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Cosmopolitanism and Globality (Anne Gerritsen)

As a topic for discussion, cosmopolitanism raises a number of questions – particularly as to how far global history can move beyond conventional histories of nation states and empire to a more open, mobile and multi-centred world, and how far we are entitled to read back into the past the history of present-day difference and globality. This topic gives an opportunity to review recent literature (relatively little of it by historians) but also to ask how far a history of the global can, or should be, a history of intellectualism and of Enlightenment universalism, of circulating ideas and elites, rather than about system of imposition, surveillance and control. Can there be an ‘ordinary cosmopolitanism’, in which the lives and experiences of non-elite actors are central?

Key Reading

we all read the following:

Michèle Lamont and Sada Aksartova, ‘Ordinary Cosmopolitanisms’, Theory, Culture and Society, 19:4 (2002), pp. 577-89

Walter Mignolo, ‘The Many Faces of Cosmo-polis: Border Thinking and Critical Cosmopolitanism’, Public Culture, 12:3 (2002), pp. 721-48

Sheldon Pollock, ‘The Cosmopolitan Vernacular’, Journal of Asian Studies, 57: 1 (1998), pp. 6-37

S. Pollock, H. Bhabha, C. Breckenridge and D. Chakrabarty, 'Cosmopolitanisms', also in Public Culture, 12:3 (2000). download here.(PDF Document)


You might find these sources useful:

Benedict Anderson, Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spreads of Nationalism

F. Cooper and A. L. Stoler (eds), Tensions of Empire: Colonial Cultures in a Bourgeois World, esp. ‘Introduction’

Frank Dikotter, The Discourse of Race in Modern China

Dikotter, Things Modern: Material Culture and Everyday Life in China

Edward Said, Orientalism


Further Reading

Anthony Kwame Appiah, Cosmopolitanism in a World of Strangers

Tarak Barkawi, ‘Connection and Constitution: Locating War and Culture in Globalization Studies’, Globalizations, 1:2, (2004), pp. 155-70

Ulrich Beck, ‘The Cosmopolitan Perspective: Sociology of the Second Age of Modernity’, British Journal of Sociology, 51:1 (2005), pp. 79-106

Arif Dirlik, ‘Global Modernity? Modernity in an Age of Global Capitalism’ European Journal of Social Theory 6:3 (2003), pp. 275-92

Pauline Kleingeld, ‘Six Varieties of Cosmopolitanism in Late Eighteenth-Century Germany’, Journal of the History of Ideas, 60 (1999), pp. 505-24

Robert Mayhew, ‘British Geography’s Republic of Letters: Mapping an Imagined Community, 1600-1800’, Journal of the History of Ideas, 65 (2004), pp. 251-76

John Robertson, ‘The Enlightenment above National Context: Political Economy in Eighteenth-Century Scotland and Naples’, Historical Journal, 40 (1997), pp. 667-97

Seyla Benhabib, Another Cosmopolitanism (New York: Oxford University Press, 2006).

Vlasta Vranjes, ‘English Cosmopolitanism and/as Nationalism’, Journal of British Studies, 47 (2008), pp. 324-47

Charles Withers, Placing the Enlightenment: Thinking Geographically about the Age of Reason