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China, the Local and the Global (Anne Gerritsen)

We have gone from larger methodological questions about global history to the specifics of objects. It is a useful point to think about the wider subject, and stake out a position within that. One question that remains open is how you actually go about doing global history. Another is the question of locality and belonging. What is the meaning of the local when our perspective is global? How do people inhabit the global, and make spaces their own?

For discussion:

1. What is local history? Is there a difference between local history and micro-history?

2. Is all history local?

3. How do we go about combining local and global history?

4. Is globalization a threat to the local? Here are two quotes from Arjun Appadurai to consider:

  • (a) [we should understand] ‘locality not merely as a case study, but a site for the examination of how locality emerges in a globalizing world’
  • (b) ‘the histories through which localities emerge are eventually subject to the dynamics of the global’ (see his Modernity at Large)

Key Readings

Liu Xincheng. "The Global View of History in China." Journal of World History 23.3 (2012): 491-511. Project MUSE. Web. 19 Nov. 2012. <>.

D. Massey, ‘Places and Their Pasts’, History Workshop Journal, 39 (1995), pp. 182-92

Doreen Massey, ‘Power-Geometry and a Progressive Sense of Place’, in Jon Bird (ed.), Mapping the Futures: Local Cultures, Global Change, pp. 47-69

Bruce Mazlish, The New Global History, ch. 7: ‘The global and the local’

further readings:

Mark Swislocki, ‘The Honey Nectar Peach and the Idea of Shanghai in Late Imperial China’, in Late Imperial China, 29:1 (2008), pp. 1-40