Reconceptualizing Global History: On the Role of Global Connections in History

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Roland Wenzlhuemer (Heidelberg University)

During the last decade, Global History has become firmly established in the wider field of historical studies – in research practice as well as institutionally. Interestingly, however, Global History has so far seen surprisingly little debate about the capacity and scope of its key analytical terms. In some cases, established terms have been taken over and introduced to Global History without specifying the implications regarding the field’s research agenda (think, for instance, of terms such as actors, globalization or comparison). In other cases, seminal terms have been black-boxed and not discussed as regards their analytical potential (the key term connection is a case in point). On the one hand, the terminological and analytical fluidity resulting from this practice creates a certain empirical flexibility that can foster an innovative research environment. On the other hand, however, this analytical fuzziness also makes it hard to establish exactly what impact global entanglements actually had on the course of human history and at which point they introduced a new quality to historical developments. In this lecture I suggest to take a good look into some of Global History’s analytical black boxes and to reconsider how what we find there impacts on the place of the field in historical research.

Venue: Internationales Kolleg Morphomata, Weyertal 59, 50937 Köln, 17.45-19.15