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Global History Workshop 2014

Narrating an Entangled World:

to What End(s) do we Write Global History?

March 21-22, 2014


Karl Jaspers Centre, Room 212


A13 Subaltern Diplomacy, MC12 Floating Spaces

Global History, in its attempt to narrate stories of an entangled world, is confronted with several challenges on different levels: the need for an adapted methodology enabling an altered read of conventional and the acquisition of new sources, the rethinking of established categories, concepts and their Eurocentric implications, and finally the reflection of possible meta-narratives. In other words, how do we write “global narrations” and where do they lead to? Older narratives, like National History or Marxist History were told along a predefined teleology and were furthermore directed towards a specific destination (e.g. the sovereign nation-state or a world-wide rule of the worker class). Does Global History lack such a linear storyline? If so, does it need one and do we as researchers share a common intention? Or are we telling stories with an open ending?

The five different sessions in the workshop will provide a platform for the presentation and discussion of ongoing research conducted by PhD, and Post-Doctoral scholars in the field of Global History. Based on these empirical case studies, each session shall bring the debate to a theoretical level and contribute to the overarching aim of the workshop which is essentially to encourage the participants to think about eventual meta-narratives.

On the first day of the workshop, we will examine central analytical concepts – 1. Ideas and Practices, 2. Actors and Networks, 3. Gender and Hierarchies – and discuss their value for Entangled History. The sessions on the second day will then move from concepts to dimensions: acknowledging time and space as inevitable reference points of historical writing, we will explore their relation to and significance for our research. A complementary round table session at the end of the workshop will provide the opportunity for an open discussion of the issue of big narratives in the history of an entangled world: to what end(s) do we write?

Key visual: map credits David Rumsey

Some impressions