Historiography of the 20th and 21st Centuries

Historiography of the 20th and 21st Centuries


The lack of uniformity in historical writing and thought that are observed from the beginning of the 20th century until today is reflected in the many different criteria by which the main trends or historiographical schools usually take their name. [1]

These names can be derived from a philosophical approach (positivism), a journal (the French journal Annales), an author (Marx and the various forms of Marxism) or a university with which the trend is associated (like the Bielefeld school, in Germany). Likewise, an interpretive article that marks a milestone can give rise to a name, such as Lawrence Stone on “the return to narrative”). Other names have arisen from problems or challenges of the present (environmental history and global history). In some cases, it has been claimed that a previously neglected analytical or thematic category has identified trends such as the Alltagsgeschichte (history of daily life), the Italian microstoria and the history of women and/or gender. In some cases, a happy expression has come to designate a change of orientation, such as the “linguistic turn”.

Below, we present a brief overview of the most significant objectives, socio-cultural contexts, authors and works of the different historiographical trends distinguishable in the 20th and early 21st centuries, especially in the West. [2] Our tour starts with the dominant historiographical model in the early the 20th century and concludes with the commentary on the controversial role played by history in today’s media environment.


The dominant historiographical model in the early 20th century

Until the renewal of the writing of the history advocated by the French journal Annales d’Histoire Economique et Sociale in 1929, the predominant model for historians could be characterised as “history that does not neglect the story, attentive to the great figures, to the exemplary destinations, to the fate of nations and empires”. [3] A history of political predominance made through careful criticism of sources (especially texts), seen from above, punctuated by great (and not so great) events. A history that the militant Lucien Febvre, the co-founder of Annales with M. Bloch, and many others would later describe as “historicising history” and “histoire événementiel” (“factual history”).

From the point of view of the theory of history (of historiography as metahistory), this dominant historiographical model was a roughly harmonious combination of classical German historicism embodied by Ranke, Hegelian idealism and Comtian scientific positivism in an atmosphere prone to exalting the nation itself. It has been said that the history of France between 1870 (Franco-Prussian War) and 1914 (the start of the First World War) was a prelude to widespread patriotic mobilisation. [4]

The interest in this historiographical model that was demonstrated by the publication and systematic criticism of historical sources is still quite valid.


Historiographical renewal around the French journal Annales

The one-hundred-year anniversary of the foundation of the French journal Annales d’Histoire Économique et Sociale by Marc Bloch and Lucien Febvre will be celebrated in a few years[5]. It took place in 1929, at a socio-cultural crossroads: the university of a city, Strasbourg, that was returned to France in 1918. It arose almost without programmatic manifesto. After the harsh changes of World War II (in which Marc Bloch died fighting in the resistance against Nazism), [6] the journal resumed, appearing with its most lasting title: Annales. ESC (Economies, Sociétes, Civilisations). Fernand Braudel took over running it in 1957. By then, Braudel had already published his masterly study of The Mediterranean and the Mediterranean World in the Age of Philip II, [7] a great thesis that marks a historiographical milestone due to its articulation of the different historical tempos, the longue durée and the événement, the value given to geographical conditioning and the quality of its prose.

Among the many authors that could be classified as belonging to this “school” or trend grouped around the Annales, we might highlight Emmanuel Le Roy Ladurie, the author of Les Paysans de Languedoc (1966). This is a work of history of the kind so frequent among those historians. (After shifting from a quantitative socio-structural history with serial sources to an anthropological and narrative history, Le Roy Ladurie wrote Montaillou, village occitane in 1975.)

What were the aspirations of the Annales school? L. Febvre and M. Bloch wanted to broaden the historians’ field and make them aware of false objectivism, showing them that historical knowledge is obtained from the historian’s hypothesis and problems arising from the present, in close association with economics, geography and sociology. In addition, in the face of history centred on rulers, they aimed to accommodate the common man in a Europe shaken by the Soviet Revolution of 1917. They also desired to expand the subject of study, in pursuit of a total or comprehensive history, as well as the concept of sources.

