Österreichische Zeitschrift für
20/2009/2: Global History
Sequenz: ÖZG - Einzelhefte / ÖZG-Home Page
Who is afraid of global history? Ambitions, pitfalls and limits of learning global history, ÖZG 20/2009/2, 22-39. [Abstract]
Global History in
a National Context: The Case of
Writing Global History (or Trying to), ÖZG 20/2009/2, 59-74. [Abstract]
Jack A. Goldstone
From Sociology and Economics to World History, ÖZG 20/2009/2, 75-90. [Abstract]
Big History: The longest 'durée' , ÖZG 20/2009/2, 91-106. [Abstract]
H. Floris Cohen
The Rise of Modern Science as a Fundamental Pre-Condition for the Industrial Revolution, ÖZG 20/2009/2, 107-132. [Abstract]
Global economic history: a survey, ÖZG 20/2009/2, 133-169. [Abstract]
"I would be flattered to think that anyone saw me as globally broad-minded!" An interview with Felipe Fernández-Armesto
by Peer Vries, ÖZG 20/2009/2, 170-183.
A global history of Manila in the beginning of the Modern Era, ÖZG 20/2009/2, 184-202.
Global history, or world history, to me the two terms
are interchangeable, is in very good shape at the moment. Its practitioners are
well-organised. There is a World History Association (WHA) with many branches
and a European Network in Universal and Global History (ENIUGH), which
Many students are at least introduced in the subject.
According to Felipe Fernández-Armesto, in the interview I conducted with him
for this issue of OEZG, at the moment, in the USA and Canada alone, over
300,000 undergraduates are taking some kind of course in it. An increasing
number of universities there are offering Master programs for interested
students. The same goes for
There is no lack of possibilities to publish. The
Journal of World History has already entered its twentieth year of existence.
Four years ago the first issue of the Journal of Global History came on the
market. Itinerario. International Journal on the History of European Expansion
and Global Interaction is already over thirty years old, although it started
under a different name that indicated that initially its focus was more
exclusively on European expansion and the reactions it provoked. Those who read
German are not short of publications either. Just think of Zeitschrift für
Weltgeschichte, the journal of the Verein für Geschichte des
Weltsystems, or Comparativ that some time ago got a new subtitle: Zeitschrift
für Globalgeschichte und Vergleichende Gesellschaftsforschung.
Journal Saeculum. Jahrbuch für Universalgeschichte actually already exists
since 1950. There are ample possibilities to publish and discuss on internet.
H-world Net provides a popular and intensively used discussion forum. World
History Connected [www.worldhistoryconnected.org], an internet journal, has
just entered its sixth year with an entirely renewed format. It gives access to
various websites and services. In
There is no lack of general overviews of what has already been done in the field of global history or of introductions showing how to practise it. Let me refer to some very recent examples. To begin with, there is Patrick Manning's Navigating world history. Historians create a global past, the most complete overview up until now. Palgrave Advances in World histories, a book edited by Marnie Hughes-Warrington, provides an extensive discussion of various topics and themes in global history. In a book edited by Tony Hopkins authors deal with interactions between the universal and the local in a number of interesting case studies. In 2008 Eric Vanhaute published his Wereldgeschiedenis. Een inleiding. And finally, there now is an introduction by Pamela Kyle Crossley, called What is global history?1 For the German-speaking public Sebastian Conrad, Andreas Eckert and Ulrike Freitag quite recently edited a volume with a selection, and translation, of recent articles that can function as a survey of the current state of the art, preceded by a long, informative introduction.2 So did Jürgen Osterhammel, although he went further back in time and also selected some texts that are older but still have their relevance.3 In Austria, the University of Vienna has been quite active in promoting and discussing global history for already over a decade. Let me just refer to one recent publication, the book edited by Margarete Grandner, Dietmar Rothermund and Wolfgang Schwentker on globalisation and global history.4 The number of books and book series claiming to deal with world history has become too numerous to mention.5 There are encyclopaedias of world history6 and books dealing with the history of the writing of global history.7
All these indicators point in the same direction: global history is very much alive and has evolved into a mature discipline. It does not need an ump-tied 'in defence of '-text. I have never understood why global history would need so much defending anyhow, but considering its current boom, it is simply a waste of time and effort to try and explain that its existence would be a "Good Thing". Neither do I see much use in producing yet another publication full of declarations of intentions, announcements of plans, or theoretical reflections on principles. We have enough of those already. It is time to bother less about cooking books and focus on the actual cooking.8 That means, that in this issue of OEZG the reader can find survey articles, case-studies, and, in particular, articles in which practitioners of global history tell us about their career, their points of view and their actual work. History to a large extent is a craft. Analysing best practices and watching best practitioners is much more informative than trying to formulate and follow general rules and principles. I have consciously chosen to try and present a 'state of the art-overview' here which, without in any sense pretending to be exhaustive, gives an impression of what is actually going on in global history. Where possible, I have done so via concrete persons, projects and publications. The best way to know a tree is by looking at its fruits. In my introduction I will try to put the articles in this issue and the topics they are dealing with in perspective by showing how they fit into what global history has and has not achieved up until now.
