Nation, Region, and Globe: Alternative Definitions of Place in World History


Author: Little, Daniel
Almanac: Globalistics and globalization studiesGlobal Transformations and Global Future.

The paper begins in the recognition of the importance of ‘world history’ and considers some of the current challenges this field faces. It considers several important contributions to the field that illuminate the value of fresh approaches: James Scott's construction of ‘Zomia’, Emmanuel Todd's historicization of ‘France’ as a nation, Bin Wong and Kenneth Pomeranz's new approach to Eurasian economic history, and Victor Lieberman's analysis of the strange synchrony between Southeast Asia and Western Europe over a millennium of political development. The essay concludes with several historiographical maxims: avoid eurocentrism, expect variation, look for mechanisms of inter-connection, avoid capture by ‘nation-state’ concepts, and pay attention to different schemes of historical time.

Keywords: world history, eurocentrism, Southeast Asia, Western Europe, nation, region, historiographical maxims.