Fernand Braudel died in 1985, covered with accolades. His works from the 1960s and 1970s on civilisations and their relationship to capitalism had been warmly received in some universities in the United States. The Annales school would be very influential in Latin countries such as Italy and Spain, whose university environments were familiar with the French language and culture. In recent decades, this influence has diminished considerably.

As an outsider, Couteau-Begarie has evaluated the strengths and weaknesses of the Annales school. [8] Its clearest strengths include its contributions to economic history, historical demography, the history of material culture, the history of mentalities and social history (although the latter suffers from a fundamental indeterminacy in Annales).

Regarding the limits or weaknesses of the praxis of the school, it has little interest in ancient history and the 20th century, showing a clear preference for research on the pre-industrial world of the Ancien Régime. One can speak of an elective affinity between the interest shown by Annales historians for the most stable structures and societies and the primacy given to mediaeval and modern history. In addition, Bloch comes from mediaeval history and Febvre from early modern history. As for the thematic areas, the Annales school hardly cultivates political history, the history of international relations and, with the important exception of Febvre himself, biography.

By focusing on the pre-industrial era, the Annales school distinguishes itself and contrasts with the German social history practiced by the Bielefeld school, with which, on the other hand, it is related.


The Bielefeld school in German historical social science

The name “Bielefeld school” is occasionally used to designate a historiographical trend, led above all by Hans-Ulrich Wehler and Jürgen Kocka, which was institutionalised with the foundation of a new university in Bielefeld (East Westphalia) in 1971 and with the launch of the journal Geschichte und Gesellschaft (“History and Society”) in 1975. The subtitle of this journal, “journal of historical social science”, indicates its orientation: to make history an interdisciplinary social science, in close relation with neighbouring social sciences, especially sociology (though also political science and economics). [9]

One characteristic of this school is the interest it shows in the use of explicit and systematic concepts that have emerged in the present to apply them flexibly to the past. The political-intellectual prism from which the study of the past was approached was a critical perspective regarding established societies and traditions and the dysfunctions of capitalist society. They wanted to produce an engagé or engaging story. [10] In this respect, this critique is similar to the one carried out by the Paramarxist school in Frankfurt, which had two outstanding exponents in Theodor Adorno and Jürgen Habermas.  After the catastrophic and inhumane experience of the National Socialist regime, the future expected and promoted by the Bielefeld school was a future of Kantian personal emancipation, social justice and civil liberty. The big question, which is far from being solved today, is the following: to what extent has the connection between economic and industrial development and civic progress to build a society of free and emancipated citizens in Germany been achieved and to what extent has it failed? Hence the interest that the Bielefeld school, unlike the Annales school, arouses in the contemporary political world. [11]


History as social science in the Anglo-Saxon world: the North American cliometricians

Anglo-Saxon historians in the United States and Great Britain, who are used to a more pragmatic cultural climate, have felt less inclined to delineate a systematic conception of history than German historians.

In North America, the attempt to overcome the historiographical model has come from supporters of a New History that involves a relaxed and eclectic association between historical research and the social sciences. These new or progressive historians of the first decades of the 20th century (Turner, Beard, Parrington) shared a certain evolutionism and a commitment to a frontier society undergoing democratisation. They stressed the rupture that had occurred in American society with the “pre-modern” European past (of the Ancien Régime). However, some of them not only underlined the elements of consensus, but also the internal confrontations within North American society.

In connection with the concerns of the New History, the historians of the Anglo-Saxon world engaged in a kind of methodological civil war. The supporters of the classic historiographical model clashed with those who advocated the new trends of opening it to the social sciences. In addition, the influence of the Annales crossed both the English Channel and the Atlantic. Testimonies of this new Anglo-Saxon historiographical climate were the foundation and development of the English journal Past and Present and of the American journal Comparative Studies in Society and History.