If one wants to further one's career as a scholar,
writing a textbook is not usually regarded as a very efficient investment. If,
however, one wants to make an impact by one's writings, it probably is. Global
history in this respect is in a somewhat different position from most other
varieties of historical writing. Interest in it, especially in the
We managed to get contributions by two authors who recently have published a textbook: Felipe Fernández-Armesto, who is interviewed, and Eric Vanhaute, who wrote an article. The textbook by Fernández-Armesto, The world: A history, is very well-received and much discussed.9 It gives a sweeping overview of the history of the world in which, though of course not as neatly and strictly circumscribed as is the case in 'traditional' introductions in fields of history, time and place continue to function as the structuring principles of a text that, full of maps, charts, figures, pictures, comparisons, questions, anecdotes and vignettes, aims at giving the reader an overall survey. Its author is one of the most prolific (global) historians of this moment. He is outspoken, his work wide-ranging and widely-read. Interviewing him seemed an excellent way of charting what is going on in global history in general, while at the same time getting direct insights into the particular views of one of its eminent practitioners who, strikingly enough, as he himself indicates, was never educated to become a global historian.
Eric Vanhaute, professor at the
Much ink has been spilled over the question what
exactly global history would be. I will not enter into that debate here.
According to David Christian, it in any case means playing with scales, which
in practice boils down to covering broader graphical areas and longer periods
of time than 'ordinary' history.11 The study of time-periods which
are quite distinct from those most traditional historians - and even an
enthusiastic promoter of the longue duree like Braudel - tend to deal with,
overall has received a boost. I need only refer to two studies by Jared Diamond
that both had a huge impact, one providing a short history of everybody for the
last 13,000 years, and one analysing cases of ecological collapse stretching
over a period of many centuries.12 This extending of the time-frame
is taken to its limit by practitioners of 'big history', the branch of history
that deals with the complete story of the planet, life, and people from the Big
Bang to the present day.13 Big history is beginning to develop into
a subfield with various prominent practitioners like Fred Spier, David
Christian, Dan Smail, and Cynthia Stokes Brown and Christopher Lloyd.14
We are glad that David Christian responded positively to our request to write
an article for this issue. In it he discusses his intellectual development, his
work, and his inspiration, dealing amongst other things with the question
whether big history with its huge time scale and its broad interdisciplinary
approach has anything to offer to the 'professional' historian. Although,
overall, the natural sciences provide a friendlier environment for it, he
definitely thinks the answer must be positive. In his case too, the connection
with teaching is obvious: his career as 'big historian' began when he quite
enthusiastically, and naively, proposed at his university that one should teach
"the whole of history" and then started wondering whether it would be
possible to give a viable course on such a huge topic. And again, the
background of this global historian is that of an 'ordinary' historian. As
Christian indicates, he started his career as a historian who, influenced by
the French Annales-school and by British Marxist historiography, studied the
The effort of authors who 'confine' themselves to trying to encompass human history in its entirety has also already resulted in some fine syntheses. The most well-known example at the moment probably is the book by John and William H. McNeill on the human web, which, of course, also might function as a textbook. But their's is just one among many.15 Most global historians prefer a less extended time-frame. Not as well-known with the public at large and 'only' dealing with the pre-industrial world, is Patricia Crone's book from 1989. This excellent, concise volume with its thematic and analytical approach, to my view, has never received the attention it deserves.16 What is called 'the Ancient World' in Western historiography, as far as I can see, has