Can national histories be global?

06.12.2018 - 16:00 - 17:45 Add to calendar

In the past ten years, the global history approach has pervaded academic curricula, research and departmental structures in many European universities. Even researchers studying the history of single nations are now expected to include the global dimension in their projects, having to deal with the paradox of overcoming the very frame which justifies the existence of their research field. 2017 saw a reflection of these academic trends within European societies, through the stunning popular success of collective books proposing a global history of the nation (especially Histoire Mondiale de la France and Storia Mondiale dell’Italia). These books carry an agenda which is not only methodological, but also political, as they speak for a history that helps build a more open society. By the same token, they have unleashed political controversies, especially in France where critiques have feared that national identity might be threatened if historians decline responsibility to offer a récit national (a “national story”) to the people.
Is it possible to write a “globalized” national history that does not reproduce the spatial limitations which it claims to challenge? And doesn’t the idea of a globally framed national history collide with the original purpose of global history to de-center and decolonize knowledge? This roundtable will be an occasion to discuss these questions by evaluating the opportunities that global history and national histories can bring to each other.

Maud Chirio (University Paris-Est, co-author) will present the preparation, goals and reception of the book Histoire Mondiale de la France (org. Patrick Boucheron, Seuil 2017). She will report on her contributions about the entanglements between France and Latin America.

Pierre Eichenberger (University of Zurich) will discuss the project of writing a collective, transnational history of Switzerland

A response to this input will be proposed by Martin Dusinberre and Simon Teuscher, professors at the University of Zurich.

An open discussion will follow.

Organisé par: 
University of Zurich
Lieu de l'événement
University of Zurich, Raum: KOL G-203
Rämistrasse 1
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