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Global Conceptual History

Project: Research

  • Schulz-Forberg, Hagen (Participant)
  • Stråth, Bo (Participant)
  • Chakrabarty, Dipesh (Participant)
  • Majumdar, Rochona (Participant)
  • Singh, Mohinder (Participant)
  • Meyer, Morakot Jewachinda (Participant)
  • Kharkhordin, Oleg (Participant)
  • Tian, Hailong (Participant)
  • Laitinen, Kauko (Participant)
  • Peng, Jiang (Participant)
  • Qineng, Chen (Participant)
  • Sachsenmeier, Dominic (Participant)
  • Iwatake, Mikako (Participant)
  • Park, Myoungkyo (Participant)
  • Makdisi, Ilham (Participant)
  • Hamzah, Dyala (Participant)
  • Odman, Asli (Participant)
  • Kettunen, Pauli (Participant)
  • Harbsmeier, Christoph (Participant)
  • Avonius, Leena (Participant)
  • Pannu, Paula (Participant)
  • Karttunen, Klaus (Participant)
  • Ifversen, Jan (Participant)
  • Magnusson, Lars (Participant)
  • Marklund, Carl (Participant)
  • Pernau, Margrit (Participant)
  • Kone Foundation
  • Asia-Europe Foundation Courtyard by Marriott
  • Renvall Institute
  • University of Helsinki
  • Chicago University
  • University of Chicago
  • Indian Institute of Advanced Studies
  • Srinakharinwirot University
  • European University of St. Petersburg
  • University of Lancaster
  • Chinese Academy of Social Sciences
  • Duke University
  • Seoul National University
  • Northeastern University
  • Zentrum für Moderner Orient, Berlin
  • Istanbul Bilgi University
  • University of Oslo
  • Asia-Pacific Studies of the Renvall Institute, University of Helsinki
  • Department of World Cultures, University of Helsinki
  • Department of Economic History, Uppsala University
  • European University Institute, San Domenico di Fiesole
  • Max Planck Institute
See relations at Aarhus University


Our long-term goal is to map an entangled global history of economic and social policies and politics. Entanglement should thereby not be mistaken for equal power relationships as is so often the case in the methodological use of the network metaphor. Entanglement does not only mean smooth market exchange but should also be analysed in terms of social hierarchies and inequalities and in terms of differences as to political power. Entanglements of social differences emerge within as well as between societies.
Our conceptual perspective is developed under demarcation to teleological and evolutionary approaches in conventional economic history and history of international relations, for instance, with pretensions to take a global view. The role of language is crucial and there is no social reality that can be described and conceptualised beyond the limits set by language. The openness and uncertainties of future in historical processes must be underlined. Contingency – in the sense of not necessary, not impossible – is a better analytical term than cause. Cultures should not be understood in homogeneous terms but as space of interpretation and reflection, communication and social contention, social bargaining and work on problem resolutions, with fluid and contested borders.
The conceptualisation of the social, the political and the economic has occurred in a semantic field of Western provenience. Religion, civilisation and culture are Western terms, too. The argument can against the backdrop of this bias be brought forward that this is a problem of communication in an ever more global world. The crucial question is to what extent the European or Western view can be relativised. Dipesh Chakrabarty in his postcolonial critique seems to argue that this is a rather impossible undertaking. Although he recognises the Enlightenment values as a European achievement for the world, and that no Indian history can be written without integrating the colonial experience, his prescription for “provincialising Europe” is to reject such a history and write an alternative story independent of Europe which would mean a communicational rupture. It is easy to agree with Chakrabarty’s view that colonialism produced a world image where it became “normal” to think of England as a rich country and India as a poor country. His argument that he and other historians of Asia (and one could add Africa) must pay attention to the academic production of their European colleagues, who must not consider the scholarly production in Asia and Africa is a serious critique. The challenging question that Chakrabarty’s argument provokes is whether the Western bias can be transgressed and whether global communication across cultures and civilisations can be established.
Effective start/end date11/03/200817/03/2011


Research outputs

ID: 128973639