not yet received a really global treatment. In the West at least, studies dealing with that period, tend to focus primarily on Greco-Roman Antiquity. There are signs, however, that interesting new perspectives are bearing fruit.17 For the Middle Ages, to again for the sake of convenience use Western chronology, to my knowledge, no global overviews have been published. Felipe Fernández-Armesto's Millennium. A history of our last thousand years at least deals with a substantial part of them.18 The same goes for Janet Abu-Lughod's book on the world system before European hegemony in which Eurasian and African connections are analysed, and for Hodgson's classic study on the venture of Islam.19 A fairly rare example of a more global, comparative approach for the medieval era can be found in Michael Mitterauer's Warum Europa?, where the author claims that the reasons why European history took such a specific course already lay in the Middle Ages and tries to support that claim by comparing developments in Europe with developments in the Islamic world and China.20 There are though, some promising attempts by scholars who write in German to further broaden the geographical scope of 'medieval' history.21
The early modern period undoubtedly is the period that
is covered best in global historical writing. One can point at various
overviews, e.g. Chris Bayly's The birth of the modern world.22 Less
well-known, as it is written in German, but definitely quite interesting, is
the one by Hans-Heinrich Nolte on empires, religions and systems during the
period from 1400 to 1900.23 A fascinating early example of a global
treatment of this period can be found in Fernand Braudel's, Civilisation
matérielle, économie et capitalisme, XVe-XVIIIe sičcle, a book that to my view
is far more interesting and revolutionary than the book on the Mediterranean
that made this author famous.24 In it Braudel, as expected, tends to
strongly emphasise the importance of the environment and of material life. This
emphasis can be found in many global histories dealing with this period. One
might think of studies dealing with what
For the modern era, especially the twentieth century, we still are less well-provided with good syntheses. Hobsbawm's four overviews - Age of Revolution, Age of Capital, Age of Empire, Age of Extremes - though certainly of high quality and still valuable, according to modern standards would not be considered as 'really' global.27 For the long nineteenth century, we now do have a global history, and even a superb and voluminous one: Jürgen Osterhammel's Die Verwandlung der Welt. Eine Geschichte des 19. Jahrhunderts. Osterhammel wrote an extensive article for this issue, but preferred not to devote it to his own work. His book, to my view a masterpiece that is bound to become a classic, deserves serious attention and discussion.28 For the twentieth century we of course have many efforts to describe and interpret it globally, but as yet no books that have acquired the status of a 'classic'.29 The efforts made by Peter Gran deserve mentioning for their originality.30 In Vienna, a series has been started, Globalgeschichte - Die Welt 1000-2000, that takes the concept of a century quite literally and may also present a good overview of the twentieth century.31 Other time-frames are of course possible. Some authors focus on the global history of just one year, for example 1688, 1800 or 1968.32 The year 1000 apparently is very popular in this respect.33
All global historians try to get away from the national, territorial 'state-focus' and somehow become 'trans-national'. That is easier said than done: if it is not states, then what entities must be regarded as the 'bearers' of global history, or at least as its units of analysis? Entire continents like Eurasia, that Jared Diamond likes to contrast with other parts of the world and that members of the California School like to see as a world of "surprising resemblances"?34 Civilisations, as in Felipe Fernández Armesto's book with that title, in Marshall Hodgson's book on Islamic civilization, or in the many (text)books on Western Civilisation? World systems, in the sense that Andre Gunder Frank and Barry K. Gills use that term.35 Or rather world-systems - and empires - in the specific sense that Wallerstein uses these terms?36 Weltregionen, as is done in the Viennese series with that name? Or areas, as long was popular in so-called 'area studies'?37 Seascapes?38 Or rather empires?