Beyond political contexts, there has been a fairly common trend: the use of quantification enhanced by the rise of the computer. In the 1960s, it was relatively common to apply quantification to various domains of social history: electoral behaviour (in relation to political science), demographic evolution, social mobility and economic processes (American cliometricians have even attempted retrospective econometrics).

One of the branches of cliometrics with more marked profiles is the New Economic History, whose most characteristic American representatives are Robert W. Fogel and Stanley Engerman. Their sophisticated retrospective econometrics studies apply counterfactual hypotheses. One such example is Robert Fogel’s 1964 study of what the economic growth of North America would have been like without the development of the railroad. In 1974, Fogel and Engerman provoked a great scientific and ethical controversy when they published a book investigating whether one can speak of the economic “profitability” of slavery in the southern states of the Union. [12] Fogel’s conclusive thesis in a later book (Without Consent or Contract, 1989) was that slavery did not end in the United States because it was economically inefficient, but because it is morally disgusting.


The evolution and diversification of Marxist historiography: from historical materialism to critical anthropology

Embodied in very different orientations, Marxist historiography takes its name from a 19th-century German thinker (Karl Marx) whose scientific-social theories and revolutionary utopias would leave a deep mark on the 20th century, which was bounded perhaps by two milestones: 1917, the year of the Soviet revolution led by a Russian Marxist (Lenin), and 1991, the year of the disintegration of the Soviet Union, the political colossus whose official ideology was a roughly genuine (or spurious) interpretation of Marxism.

One of the specific aspects of Marxism, compared to other social theories, is its close link to a great political project to overcome and replace capitalism¾a project that many identify with communism.

The collapse between 1989 and 1991 of “real socialism” in countries linked to the former Soviet Union, directed by the Communist Party, would have a great impact on the West, although it would be a distortion to view the approaches to history inspired by Marxism solely through the lens of the crisis that the historiographical paradigm has undergone since the late 20th century (a paradigm that has been a condensation, in a sense, of the hopes and frustrations of modernity). As a substitute (ersatz) for religion and as a Weltanschauung (all-encompassing view of reality, society and history), Marxism has lost almost all relevance. Nevertheless, the great influence and contributions that the different interpretations of Marxism have made to the theory and practice of history throughout the 20th century must be recognised. [13]

The historiographical renewal linked to Annales and the Bielefeld school is not completely understandable without taking the influence of Marxist thought into account. These two trends share several elements in common with Marxist thought about history: they consider it a social science, they understand that social formations have an evolutionary logic and progress through different stages and they demand the historian’s commitment: history must be at the service of social criticism.

Some contradictions (or at least powerful tensions) in the work of Marx and F. Engels help us to understand the heterogeneity of historiographical theories and practices that have claimed to be Marxist. The work of Marx (especially the mature Marx) and, even more, the work of Engels, have a key scientific, naturalistic, objectivist, dialectical and quasi-deterministic aspect underlying their view of human history. This is largely predetermined by general laws that lead relatively mechanistically to higher stages of development to socialism. In the analysis of social formations, socioeconomic conditioning (infrastructure) plays a decisive role. This global, evolutionary vision of infrastructural hegemony, which is also deterministic in part, is what Marx discusses in the introduction to his A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy (1859).

“In the social production which men carry on they enter into definite relations that are indispensable and independent of their will; these relations of production correspond to a definite stage of development of their material powers of production. The sum total of these relations of production constitutes the economic structure of society—the real foundation, on which rise legal and political superstructures and to which correspond definite forms of social consciousness. The mode of production in material life determines the general character of the social, political and spiritual processes of life. It is not the consciousness of men that determines their existence, but, on the contrary, their social existence determines their consciousness”. [14]

This somewhat reductionist and deterministic philosophical-historical aspect could be interpreted as predetermination of the results of historical research. Verification of the general scheme should be found in these results.

There is another aspect of Marxism that is hardly reconcilable with the previous one: the socio-critical, ethical perspective, which advocates a fairer society according to which objectivism is rejected as positivism. It is a concept that is also committed to adopting a problematising and interdisciplinary approach to the study of the social formations of the past.

