Skip to main content Skip to navigation

Non-English Sources for Global History

GHCC Early Career Workshop

14 March 2023, 1.30-6pm, Wolfson Research Exchange 1&2 (Library, 3rd floor), University of Warwick

This workshop will mark the visit of Professor Fuyuko Matsukata (Historiographical Institute, Tokyo) to the Global History and Culture Centre.

As global history emerged as a prominent new field in the early 2000s, a commonly heard critique concerned its strong reliance on secondary sources. Some of the defining early scholarship on global history was indeed largely comparative and written on a macro-scale, an approach that proved difficult to combine with a deep focus on primary source research. However, over the past few decades the practice of global history has changed substantially, and very few historians working on global history today do so without a substantial body of primary sources. The introduction of micro-global perspectives and methods made this even more pronounced in the work that scholars and students are doing. Yet issues still remain around the dominance of English-language sources in the writing of global history, as well as around the greater logistical and methodological challenges associated with conducting research based on non-English and, more widely, non-European sources.

This workshop will address the use of non-English sources in global-historical scholarship by inviting participants to reflect on the methodological challenges and benefits of working with the linguistically varied materials they utilise in their research. Questions we will consider include: How do we access these materials? Do we translate them? How do we deal with the concepts that emerge from our sources in our own writing? What are the (linguistic, cultural, and disciplinary) skills, knowledge, and resources required to conduct multi-lingual research and embed multilingualism more fully into global history? Speakers will present 10-minute reflections around a sample source (e.g. a document or image) which they will share with the workshop participants to facilitate practice-based discussions grounded in global-historical research.


13.30-14.00: Lunch

14.00-15.30: ECR Masterclass

"Non-English Sources for Global History: An Introduction", Fuyuko Matsukata (Historiographical Institute, Tokyo)

"Reading Primary Sources: The Deshima Diaries and the Banned Goods of 1668", led by Fuyuko Matsukata (Historiographical Institute, Tokyo)

15.30-16.00: Coffee Break

16.00-17.00: Early Career Panel 1

Lisa Phongsavath (University of Bonn), “Trading Children Across Early-Modern Siamese Legal Institutions”

Judy Law (University of Warwick), “The Record of Zhangzhou People in Shi Liuqiu lu 使琉球錄 (Record of the Imperial Envoy's Visit to Ryukyu, 1534)”

Ricardo Aguilar-González (University of Warwick), “Cuiripu and nacayotl: Souls, Bodies and Dictionaries in the Colonisation of Mesoamerica.”

17.00-18.00: Early Career Panel 2

Tamara Ann Tinner (Linnaeus University), “Fashionable Muslim Elites in the Nineteenth-Century Philippines: Methodological Reflections on Costumes, Clothing, and Fashion.”

Qing Chen (University of Warwick), “The Practice of the Chinese Romanisation Systems in the Use of Late Qing and Republican-Era Sources”

Fleur Martin (University of Warwick), “Researching Carnal Spectres and the Intimate in Imperial Collections”

Download flyer.