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Week 3. Methods and Concepts in Global History

Tutor: Guido van Meersbergen (

Global History is often criticised for not having developed a unified methodology or approach to the study of history, as well as for remaining largely Eurocentric and Anglophone in its orientation. Global and world histories can be comparative or connective, and can concern the world as a whole or study the global entanglements of particular places, people, or things. They also consider different periods and provide very diverse periodisations for history. Global histories are produced and read by people across the world with different interests, backgrounds, and positionalities. This seminar will focus on the different approaches and key concepts used in the study of global history, and examine whose perspectives tend to be represented in global histories and why.

Which methodological approaches are adopted by global history?

Which concepts are used in global history and which disciplines do they come from?

Whose perspectives are represented in global histories and why?

What methodological or conceptual tools can help overcome Eurocentrism in global history?

Please read the chapter by Conrad and at least two other core readings

Core Readings
Sebastian Conrad, What is Global History? (Princeton, 2016), Ch. 3 'Competing Approaches', pp. 37-61.

Felix Driver et al., 'Global Times and Spaces: On Historicizing the Global', History Workshop Journal 64.1 (2007), pp. 321-346, especially the contributions by Antoinette Burton, Sanjay Subrahmanyam, and Maxine Berg.

Liu Xincheng, 'The Global View of History in China', Journal of World History 23.3 (2012), pp. 491-511.

Samia Khatun, 'The Book of Marriage: Histories of Muslim Women in Twentieth-Century Australia', Gender & History 29.1 (2017), pp. 8-30.

Martin Dusinberre, ‘Japan, Global History, and the Great Silence’, History Workshop Journal, 83.1 (2017), pp. 130–150.

Alessandro Stanziani, Eurocentrism and the Politics of Global History (Cham, 2018), Ch. 1: 'Why We Need Global History', pp. 1-19.

EUI Global History Group, 'For a Fair(er) Global History', Cromohs (February 2021). Online.

Further Reading

Bayly, C. A., The Birth of the Modern World, 1780-1914: Global Connections and Comparisons (Blackwells, 2004).

Beckert, Sven, and Dominic Sachsenmaier (eds.), Global History, Globally: Research and Practice around the World (London, 2018).

Benton, Lauren, and Nathan Perl Rosenthal (eds.), A World at Sea: Maritime Practices and Global History (Philadelphia, 2020).

Berg, Maxine (ed.), Writing the History of the Global: Challenges for the Twenty-First Century (Oxford, 2013).

Belich, James, John Darwin, Margret Frenz, and Chris Wickham (eds.), The Prospect of Global History (Oxford, 2016).

Biedermann, Zoltan, '(Dis)connected History and the Multiple Narratives of Global Early Modernity', Modern Philology 119.1 (2021), pp. 13-32.

Chakrabarty, Dipesh, Provincializing Europe: Postcolonial Thought and Historical Difference (Princeton, 2008 [2000]).

Crossley, Pamela Kyle, What Is Global History? (Cambridge, 2007).

Davis, Natalie Zemon, 'Decentering History: Local Stories and Cultural Crossings in a Global World', History and Theory 50.2 (2011), pp. 188-202.

Drayton, Richard, and David Motadel, 'Discussion: The Futures of Global History', Journal of Global History 13.1 (2018), pp. 1-21.

Fox, Karen, 'Globalizing Indigeneity? Writing Indigenous Histories in a Transnational World', History Compass 10.6 (2012), pp. 423-439.

Fusaro, Maria, and Amelia Polonia (eds.), Maritime History as Global History (Liverpool, 2018).

Gerritsen, Anne, and Giorgio Riello (eds.), The Global Lives of Things: The Material Culture of Connections in the Early Modern World (London, 2016).

Gerritsen, Anne, and Giorgio Riello (eds.), Writing Material Culture History (London, 2015).

Gills, Barry K, and William Thompson (eds.), Globalization and Global History (London, 2006).

Gould, Eliga H., 'Entangled Histories, Entangled Worlds: The English-Speaking Atlantic as a Spanish Periphery', American Historical Review 112 (2007), pp.764-86.

Green, William A., 'Periodizing World History', History and Theory 34.2 (1995), pp. 99-111.

Hopkins, A.G., Global History: Interactions Between the Universal and the Local (London, 2006).

Lowe, Lisa, The Intimacies of Four Continents (Durham and London, 2010).

Majumdar, Rochona, Writing Postcolonial History (London, 2010).

Mazlish, Bruce, 'Comparing Global History to World History', Journal of Interdisciplinary History 28.3 (1998), pp. 385-95.

Mazlish, Bruce, and Akira Iriye, The Global History Reader (London, 2004).

McNeill, William H., 'The Changing Shape of World History', History and Theory 34.2 (1995), pp. 8-26.

Middell, Matthias, and Katja Naumann, 'Global History and the Spatial Turn: From the Impact of Area Studies to the Study of Critical Junctures of Globalization', Journal of Global History 5.1 (2010), pp. 149-170.

Northrup, Douglas (ed.), A Companion to World History (Malden, MA, 2012).

O’Brien, Patrick, 'Historiographical Traditions and Modern Imperatives for the Restoration of Global History', Journal of Global History 1:1 (2006), pp. 3-39.

Roque, Ricardo, and Kim Wagner (eds.), Engaging Colonial Knowledge: Reading European Archives in World History (Houndmills, 2012).

Sachsenmaier, Global Perspectives on Global History: Theories and Approaches in a Connected World (Cambridge, 2011).

Sivasundaram, Sujit, Waves Across the South: A New History of Revolution and Empire (London, 2020).

Subrahmanyam, Sanjay, 'Connected Histories: Towards a Reconfiguration of Early Modern Eurasia', Modern Asian Studies 31.3 (1997), pp. 735-762.

Vanhaute, Eric, 'Who is Afraid of Global History? Ambitions, Pitfalls, and Limits of Learning Global History', OZG 20.2 (2009), pp. 22-39.

Wenzlhuemer, Roland, Doing Global History: An Introduction in 6 Concepts (London, 2020).