Since the beginning of the 20th century, we find some marked differences between the more scientific-naturalistic and objectivist interpretation of the Austrian Marxist Karl Kautsky, Engels’ secretary, and the conception of Marxism proffered by the French politician and historian Jean Jaurès. This author of A Socialist History of the French Revolution (1901-1903), killed on the eve of the First World War, emphasised socialism’s aspiration to justice and also declared himself a disciple of Michelet.

After 1917, in the wake of the triumph of the Bolshevik revolution led by Lenin in Russia, Marxism-Leninism became the official ideology of the new Soviet state and the dogmatisation and simplification of Marxism began. This increased during the Stalinist era (1923-1953). Thus history, as a revolutionary weapon, became the servant of the nomenklatura (the ruling elite that monopolised the political and intellectual power in the Soviet Union and in the countries it controlled). [15] However, in some Eastern European countries that had a stronger tradition of intellectual pluralism and greater contact with Western Europe, such as Poland and Hungary, that political-ideological control left important cracks for valuable historical works to slip through.

Also in the West, Marxism has had great appeal for many historians in the 20th century. And it would later inspire the intellectual reflection of a large part of feminist historians. What have been the reasons for this fascination? There is the invitation to think in an integrated way about reality and social change, the search for intellectual and ethical certainties as a substitute for religion and the promise of achieving a unified world of progress that ends the domination of man by man (in masculine or feminine). The Marxist interpretation of history was easier than could be hegemonic in countries where the societal-ecclesial tradition, in a sense, was stronger than the liberal one (as in Latin and Ibero-American countries). This was especially the case when Marxism seemed to legitimise with singular force the struggle against right-wing dictatorships that sustained a social order with flagrant inequalities. Some historical Marxist trends have emerged in the United States and England, although they have rather been in the minority.

The distinction that has sometimes been made in the overview of Marxist historiography between a structuralist and culturalist trend, although orientative, is problematic. For the historians of the former, objective social relations of production and possession are the determining element of class consciousness, a capital aspect for revolutionary praxis. Key contributors to this trend include the French thinker Louis Althusser (Pour Marx, 1965; Lire Le Capital, 1966) and the British historians who have debated at length about the transition from the feudal mode of production (feudalism) to the capitalist one in Past and Present and other journals.

With a perspective stretching back several decades, the interpretation related to that trend that has had the most significance outside strictly Marxist circles has been Immanuel Wallerstein’s three-volume The Modern World-System (1974), clearly influenced by Braudel. In it, Wallerstein argues that the origins of capitalism and the relations of dependency of the countries on the periphery of the great colonial metropolises had already begun in the world economy of the 16th century. This theory has had a great impact on many of the historical interpretations of operational dependence in what is sometimes still called the Third World. [16]

The trend of culturalist Marxism also gravitates over the class struggle and the problem of domination, but emphasises the role of consciousness and culture as decisive and relatively autonomous factors in social action. This was expressed in The Making of the English Working Class, 1780-1832 (1963, 3 vols.), an emblematic work by Edward P. Thompson, perhaps the most important historian of this trend. The English working class is not simply the result of new productive forces. The social relations of production only exist within the framework configured by culture and consciousness. In addition, Thompson’s thought differs from classical Marxism in that he has less faith in progress, inherited from the ideologies that emerged in the 19th century. Industrialisation and technical progress, he argues, also produce losers who must be rescued from oblivion. Thus, in Thompson’s work, unlike in Althusser’s, we observe some elements in common with historicist hermeneutics according to which each time has its own value and the past is more than the path to the future. (The Past is a Foreign Country is the happy title that David Lowenthal gave to his now famous work on our ways of approaching the past, which he published in 1985.)

Starting from historical materialism, Marxist-inspired historiography has evolved in various directions and has in some cases been wedded to the return of a certain narrative and to the cultivation of a history that is closer to cultural anthropology (such as in the work of Carlo Ginzburg) than to retrospective sociology.

