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Tutor: David M Anderson

This is an introductory meeting to familiarise students with the general outline and requirements of the module. To set the stage for discussion in the subsequent weeks, we will begin by discussing some influential overviews of global history as an approach. The readings sketch out different visions of what global history is and can offer, and highlight some of the themes that are often associated with it, such as globalisation, material culture, and modernity. The readings also contrast the global-history approach with other approaches such as national history, microhistory, and area studies. The aim is to give you a solid basis of what, broadly speaking, global history is, and to help you think about how it might be useful for your own study of history.

Seminar Questions:

1. 'Once it is established that global history is everything, everything can become global history. This is less absurd than it seems.' (Sebastian Conrad, What is Global History, p. 8). Discuss this statement.

2. Do you agree with Jeremy Adelman's view that contemporary events have created a crisis for global history? Is global history in essence a celebration of globalisation?

3. Thinking about your own preferences, do you favour comparative history, or connective history? Discuss their advantages and limits.

4. Is global microhistory a contradiction? What is the attraction of this approach?


Readings can be accessed via the Tallis Aspire Reading List.

Core Reading

Maxine Berg, ‘Global History: Approaches and New Directions’, in Writing the History of the Global: Challenges for the Twenty-First Century, ed. Maxine Berg (Oxford University Press, 2013), 1-18.

Jeremy Adelman ‘What is Global History Now?', 2 March 2017, Aeon Essays,

Sebastian Conrad, What Is Global History?, chap. 4., from What is Global History (Princeton University Press, 2016).

Francesca Trivellato, “Is there a Future for Italian Microhistory in the Age of Global History?,” California Italian Studies 2:1 (2011), (accessed 2nd April 2021).

To Learn More

Sebastian Conrad, What is Global History? (Princeton University Press, 2016), Chap. 10.

Jan de Vries, 'Reflections on Doing Global History', in Writing the History of the Global: Challenges for the Twenty-First Century, ed. Maxine Berg (Oxford University Press, 2013), 32-47.

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

Anne Gerritsen, “Scales of a Local: the Place of Locality in a Globalizing World,” in A Companion to World History, ed. Douglas Northrop (Oxford, 2012), 213-226 GerritsenScalesofaLocal

John-Paul Ghobrial, “Introduction: Seeing the World like a Microhistorian,” in Global History and Microhistory, ed. John-Paul Ghobrial, Past & Present Supplement 14 (2019): 1-22.

Natalie Zemon Davis, “Decentering History: Local Stories and Cultural Crossings in a Global World,” History and Theory 50 (2011): 188-202.