Global Cultural History 12th Annual Conference of the International Society for Cultural History
26–29 June 2019
Tallinn University, Estonia
The International Society for Cultural History invites paper and panel proposals for its 2019 annual conference on Global Cultural History.
It is fair to say that globalisation has forced and inspired historians to search for spatial alternatives in making sense of the past, to pay more attention to supranational and transregional connections and networks. These searches have given rise to a number of approaches that, under various names such as transnational history, connected history, entangled history or global history, share the same desire to move beyond conventional geopolitical articulations and discrete civilisations, to turn the concept of space again into a significant theoretical category in historical research.
Unlike traditional universal or world history, these new trends (which one could, for convenience’ sake, group under the name of global history) do not tell a story about everything that has come to pass in the world – ‘global’ does not refer so much to the object of study but to a perspective that focuses on connections, entanglements, exchanges and integration. Global history is interested in alternative spatialities, in mediators and go-betweens who establish connections, and takes structured integration of the world as its primary context. Global cultural history aims to move beyond the incommensurability of cultures and of teleological narratives, emphasizing the processes of mediation, translation, exchange and integration, both in individual and collective level.
Global cultural history sets also store by what has been called ‘scale shifts’ – a study of past phenomena on different scales so as to bring to light unexpected associations, link seemingly isolated phenomena, map overlapping spaces. It becomes ever more important in the study of history not to set out from a given spatial framework but to follow the ideas, people, and things selected for study, no matter where they may lead. Thus, history becomes a multilayered and intertwined process wherein the different layers are characterised by a different logic, a different tempo, and a different geographical extension. The emergence of the global perspective of (cultural) history does not imply the loss of the local dimension; instead, it becomes important to discuss local and global, micro- and macrohistory conjointly.