Writing Global History in Early Modern Europe

AHA Session 9
Thursday, January 4, 2018: 1:30 PM-3:00 PM
Maryland Suite B (Marriott Wardman Park, Lobby Level)
Anthony Grafton, Princeton University
Richard Calis, Princeton University
Frederic Clark, New York University
Surekha Davies, Western Connecticut State University
Anton Matytsin, Kenyon College
Michael Thomas Tworek, Harvard University

Session Abstract

While the global and transnational turn have become somewhat of a mainstay in contemporary studies of the past, global or universal histories have a much longer and richer history. Encountering rapidly growing amounts of information the civilizations of Asia, Africa, and of the Americas, European scholars frantically tried to compose histories of various regions and to combine them into coherent narratives of universal histories. In an age of inter-continental empires and composite monarchies, national or local histories could not adequately capture the complexities of trans-regional interactions among various peoples. This is also a period during which scholars began to pay increasing attention to periodization and to articulate a vision of distinct eras or epochs in the history of human development, making comparisons among the different civilizations. This panel will examine the different approaches that early modern scholars adopted in writing the histories of various regions and diverse peoples.
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