Perhaps, as L. Kolakowski has written, Marxism as a “scientific-social” project and system of thought has been the greatest utopia of the 20th century. Altogether, in historiographical practice, as an analytical instrument, Marxism has fostered long-term economic and social studies, a view of history from below and a need for historians to make their conceptualisation explicit. Yet there are quite a few historians of great theoretical significance that are far removed from Marxism, such as Pierre Chaunu and Reinhardt Koselleck.


The return of narrative, events and the questioning of socio-structural history: historiography in search of a new enriched narrative

In 1979, Lawrence Stone published a famous article in Past and Present in which he detected a change of orientation in historiographical praxis in France (J. Delumeau, G. Duby, E. Le Roy Ladurie), Italy (C. Cipolla), England (E. P. Thompson) and the United States (N. Z. Davis). [17] To describe this change in historical discourse, he used the word “narrative” as a shorthand symbol or code word. That change implied the recovery of the story, but was not limited to it. It also aimed to cover new elective affinities of history with anthropology and psychology and, to a certain extent, a cultural turn in the investigation of the past.

Large doses of quantification had watered down “the wine of human personality” in works of history and had diminished the appeal to readers, without offering interpretive consensus in return (such as whether the Industrial Revolution in England had raised or lowered workers’ standard of living, for example). In addition, the Western and Central European countries experienced a great cultural crisis in the 1960s and 1970s, one of whose expressions were the 1968 anti-authoritarian student revolts. This crisis indicated a climate of general scepticism about the great stories and all-encompassing sociological theories. At the same time, it expressed an ethical relativism that found an ally in cultural anthropology. Moreover, now confronted up close with Asian and African societies that it had previously dominated, the West fell into self-doubt and questioned the certainties that had emerged in much of the enlightened modern period. Cultural anthropology seemed to make it easier for “others”, distant in space or time, to provide explanations of their behaviour and ways of thinking from within.

The new narrative or enriched narrative envisioned by L. Stone, and discussed by Peter Burke a few years later, [18] is interested in the lives and feelings of the common man (die kleine Leute, in the German Alltagsgeschichte) more than of the great and powerful. In addition, it does not exclude analysis in its methodology. It re-evaluates new sources such as criminal proceedings and detailed descriptions of behaviour. This new narrative also tries to explore the subconscious and seeks symbolic meaning. It tells the story of a person or a dramatic episode to clarify the hidden details of a society and a culture from the past.

Therefore, it is hardly strange that these stories are enlightening if they arise from those who, like G. Duby and Natalie Z. Davis, already had an extensive background of knowledge about the social, economic, cultural and political structures of the human groups in which the dramatis personae of their stories were found.

Swimming with events and practicing multivocality (integrating the multiplicity of voices or interpretations), as occurs in The Return of Martin Guerre (N. Z. Davis, 1984) and in Alaby’s World (R. Price, 1990), are just a few of the requirements highlighted by P. Burke to achieve a rich and attractive historical narrative for readers.


The approaches of the German Alltagsgeschichte and the Italian microstoria

The fundamental methodological and epistemological problem of these approaches that question the socio-structural history is as follows: how can the subjective behaviours and experiences of the many people who constitute each of the quite abstract great sociological realities be captured and represented? One option is to use a scale for observing reality that is closer to the individual subjects, such as a “micro” approach (hence microstoria). Another option is to inquire into how the protagonists of the stories perceived their experiences, including their everyday ones (hence the history of everyday experience or Alltagsgeschichte).

Theorists of the history of everyday life and of microstoria are inclined towards a method closer to hermeneutics and, in dialogue with cultural anthropology, make use of the “thick description” proposed by Clifford Geertz. However, unlike the hermeneutic that underlies classical historicism, Hans Medick and Carlo Ginzburg, great exponents of Alltagsgeschichte and microstoria, respectively, are aware that no direct understanding of the human subjects of research is possible. Both emphasise that only indirect and problematic understanding is possible. Therefore, they are very interested in explaining specifically how they did their research before presenting their results.

