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Discussion: The futures of global history

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Richard Drayton, David Motadel

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-21
Number of pages21
JournalJournal Of Global History
Issue number1
Early online date14 Feb 2018
Accepted/In press15 Nov 2017
E-pub ahead of print14 Feb 2018
Published1 Mar 2018


King's Authors


Global history has come under attack. It is charged with neglecting national history and the 'small spaces' of the past, with being an elite globalist project made irrelevant by the anti-globalist politics of our age, with focusing exclusively on mobile people and things, and with becoming dangerously hegemonic. This article demonstrates that global history is intertwined with the histories of the nation and the local, individuals, outsiders, and subalterns, and small and isolated places. Moreover, global history has directly addressed immobility and resistances to flow, and remains relatively weak in the discipline, versus the persistent dominance everywhere of national history. The article offers a new short history of the rise of the contemporary idiom of global history, and a prospect for a future in which scholars may find, through collaboration, alternatives to the European weights and measures of the past, and to the dominance of Anglophone historians. It argues that we should no more reverse the 'global turn' than we should return history's gaze only to propertied white men. Rather than a retreat from global history, we need it more than ever to fight against myths of imperial and national pasts, which often underpin nationalist populisms.

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