Scale Questions in Global History Workshop 4-6 nov. 2015

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Workshop –
Scale Questions in Global History

EHESS, Paris / 4, 5 6 November 2015

Concept and Objective:

In global history studies that are not entrenched in the conventional frameworks of historical research, it is important to keep three “scales” in mind. These are the temporal scale, spatial scale and the scale of the subject.

What is the appropriate time scale for discussing a specific research topic? The time scale can range from entire history of the universe or the Earth (from birth up to the present) to minutes or seconds. What scale would be the most appropriate for our own topic? How should the periodization used in national or regional histories be treated in global history? Is a different periodization needed in global history?

The question of what is the appropriate spatial scale for discussing a specific research topic is also a challenging one. The spatial scale can range from the entire Earth or regions of the Earth to villages or towns. Global history, by definition, should be concerned with the “world.” But, the scale of the “world” varies. Sometimes, one can see the world in an island, or a person, or an institution. Sometimes, it is planetary. Sometimes, a single unit can cross scales from the micro to the macro levels. Indeed, one important turn in global history has been towards tracking subjects across a variety of scales to overcome dichotomous tendency to go global for “context” or go local for “detail”. As far as issues of space are concerned, it is helpful to differentiate between units and scales. Within the field of global history, historians have begun to explore alternative spaces beyond the nation states, ranging from oceans and large regions to networks and to micro-histories. But, whatever the unit of enquiry, historians can relate their unit of analysis to a variety of scales: local, national, regional, trans-Pacific, global. What are the advantages of opting for specific analysis of units? What are the effects of referencing multiple scales? To what extent do we locate causality on a global scale?

Furthermore, what is the appropriate scale of the subject being studied in a given research project? The subject of research can range from plants, animals, or individual or groups of people to the Earth as whole. It is possible to seek historical understanding and descriptions of a wide variety of subjects. Accordingly, the methods for understanding and writing historical narratives will inevitably differ by scale of the subject.
The question of scale is closely linked to the question of what the researcher wants to elucidate. In that sense, the question of scale is a shared concern for all global history researchers, irrespective of their specific research themes.


November 4th

3-7 pm

Joint event with the seminar : The Value of Human Being, ESOPP-CRH group

Salle du Conseil A
EHESS 190 avenue de France
M. Quai de la Gare (line 6)

Round table around Jeremy Adelman, Social Inequalities in Global Perspective

Jeremy Adelman, Introduction

Andreas Eckert, Humboldt University

Ines Zupanov, CNRS and EHESS

Jean- Fréderic Schaub, EHESS

November the 5th

EHESS 105 Bd Raspail M. Saint- Sulpice (line 4)

9:30- 1 pm

Antonella Romano, EHESS (Koyré Center), Globality and temporalities : what the 16th century tells us.

HANEDA Masashi, the University of Tokyo, A Strange Correspondence of Periodization between European and Japanese History

Etienne de la Vaissière, EHESS (Cetobac), Early Global Points of View.

SHIMADA Ryuto, the University of Tokyo, Describing the Early Modern World: Temporal and Spatial Analytical Problems and solutions in Using the Dutch East India Company Records

2 pm- 6 pm

Nancy Green, EHESS, CRH, A Century of Transnationalism: Immigration History and Historiography

MURAKAMI Ei, Kyoto University, Maritime History of Modern China

OTA Atsushi, Hiroshima University, Piracy and Emergence of Modern State in Asia

Marc Elie, CNRS (Cercec), How to re-integrate the Soviet experience in the transnational history of environmental concerns and mobilizations
(last third of the 20th century)

November the 6th

Room 9
EHESS 105 Bd Raspail

Joint event with the Global History Collaborative project (GHC) advanced seminar: Knowledge, Institution, Economies. Connected histories and global dynamics.

3-7 pm

Corinne Lefevre, EHESS and CNRS (CEIAS) The Mughals of India: imperial competition and cosmopolitanism

ZHONG Yijiang, the University of Tokyo, Citizen, Nation, and the Constitutional State in 19th-century Europe and Japan

Gyan Prakash, Princeton, Urban Form and Scale: Bombay, 1860-1940

Xavier Paulès, The worldwide dissemination of the Chinese game of fantan 番攤, 1850-1950

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