In their approach to the past, according to H. Medick, historians verify and must highlight the strangeness (Fremdartigkeit) that we perceive today in the 17th-century peasants of Württemberg (as well as the current inhabitants of Bali). Without giving up on interpretation, historians must be aware of the limitations of their own interpretative efforts.

Among the theorists of microstoria, Carlo Ginzburg is more in tune with Medick’s pro-Geertz leanings, while Giovanni Levi, closer to classical Marxism, thinks that Geertz’s interpretive-symbolic anthropology neglects the internal conflicts within a culture and its propensity for relativism.

The German Alltagsgeschichte (history of life or everyday experience) seeks to provide an alternative to the socio-structural history advocated by the Bielefeld school. The journal Historische Anthropologie. Kultur, Gesellchaft, Alltags [H. A.] (Historical Anthropology, Culture, Society, Daily Life) can be considered emblematic of this historiographical trend. The three-part subtitle of Historische Anthropologie, like those of the long-lasting Annales, is no coincidence. The founding issue of Historische Anthropologie was published in 1993, also in a Franco-German crossroads area (Saarbrücken) and with a deliberate reference to Annales (and the great American anthropologist C. Geertz).

All the most important works of the Alltagsgeschichte have focused on the study of small German communities. These have sometimes taken a broad chronological scope, such as in H. Medick’s “Weaving and Surviving in Laichingen [a town near Ulm], 1650-1900”, 1997. Others focus on the short duration of an event, such as the Revolution of 1848 and its impact on everyday personal relationships, such as in the research of Carola Lipp and Wolfgang Kaschuba, published in 1979, about Esslingen (a small town near Stuttgart).

The Italian microstoria emerged informally in the late 1970s as a practice and style of making history. One of the common features of these historians (such as the aforementioned Ginzburg and Levi, as well as Edoardo Grendi) is the conviction that by reducing their scale of observation, historians can apprehend significant realities that would otherwise go unnoticed in the average data set. Another feature of these “microhistorians” is that they have powerful theoretical aspirations derived from a Gramscian intellectual heritage. From here, they took a social and cultural domination in northern Italy that had to be denounced and overcome as a historically given starting point (the scope of their work), and not only within it. Hence their special interest in the dominated and marginalised. From these assumptions, what they aim to stress is the room for manoeuvre and freedom and the strategies followed by individuals or small groups (the family or another type) within economic, social and cultural structures.

The Cheese and the Worms (1976), by Carlo Ginzburg, is perhaps the most emblematic and widely read example of the Italian microstoria. With narrative mastery, it explores the cosmology (hence the metaphorical title) and mentality of a heterodox miller from Friuli (on northeastern Italy) who is subjected to an inquisitorial process. In this book, Ginzburg advocates the existence of a popular culture opposed to the official one, although there were interactions between them. [19] The extent to which the case of the miller is representative has been subject to discussion. Others have wondered if Ginzburg reads into the testimony of Menocchio the miller his own romantic conception that there was a popular culture with greater freedom than the sources themselves imply.


Another vision of history: women’s history, feminist history and gender issues

The rather silent revolution featuring women was one of the most important in the 20th century, and feminism, or the feminist movement, was one of the few authentically relevant “isms” to emerge at the time. [20] Feminism had some important forerunners (Olympe de Gouges in 1791, the English and American suffragettes of the 19th century and John Stuart Mill in 1869), but only in the 20th century did women achieve equal rights with men in Western countries.

Since historiography (as writing and discourse) follows history (as the evolution of humanity), in the 20th century women called for greater historiographical prominence in two ways: by advocating a new perspective in reading the past and by promoting their organised work as authors and researchers. In 1995, the great theme of “Women, Men and Historical Change” was included in the 18th International Congress of Historical Sciences in Montreal/Montréal. The Fédération Internationale pour la Recherche d’Histoire des Femmes also debuted there. This marks a milestone in the international academic community’s recognition of a new field and/or focus of study.

