Connections beyond borders

  • The interplay between imperial, comparative and transnational histories: how do they differ, what insights do they each bring?
  • What light can global history cast on the powerful propensity of human beings to migrate, sometimes on vast scales, including free as well as unfree labour? How have migrations produced significant shifts in the distribution of the world’s population: for example, via slavery? Why has such mobility often resulted in uneven and irregular connectedness, with great asymmetries existing alongside closer integration? Why have different phases of globalisation expanded personal and social horizons for some yet left others behind? Are there global patterns in the relationships between migration and empire?
  • The history of regions seen in a global context, and the histories of borderlands as spaces of global interconnection: how is the world ordered and how are new global connections built through regions? How do regions intersect with the larger flows of history? How have ‘frontier zones’ generated contact and conflict and resisted state structures? How have the regions which make historical sense shifted over time? How are regions defined and whose purposes do they serve?
  • How have informal, uncontrolled, global exchanges of things, thoughts and biota (including disease) affected human and environmental history? Do they enhance or subvert the grip of states, empires, and cultural hegemonies?

    Rethinking history via the global

    • Can global history, as a methodology, challenge traditional historical approaches derived from the unit of the nation state? Given that the discipline of history is shaped by its nineteenth-century Western origins, how does a global approach provide new ways of researching and teaching history?  How does it revise national histories and expand source bases beyond national archives?
    • Are there other ways of categorizing and organizing historical scholarship, beyond the nation state? Can the methods of global history encourage us to research, teach, and understand histories beyond our national identities?
    • How does a global approach encourage the reassessment of traditional historical concepts of chronology and periodization? How does a global approach re-define modernity, the medieval, and the ancient? How does it enable a reassessment of scale, time, and geography?
    • What is the relationship between global history and the history of empire? To what extent have empires (rather than nation-states) been the constant in human history – the default mode of political organisation? How have empires carved out new trans-border flows of people, goods, capital and ideas? How have they fostered, furthered, regulated, and exploited long-distance connections? 
    • Can global history accommodate the local, the gendered, the subaltern, and the voiceless? How far back in time should it go? Can comparison across time be as useful as comparison across space? Can global history deploy its techniques to help solve complex historical problems?


      Understanding globalisation by historicising globalisation

      • The history of globalisation: how do its roots extend back in time? Has globalisation turned an interconnected world into an interdependent one? Has it transformed the nature of human society, and challenged older bordered imaginations? In what ways was the birth of global capitalism marked by imperial power?
      • The different meanings of the concept of the “global” across different historical periods and different countries and cultures.
      • Understanding globalisation as much as a long-term historical process as a contemporary outcome, including the long-term development of economic interdependence and its relationship to technological innovation and scientific exchange.
      • The global history of rights, and the history of global governance: has globalisation tolerated, reinforced or even created difference? How can we recast struggles for inclusion, citizenship, and freedoms in ways which better reflect the full extent of their global reach? How and with what consequences have different types of international organisations, aimed at promoting co-operation between states and advancing international principles and rules, come into being?