The study of empires, in particular their rise and
fall, has a long and timehonoured pedigree and is very much en vogue amongst
global historians.39 We are therefore glad that John Darwin was
willing to contribute an article to this issue.
After that introduction,
The experimenting with different scales that is so
often regarded as characteristic for global history, can also mean connecting
the local with the global in an effort to see 'heaven in a grain of sand'. One
option then would be to try and combine a biographical approach with one that
focuses on global phenomena.42 Another one would be to try and
pinpoint global phenomena at one specific geographical site.43 The
research of Birgit Tremml, PhD student at the Institut für Wirtschafts- und
Sozialgeschichte in Vienna, may best be regarded as an example of such an
approach. Her research project she is reporting on in this issue, will be
finished in about three years. It focuses on the history of the
World historians, of course, can also focus primarily on certain topics or themes which they then try to cover globally.45 The very long-term perspective that is so popular amongst global historians quite often is combined with a wide geographical coverage and a strong emphasis on ecological conditions.46 A study like Felipe Fernández-Armesto's Civilizations, to which he refers in the interview, can count as an example. For its author, a civilisation is a specific relationship between the species of man and the rest of nature. He argues that civilizations have such strong geographical foundations that one can classify them according to environment.47 But he is just one amongst many global historians who think natural conditions are quite important in understanding human history. The study of topics like the history of ecology, disease and energy, has already matured to such an extent that the reader can choose among various good syntheses.48
That also goes for military history, of which, to my regret, we have no representative in this issue. This discipline that has long been primarily the reserve of self-referring specialists has evolved into one of the most innovative and open 'sectors' of historiography with many of its prominent practitioners quite willing to go global.49
Although I might be prejudiced, I tend to think that
in no sector of historiography global perspectives have become so prominent and
the debate so lively as in economic history. The topic par excellence in global
economic history, in particular in books dealing with the early modern era,
continues to be that of 'the West versus the Rest', in which 'the Rest'
increasingly tends to be identified with '
Global history of science and technology has also come of age. Here too, various syntheses have already been published, and here too, to be honest, many studies focus on the early modern period.56 In this special issue, we have contributions of two specialists in this field who will both publish a magnum opus during the course of this year. The first one is Floris Cohen who already wrote a widely acclaimed book on the Scientific Revolution and who is now finishing a book called How science came into the world. A comparative history.57 The other one is Jack Goldstone, the author of many articles and, amongst others, books on revolution and rebellion in the early modern world and on the rise of the West, who is now finishing a book on the origins of modern economic growth.58 Both authors are clearly interested in the Great Divergence. Readers very probably will be struck by the extent to which these authors, coming from opposite intellectual backgrounds, that of a macrosociologist with quantitative leanings in case of Goldstone and that of a historian of science and ideas in case of Cohen, end up with quite similar interests and a quite similar approach.
Cohen as historian of science wants to connect - or in
any case discuss connections between - economic history and the history of
science and technology, two fields between which, according to him, there
exists "a curious dichotomy". He claims that the rise of modern
science played a pivotal role in the rise of the West and sets out to answer a
couple of related questions: What do we mean by modern science? How could it
Goldstone was trained as a sociologist and acquired a
PhD in that discipline. He developed a strong interest in historical
macro-sociology and later on in quantitative economic history and global
history. In his article he tells how exactly this happened and gives an insight
in the workings of modern international academia that, according to him,
benefits from globalization. He is the person who coined the phrase '
Global history is clearly booming. There is a lot of activity in which many people are involved; there are many excellent and interesting publications. There of course also are problems, or rather 'challenges'. As yet, not all subfields of global history look equally well developed. It looks as if social history and women's history have to do some catching-up.59 That also seems to apply to religious history, although the number of books with global as well as religion in the title increases quickly.
