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“Global History”and the Compilation and Editing of Early World History in Modern Times

By Liu Xincheng

Published in World History, Vol 1, ?2006, pp.39-46.

Abstract :

Global history, as a historiographical school arised in the United Sates in the second half of the 20th century, and has gained an ever wider attention in western or even the world’s historical profession. The current trends of globalization, flourishing post-modernist thoughts, and ever more frequent international academic exchanges constitute the international environment and academic background for the emergence of global history. Global history, in taking the whole process of human social development as its narrative target and transcending the western tradition of having national states as narrative units, seeks as its task the subversion of Eurocentricism from the perspective of academic genesis. It starts from the new perspective of interact ion between different communities, societies, nationalities and national states in examining world history and establishes a new framework for world history compilation, and therefore presents a number of unique features of the times and illuminating theoretical insights. How ever, global history, by ignoring the examination of the internal driving force of different societies, also exhibits some theoretical weaknesses. The world wide horizontal relationship has always been a weak link in China’s world history research. Global history, in amending this deficiency, supplies us with some important lessons in this regard. This paper is an attempt to share with relevant scholars some of those lessons in borrowing theories and methodologies of global history in the present author’s world history compilation, or more specifically, that of amending the early modern part of the World History compiled and edited by Wu Yujin and Qi Shirong.