct approach 62
5 Global history and forms of integration 90
6 Space in global history 115
7 Time in global history 141
8 Positionality and centered approaches 162
9 World-making and the concepts of global history 185
10 Global history for whom? The politics of global history 205