One problem would be its place in ordinary, secondary schools; in the Netherlands e.g., as a student of mine discovered, attention to non-Western history in books used for teaching in secondary schools, over the decade from 1990 to 2000 as compared to the previous decade, in absolute terms decreased rather than increased.60 I would not be surprised if this were the exception rather than the rule. Then there is the position of those who teach it and write about it. Most of the people who do global history are not employed as global historians and often global history is not even mentioned in their job description. A look at the careers of the scholars writing in this very issue is enlightening in this respect. It means that, institutionally, the discipline is still quite weak. That of course brings us to the question of its further professionalization. The classic standards of professionalism for traditional historians are well-known: whatever else they may include, they in any case presuppose intimate knowledge of a confined field with its sources, archives and literature, and the ability to critically analyse one's primary source material. These requirements can not simply be transferred to global history. What can not be doubted is that a broad erudition covering different societies, judgement, and as a rule knowledge of more than one discipline are required, as all the articles in this issue clearly show. For example, the global study of Manila Birgit Tremml is writing, would, ideally, require the capability to read sixteenth- and seventeenth-century sources in Spanish, Japanese, and Chinese; knowledge of these languages in their current form to read secondary literature; very probably also working knowledge of a couple of other languages; acquaintance with the history of the regions involved and with comparative methods, and finally the capability to write down one's results in fluent English.
All this suggests that teamwork might be very important in global history. It clearly is in the collecting, constructing and standardising of data, as well as in making them available for researchers. Here there still is an enormous amount of work to be done. Currently exists - and very probably always will exist - a sometimes enormous imbalance in what we know and might know about various parts of the world. Teamwork is also the rule when it comes to providing the platforms for discussion without which any kind of serious modern scholarship would be impossible anyhow. The actual writing of monographs, however, still tends to be done by one or sometimes two persons and very probably that will continue to be the case. What in any case is needed is a 'professionalization' of research. That throws up the questions how to find and educate a new generation of researchers and how to find substantial and sustained funding. Who is willing to pay for the past of the world?
Then there of course is the problem of how to write
from a global perspective, assuming that this is what global historians are
supposed to do. Felipe Fernández- Armesto suggests that it implies writing like
a "[...] galactic museum-keeper, contemplating the world from an immense
distance of space and time and seeing it whole with a level of objectivity
inaccessible to us, who are enmeshed in our history".61 Apparently
he thinks such objectivity is possible as well as salutary. I personally have
severe doubts about that and would claim that in writing history a more
'engaged' perspective is not only unavoidable but also necessary because
otherwise one lacks focus in one's research and one's writing. In this context,
it is usually the danger of being Eurocentric, that is, almost ritually,
decried. What one may call the 'Eurocentrism of arrogance', that tends to claim
that the West and only the West has made history and has been the source of all
progress, is a phenomenon directly linked to that brief period in global
history that the West indeed was a dominant and progressive force. That period
appears to be coming to its end, which robs this kind of thinking of most of
its material base and in any case makes it much less convincing and acceptable.
History is 'provincializing'
The real problem now has become how to make global
history a really 'ecumenical' project. When it comes to the number of studies
that is devoted to them, some regions are clearly under-represented. In a way,
one might talk of a certain Eurasiacentrism in current global history. The
Americas but in particular Africa are underrepresented, although one must not
loose sight of the fact that Eurasia has always been home to the bulk of world
population. Far more problematic for global history than Western arrogance is
the persisting dominance up until now of what might be called 'the Western
way'. The West appears to still be dominating the agenda of global history in
terms of the questions that are asked, the terminology used, and the
interpretative models that figure as points of departure and reference.62
This can be explained by the fact that global history, like the modern
discipline of history as a whole, not only began as a Western project but, for
the time being, still is dominated by Western scholarship that is backed-up by
large amounts of resources. A majority of prestigious and well-endowed
institutions of teaching and research still are in the West. Much of the
material needed to study non-Western societies has over time been moved to the
West. Many important scholars who originally came from elsewhere, have found a
new home in the West too. Especially for
It is not by accident that this issue is in English: that has become, almost exclusively, the lingua franca of international scholarship. That clearly is not to everyone's liking and in any case food for thought. That brings us to the one article in this issue that we have not yet referred to, the one by Jürgen Osterhammel. He opens his analysis by pointing out that in Manning's Navigating world history there is not one reference to a living historian coming from a German speaking country. If one does not write in English, one apparently is not noted in the wider world. In a way, that of course is to be expected and 'normal'. If one wants to reach an international or even global public, one should write in an international or global language. German simply isn't such a language and will not become one in the future; actually only English is. One simply cannot expect many foreigners to learn German, a language that is sufficiently understood by, I guess, at most five percent of the world's population.
