Much contemporary debate relates to global patterns and global change, and also to the history of the European empires which were a key part of ‘globalization’ from the fifteenth to the twentieth centuries. This course addresses issues of growing concern, and builds on the current expertise within our department to offer a distinctive programme which is not found in any other Scottish university.
Read more …
Scotland has had a devolution process devoid of civil conflict. What can we learn from the Scottish experience that can be applied to similar processes in Africa, Eastern Europe and the Middle East? How can the Scottish experiment be sustained and what challenges will politicians, administrators, civil society agents and citizens face in the future? Leading international and Scottish academics and practitioners face these questions in an intensive, practice-orientated, course designed for researchers, professional development and activists.
Read more …
On Saturday 4th June 2016, the Scottish Centre for Global History hosted a very successful graduate student workshop at the University of Dundee on ‘Writing Global History and Its Challenges’, exploring a range of methodological issues with respect to Global History.
Graduate students and academic staff from the Universities of Dundee, Edinburgh and St. Andrews attended the workshop, which was led by Professor Geoffrey Parker of The Ohio State University (and currently Carnegie Centenary Professor at St. Andrews) and Professor Jürgen Osterhammel of the University of Konstanz (author of the magisterial The Transformation of the World: A Global History of the Nineteenth Century). It was absolutely fascinating to listen to these two formidable historians discussing the challenges they had faced in writing their own work on Global History.
The workshop consisted of three discussion sessions, each focused on a different theme. The focal question was to what extent, and how Global History required adjustments of “normal” historiographical methodologies and epistemologies. They discussed the lack of conceptualization of Global History (who is going to map the field?), and the fact that historians share the conceptual space with, for example, economists, whose understanding of globalization is very different from our own. For those of us who are not terribly interested in theoretical niceties, is it sufficient to simply regard Global History as one approach among many? They agreed that Global History focuses in particular on the reconstruction of webs of connections across large spaces and/or long timespans. We should try to avoid writing ‘feel-good’ history, though. In the case of empires, many of the exchanges across space and time were ordered in a hierarchical fashion –metropoles profiting from peripheral spaces, for example– and imposed by certain groups of people on others, resulting in, for example, the dispossession of the native and/or the enslavement or extermination of indigenous peoples. As historians, we should also ask ourselves the question what we do about peoples or areas that were (or are) non-connected, local, and remote. Where does globalization end? As always, in working through these problems, the fruitful discussions generated more questions than answers.
The event was organized by Dr Martine van Ittersum and Dr Felicia Gottmann, and co-sponsored by the Universities of Dundee and St. Andrews, the CUP journal Itinerario, and the Carnegie Trust for the Universities of Scotland.