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Global History: Themes, Issues and Approaches (HI965)


Dr Howard Chiang


Context of Module
Module Aims
Intended Learning Outcomes
Preliminary Bibliography
Context of Module

This is the core module for the MA in Global History. The module, taught in the Autumn term, may also be taken by students on the MA in History, the MA in Modern History, or any taught Masters students outside the History Department.


Module Aims

'Themes, Issues and Approaches' is the core course for the MA in Global History: it is taught over one ten-week term and is intended to give a critical overview of one of the fastest growing and most dynamic areas of modern historical enquiry - global history. It aims to provide students with an understanding of how global history has emerged from earlier approaches to the study of history, what makes it distinctive and what its principal strengths and weaknesses might be. As the core course, this module not only examines the range of historical methods and interpretations that constitute global history, but also looks at ways in which 'the global' can be investigated in relation to the regional and local by taking up perspectives from Asia, Africa and the Atlantic and Islamic Worlds.


Intended Learning Outcomes

By the end of the module students should be able to:

  • Recognise and evaluate the main intellectual traditions and historiographical approaches that have given rise to 'global history'
  • Assess the ways in which historians have responded to the idea of 'globalisation' and the various techniques and subject domains they have used to do so.
  • Offer an informed critique of 'global history', its sources, methods and outcomes.
  • Show that they have developed skills in carrying out library and on-line research and skills in communicating and presenting their work.



The course is taught in weekly 2-hour seminars.

Week 1: Tuesday 6 Oct - Introduction (HC)

Week 2: Tuesday 13 Oct - Representing the World (JM)

Week 3: Tuesday 20 Oct - Global Time (JM)

Week 4: Tuesday 27 Oct - Material Culture (AG)

Week 5: Tuesday 3 Nov - Globalisation (GR)

Week 6: Reading Week (no seminar)

Week 7: Friday 20 Nov - Global Labour History (AS) [Note: this seminar has been moved to Friday, 3-5pm]

Week 8: Wednesday 25 Nov - The Islamic World (JB) [Note: this seminar has been moved to Wednesday, 2-4pm]

Week 9: Tuesday 1 Dec - Africa in Global History (DA)

Week 10: Tuesday 8 Dec -  Global Health (HC) [Note: this seminar will take place in H3.58]


Preliminary Bibliography

Journal of Global History (commenced 2006): you might want to compare the contents of this journal with other, related journals such as Journal of Interdisciplinary History, Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History, and Journal of World History or regional journals like Modern Asian Studies and Journal of African History.

Janet L. Abu Lughod, Before European Hegemony: The World System, 1250-1350

Arjun Appadurai, Modernity at Large: Cultural Dimensions of Globalization

Gurminder Bhambra, 'Historical Sociology, Modernity, and Postcolonial Critique', American Historical Review 116.3 (2011): 653-662

Dipesh Chakrabarty, Provincializing Europe: Postcolonial Thought and Historical Difference

Philip D. Curtin, Cross-Cultural Trade in World History 'Global Times and Spaces: On Historicizing the Global', History Workshop Journal, 64:1 (2007), pp. 321-46

'Global Times and Spaces: On Historicizing the Global', History Workshop Journal, 64:1 (2007), comments by Driver, Burton, Berg, Subrahmanyam, Boal, pp. 321-46

Eliga H. Gould, 'Entangled Histories, Entangled Worlds: The English-Speaking Atlantic as a Spanish Periphery', American Historical Review, 112 (2007), pp.764-86 (see also following article by Jorge Canizares-Esguerra on 'Entangled Histories', pp. 787-99)

David S. Landes, The Wealth and Poverty of Nations

Bruce Mazlish, 'Comparing Global History to World History', Journal of Interdisciplinary History, 28:3 (1998), pp. 385-95

David Palumbo-Liu, Bruce Robbins, and Nirvana Tanoukhi, eds., Immanuel Wallerstein and the problem of the world: system, scale, culture (2011)

Kenneth Pomeranz, 'Social History and World History: From Daily Life to Patterns of Change', Journal of World History, 18: 1 (2007), pp. 69-98

Merry E. Wiesner, 'World History and the History of Women, Gender, and Sexuality', Journal of World History, 18:1 (2007), pp. 53-67

Pamela Crossley, What is Global History? (2008)

Samuel Moyn and Andrew Sartori, eds., Global Intellectual History (2013)

Lynn Hunt, Writing History in the Global Era (2014)



You are required to submit one assessed essay of 6,000 words (including footnotes and bibliography). This is due on Thursday 17th December 2015 (first week after the end of Term 1), to be submitted via Tabula.

You are also encouraged to submit one unassessed, formative essay of up to 2,500 words (not including footnotes and bibliography) by Tuesday 17th November 2015, to be submitted to the module convenor.

Module Handbook 2015(PDF Document)


Various; please see module handbook.

Term Autumn
Tutorial Day Tuesday
Time 16:00-18:00


David Anderson H0.13
James Baldwin H0.09
Howard Chiang H0.16
Anne Gerritsen H0.18
Julia McClure H0.11
Giorgio Riello H0.14
Aditya Sarkar H0.25