Osterhammel correctly points out though, that most
global historians, even if they may want to speak to the world, continue to
work in a context with an often distinctly national character and have a
national audience. This as a rule implies that they (also) have to speak to that
audience. The debates on global history and its practice unmistakably have a
distinct flavour in various countries across the globe, a fact that may very
easily be lost sight of when publications are not in the lingua franca of
modern scholarship. Even a discipline as global as global history, is clearly
connected to and rooted in certain, often national contexts or 'subcultures'.
In his succinct analysis of roots and varieties of global history in
Peer Vries /
1 Patrick Manning, Navigating world history. Historians create a global
2 Sebastian Conrad, Andreas Eckert and Ulrike Freitag, eds., Globalgeschichte. Theorien, Ansätze, Themen, Frankfurt am Main 2007.
3 Jürgen Osterhammel, ed., Weltgeschichte. Basistexte, Stuttgart 2008.
4 Margarete Grandner, Dietmar Rothermund and Wolfgang Schwentker, eds., Globalisierung und Globalgeschichte, Vienna 2005.
5 Let me only refer to two Viennese series: Edition Weltregionen, published by Promedia, and Globalgeschichte - Die Welt 1000-2000, published by Mandelbaum Verlag.
6 See e.g. Berkshire Encyclopedia of World History, senior editor William H. McNeill, Great Barrington Mass. 2005; World History Encyclopedia, editor Alfred J. Andrea, forthcoming. 7 For example, Benedikt Stuchtey and Eckhardt Fuchs, eds., Writing world history 1800-2000, Oxford 2003; George G. Iggers and Q. Edward Wang, with contributions by Supriya Mukherjee, A global history of modern historiography, Harlow 2008. See also the article by Patrick Karl O'Brien, Historiographical traditions and modern imperatives for the restoration of global history, in: Journal of Global History, vol. 1, issue 1 (2006), 3-39.
8 I take this expression from Jürgen Osterhammel, Die Verwandlung der Welt. Eine Geschichte des 19. Jahrhunderts, Munich 2009, 1305.
9 Felipe Fernández-Armesto, The world: A history, Upper Saddle River 2006; second revised edition, Upper Saddle River 2009.
10 Vanhaute, Wereldgeschiedenis.
11 See his contribution called 'Scales' in: Hughes-Warrington, Advances in World histories, 64-89.
12 Jared Diamond, Guns, germs and steel. The fates of human societies,
13 That at least is the way Christopher Lloyd puts it. See his, What on earth happened? The complete story of the planet, life, and people from the Big Bang to the present day, Bloomsbury 2008.
14 Fred Spier, The structure of big history: From the Big Bang until
15 In chronological order: Robert Wright, Nonzero: the logic of human
destiny, New York 2000; Clive Ponting, World history. A new perspective, London
2000; Noel Cowen, Global history: a short overview,
16 Patricia Crone, Pre-industrial societies,
17 See e.g., Walter Scheidel,
18 Felipe Fernández-Armesto, Millennium. A history of our last thousand
19 Janet L. Abu-Lughod, Before European hegemony: the world system A.D.
20 Michael Mitterauer, Warum Europa? Mittelalterliche Grundlagen eines Sonderwegs, Munich 2003.
21 See the article by Osterhammel in this volume, note 36.
22 Chris A. Bayly, The birth of the modern world, 1780-1914,
23 Hans-Heinrich Nolte, Weltgeschichte, Imperien, Religionen und Systeme 15.-19. Jahrhundert, Vienna, Cologne and Weimar 2005.
