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Global History

Departmental Seminar

Organised by Prof. Lucy Riall and Prof. Giorgio Riello
Registration code: HEC-DS-GLOHIS-19
Tuesdays 11:00-12:50, Sala del Torrino

Starts on 8 October 2019
Admin. Assistant: Fabrizio Borchi

Seminar description

This seminar aims to discuss the methodology, scope and subject matter of Global History. Global history has been understood variously as either the history of globalization and global trends; a methodology that analyses local, regional, and supra-regional histories within global or transnational networks and ‘connectivity’; an approach that seeks to ‘de-centre’ Europe in world history; or a spatial perspective that shifts the level of enquiry away from the nation-state to other scales of analysis. The seminar will examine these different kinds of global history and explore relevant topics by leading practitioners in the field, focusing in particular on the early-modern period and the nineteenth century. We will also consider global history as a broad approach, and how it might transform the writing of other fields, for example, economic history, the history of science and technology, or the history of colonialism. Researchers are expected to take an active part in the seminar discussion based on the readings for each session. In addition, sessions will be introduced by a brief presentation of the readings by one or two participants in the seminar.


8 October: Introduction

  • S. Conrad, What is Global History? (Princeton, 2016), introduction and ch.4.
  • Jeremy Adelman ‘What is Global History Now?'
  • Richard Drayton and David Motadel, ‘Discussion: The Future of Global History’, Journal of Global History, 13:1 (2018), pp. 1-21.

15 October: Methodological approaches

  • P. O’Brien, ‘Historiographical Traditions and Modern Imperatives for the Restoration of Global History’, Journal of Global History, 1 (2006), pp. 3-39.
  • Martin Dusinberre, ‘Japan, Global History, and the Great Silence’, History Workshop Journal, 83:1 (2017), pp. 130–150.
  • G. Austin, ‘Reciprocal Comparison and African History: Tackling Conceptual Eurocentrism in the Study of Africa's Economic Past,’ African Studies Review 50:3 (2007), pp. 1-28.

22 October: Why Some Grew Rich and Others Did Not

  • K. Pomeranz, ‘Political Economy and Ecology on the Eve of the Industrialization: Europe, China and the Global Conjecture,’ American Historical Review, 107: 2 (2002), pp. 425-446.
  • Prasannan Parthasarathi and Kenneth Pomeranz, ‘The Great Divergence Debate’, in Tirthankar Roy and Giorgio Riello, eds., Global Economic History (London, 2019), 19-37.
  • Angus Deaton, The Great Escape: Health, Wealth, and the Origins of Inequality (Princeton University Press, 2015), pp. 1-22 (‘Introduction) and pp. 59-100 (ch. 2).

29 October: Spaces of Global History

with the participation of Jürgen Osterhammel (University of Konstanz)

  • J. Osterhammel, The Transformation of the World. A Global History of the Nineteenth Century (Princeton, 2014), ch.3 (‘Space: Where was the Nineteenth Century?’).
  • Martin W. Lewis, Kären E. Wigen, The Myth of Continents a Critique of Metageography (Berkeley, 1997), introduction and chapter 1.
  • David Armitage, Alison Bashford, Sujit Sivasundaram, eds., Oceanic Histories (Cambridge, 2017), pp. 1-28 (‘Introduction: Writing World Oceanic Histories’). 

5 November: Empires and Global History

  • Jane Burbank and Frederick Cooper, Empires in World History: Power and the Politics of Difference (Princeton, 2010), pp. 1-22.
  • Peter Turchin, ‘A Theory for Formation of Large Empires’, Journal of Global History, 4:2 (2009), pp. 191-217.
  • Julian Go, Patterns of Empire: The British and American Empires, 1688 to the Present (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012), ‘Introduction’, pp. 1-27 and ch. 4 ‘Imperial Forms, Global Fields’, pp. 132-163.
  • Daniel Immerwahr, How to Hide an Empire: A History of the Greater United States (New York, 2019), introduction, pp.3-19

12 November: Micro-global History

  • Francesca Trivellato, ‘Is there a future to Italian Microhistory in the Age of Global History?’ California Italian Studies, 2:1 (2011).
  • John-Paul A. Ghobrial, ‘Introduction: Seeing the World like a Microhistorian’, Past & Present Special issue on ‘Global History and Microhistory’, forthcoming October 2019; or Romain Bertrand, and Guillaume Calafat, ‘Micro-analyse et histoire globale’, Annales, 73:1 (2018).
  • Amy Stanley, ‘Maidservants' Tales: Narrating Domestic and Global History in Eurasia, 1600-1900’, American Historical Review, 121:2 (2016), pp. 437–460.

19 November: Gender

  • Merry E. Wiesner-Hanks, 'Adjusting Our Lenses to Make Gender Visible'. Early Modern Women: An Interdisciplinary Journal, 12:2 (2018), pp. 3-32.
  • Alison Bashford, ‘Bioscapes: Gendering the Global History of Medicine’, Bulletin of the History of Medicine, 89:4 (2015), pp. 690-695.
  • Ulrike Strasser and Heidi Tinsman, ‘It’s a Man’s World? World History Meets the History of Masculinity, in Latin American Studies, for Instance’, Journal of World History, 21:1 (2010), pp. 75-96.

26 November: Migration

  • Valeska Huber, Channelling Mobilities: Migration and Globalisation in the Suez Canal Region and Beyond, 1869-1914 (Cambridge, 2013), ch. 4 (‘Bedouins and caravans’)
  • Sunil S. Amrith, Crossing the Bay of Bengal: The Furies of Nature and the Fortunes of Migrants (Harvard University Press, 2013), ch. 4  (‘Human Traffic’)
  • Adam McKeown, "Periodizing Globalization", History Workshop Journal, 63 (2008), pp. 218-229.

3 December. Environment and the Anthropocene

  • Julia Adeney Thomas, ‘History and Biology in the Anthropocene: Problems of Scale, Problems of Value’, American Historical Review 119:5 (2014), pp. 1557–1588.
  • J.R. McNeill, ‘The Environment, Environmentalism, and International Society in the long 1970s’, in Niall Ferguson et al., eds., The Shock of the Global: the 1970s Perspective (Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press, 2010), pp. 263-278.
  • Diana K. Davis, The Arid Lands: History, power, knowledge (Cambridge, MA: 2016), ch.4 (‘Imperialism and the Desert Blame Game’).

And a video lecture:

  • Dipesh Chakrabarty, Keynote Lecture: The Anthropocene Project. An Opening. HKW Anthropocene

10 December. Conclusion

Students will choose readings for the final meeting. 






Page last updated on 22 October 2019