24 Fernand Braudel, Civilisation matérielle, économie et capitalisme,
XVe-XVIIIe sičcle, 3 vols.,
25 Alfred W. Crosby, The Columbian Exchange. Biological and cultural
consequences of 1492,
26 Military historians like Geoffrey Parker and Jeremy Black, have
published a lot about this period. For the global history of science and
technology that also tends to 'disproportionably' focus on the early modern
period see under note 56. For cultural exchange in
27 Hobsbawm's books were published in 1962, 1975, 1987 and 1994.
28 Osterhammel, Die Verwandlung der Welt. The book is no less than 1568 pages. It will be extensively discussed in a coming issue of Comparativ.
29 For an introduction in the literature see Michael Geyer and Charles Bright, World history in a global age, in: The American Historical Review, vol. 100, issue 4 (1995), 1034-1060, in: Comparativ, vol. 4 (1994), 13-45, one can fi nd their ideas presented in German in the article Gobalgeschichte und die Einheit der Welt im 20. Jahrhundert. We do have an excellent environmental history of the twentieth century: John R. McNeill, Something new under the sun. An environmental history of the twentieth century, New York 2000.
20 ÖZG 20.2009.2
30 See Peter Gran, Beyond Eurocentrism. A New View of Modern World
31 Globalgeschichte - Die Welt 1000-2000, Mandelbaum Verlag
32 John E. Wills, 1688. A global history, London 2001; Olivier Bernier, The world in 1800, New York 2000; Mark Kurlansky, 1968. The year that rocked the world, New York 2005.
33 See for a very recent example the journal GeoEpoche 35, 2/09, Die Welt im Jahr 1000.
34 Diamond, Guns, germs, and steel.
35 Andre Gunder Frank and Barry K. Gills, eds., The world system: fi ve
hundred years or fi ve thousand?
36 See for a brief recent explanation, Immanuel Wallerstein, World-systems analysis: an introduction, Durham 2004.
37 See e.g. Birgit Schaebler, ed., Area Studies und die Welt. Weltregionen und neue Globalgeschichte, Vienna 2007.
38 See note 110 of my article in this issue.
39 See, e.g. in chronological order: Paul Kennedy, The rise and fall of
the great powers. Economic change and military confl ict 1500 to 2000,
40 John Darwin, After Tamerlane. The global history of empire, London 2007, 491.
41 This 'strategy' is also used by contributors to this volume. See e.g.
the article by Vanhaute, where he refers to the commodity-chain analysis that
his PhD-student Abbeloos is performing, and my Zur politischen Ökonomie des
42 See e.g. in chronological order: Roxann Prazniak, Dialogues across
civilizations. Sketches in world history from the Chinese and European
43 A very original strategy of looking for the global in the local is used by Timothy Brook, who in his book, Vermeer's hat. The seventeenth century and the dawn of the global world, New York 2008, looks for traces of globalisation in Vermeer's paintings.
44 For this claim see in particular Dennis O. Flynn and Arturo Giráldez, e.g. in their Globalization began in 1571, in: Barry K. Gills and William R. Thompson, eds., Globalization and global history, London and New York 2006, 232-247.
45 There is actually a series called Themes in global history, published by Routledge Publishing House.
46 Fernand Braudel, La Méditerranée et le monde méditerranéen ŕ l'époque de Philippe II, Paris 1949. See for the comment that ecology fi gures so prominently in the work of many global historians, Jerry Bentley, 'Web browsing', in: History and Theory, vol. 44 (2005), 102-112.
47 Felipe Fernández-Armesto, Civilizations, London 2001, Introduction.
48 For some very recent syntheses, see, in alphabetical order: J. Donald Hughes, An environmental history of the world: Humankind's changing role in the community of life, London 2009; Clive Ponting, A new green history of the world: The environment and the collapse of great civilizations, Harmondsworth 2007; I.G. Simmons, Global environmental history, Chicago 2008. For an important contribution in German, see Joachim Radkau, Natur und Macht. Eine Weltgeschichte der Umwelt, Munich 2000. There is a paperback-edition with a new afterword, Munich 2002, and an English version, together with Thomas Dunlap, Nature and power. A global history of the environment, Cambridge 2008. For the history of diseases, see e.g., Dorothy H. Crawford, Deadly companions. How microbes shaped our history, Oxford 2007, and Mark Harrison, Disease and the modern world: 1500 to the present day, Cambridge 2004. For the history of energy see e.g., Vaclav Smil, Energy in world history, Boulder, San Francisco and Oxford 1994, and Alfred W. Crosby, Children of the sun: a history of humanity's unappeasable appetite for energy, New York 2006.
49 The amount of literature has already become enormous. Here, I simply refer the reader to the work of Geoffrey Parker and Jeremy Black.
50 David S. Landes, The wealth and poverty of nations. Why some are so
rich and some so poor,
51 For concrete critique on Eurocentrism and European exceptionalism, see
e.g. James M. Blaut, The coloniser's model of the world. Geographical
diffusionism and Eurocentric history,
52 For an analysis of the ideas of the members of this school, see Jack A. Goldstone, Why Europe? The rise of the West in world history, 1500-1800, Boston 2008, and Peer Vries, The California School and beyond: how to study the Great Divergence?, in: Journal für Entwicklungspolitik/Austrian Journal of Development Studies, vol. 24, issue 4 (2008), 6-49.
53 Andre Gunder Frank, Reorient. Global economy in the Asian Age,
54 Robert B. Marks, The origins of the modern world. A global and ecological view, Lanham 2002; Goldstone, Why Europe.
55 For a synthesis see Patrick Manning, Migration in world history,
56 See e.g. in chronological order: Michael Adas, Machines as the
measure of men: science, technology, and ideologies of Western dominance,
57 H. Floris Cohen, The Scientifi c Revolution. A historiographical
58 Jack A. Goldstone, Revolution and rebellion in the early modern
59 In Journal of World History, vol. 18, issue 1 (2007), special attention is given to the position of social history and women's history in world history. See Forum: Social history, women's history, and world history. The history of labour has always fi gured very prominently in social history. Here the recent book edited by Marcel van der Linden, Workers of the World. Essays toward a global labor history, Leiden 2008, shows one is indeed catching up quickly.
60 I refer to Jonathan Even-Zohar, World History in education.
Non-Western history in school textbooks: a quantitative and comparative
analysis. This text was submitted as Master Thesis for the study of history at
61 Fernández-Armesto, Millennium, Preface and Prologue.
62 See for an analysis e.g. Arif Dirlik, Performing the world: reality and representation in the making of world histor(ies), in: Journal of World History, vol. 16, issue 4 (2005), 391-410; Dominic Sachsenmaier, World history as ecumenical history, in: Journal of World History, vol. 18, issue 4 (2007), 465- 489. Giorgio Riello, La globalisation de l'histoire globale: une question disputée, in: Revue d'Histoire Moderne & Contemporaine, vol. 54, issue 4 bis, 2007, Supplement, 23-33.
Who is afraid of global history? Ambitions, pitfalls and limits of learning global history, pp 22-39
This essay debates the present state of global history from four angles: defining global history, debating global history, teaching global history, and researching global history. My comments and suggestions reflect my own experiences, but also configure and support the choices I make in my teaching and research missions. We are witnessing new, global shifts as the centuries-long hegemony of European and Western societies and theories are increasingly challenged. This urges us to broaden and deepen the paths of global history. This is an essential task since the topics that we are dealing with have never been bigger, the questions we are tackling have never been more important, and the stakes have never been higher.
Global History in
a National Context: The Case of
The article distinguishes between various forms of
macrohistory. It analyses their respective representation in German historical
scholarship during the twentieth century, with special emphasis on recent
decades. Reasons for the prevalence of certain historiographical traditions
over others and for the comparative weakness of world history and global
history in contemporary
Writing Global History (or Trying to), pp. 59-74
Writing global history confronts the historian with a series of challenges, some new, some (on closer inspection) quite familiar. This article examines several of the more obvious of these and attempts to explain how far the author took them into account in constructing an account of world history over the longue duree in After Tamerlane: the rise and fall of global empires 1400-2000 (2007). It also presents a necessarily brief summary of some of the criticisms that the book's reviewers have made.
H. Floris Cohen
The Rise of Modern Science as a Fundamental Pre-Condition for the Industrial Revolution, 107-132
No viable account
of the rise of the modern world in 19th century
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