In recent decades, the history of women has become an established historiographical practice, [21] linked with varying intensity to the feminist emancipatory movement and with a great diversity of approaches. That is why it has been questioned whether one can speak in the singular about feminist history, or whether only feminist histories exist (in the plural).

For a time, “gender” was the analytical category used in women’s history to think comparatively and concretely about the situation (of subordination) that they had experienced in history with respect to men. More recently, Joan Scott (1996) [22] has offered the category of “difference” instead of gender to accommodate reflection on the heterogeneous identities of women (by race, wealth, religion or sexual orientation).

Should women’s history be limited to studying the predecessors of feminism, because of their attitude or achievements against a male-dominated society (called patriarchal), or should it also include the experiences of the most representative women of each era, including those distant from current feminist attitudes? The historian Gabi Jancke-Leutzsch made the latter argument in her contribution to a book entitled La mujer barroca. [23]


Postmodernist challenges to history and the linguistic turn

As an intellectual attitude, postmodernism is a very complex phenomenon that has an important early benchmark in the publication of Jean-François Lyotard’s book The Postmodern Condition (1979). The postmodern intellectual climate is characterised by its questioning of the optimistic rationalism typical of enlightened modernity, which believed that reality was transparent and could be moulded by reason. [24] It is also defined by critical deconstruction and belligerent scepticism towards the “grand narratives” (philosophies or teleological interpretations of history), including those derived from Christianity and Marxism. This climate of suspicion, to which the intellectual legacy of Nietzsche greatly contributed, is understood in light of the tremendous totalitarian experiences of the 20th century and a post-colonial hangover during which the West became aware of the value of other cultures and the breakdown caused by a violently expansive eurocentrism.

One of the most emblematic postmodern intellectuals was Michel Foucault (1926-1984). Foucault’s work brings together the values of the 1968 cultural revolution: “criticism of established power and knowledge, denunciation of the hidden mechanisms of domination and skilful handling of philosophical-semiotic language”. [25] In The Order of Things: An Archaeology of the Human Sciences (1966) and in The Archaeology of Knowledge (1969), Foucault discusses his two key subjects: discourse and power, in their inseparable relationship. Foucault’s significance for the discipline of history is above all summarised by J. Baberoksi: “in the historicisation of rationality and in the notion that the subject is constituted in cultural practices, which in turn are part of the scope of power”. [26]

Foucault’s vision of history, as a discursive practice rather than as a transposition of objective realities of the past, converges with the historiographical approach proposed by those who advocate the Anglo-Saxon linguistic turn. The most outstanding such figure is the California-native Hayden White, whose Metahistory (1973) has been a milestone for historiography similarly to Braudel’s Mediterranean 30 years before. [27] White and the authors interested in this linguistic turn focus their attention on the mediation that the use of language introduces in historical knowledge and the way in which language consciously and unconsciously conditions those who write history. These authors, who are sometimes called narrativists by others, underscore the affinity that history has with literature, rather than with the social sciences. The way of linking together facts by giving them plot and meaning is determined by aesthetic appreciations, through certain types of basic possibilities, and moral appreciations. As such, White argues, and I think that he is correct in this, that every history (as a story) entails a metahistory or philosophy of history.

Maximising the affinity that history has as “verbal fiction” (as a linguistic and literary construct) with fictional literature, one can run the risk of embracing a relativism according to which all stories have the same cognitive value. According to this logic, it would be almost impossible to refute denialists who underestimate the Shoah carried out by the Nazis. [28]

In Las huellas del futuro (2012), I devoted a few pages to the possibility of a renewed legitimisation of history, coping with the challenges of postmodernism and the linguistic turn. I outline some of the main ideas below.

From his prestigious practice as a socio-cultural historian, Roger Chartier has defended the specific properties of the historical account. This is a representation that integrates layers or strata that, in turn, are effects of extra-linguistic realities, and is the result of controllable and verifiable procedures. Moreover, Paul Ricoeur and Hans-Georg Gadamer have taken philosophical stances close to (Ricoeur) or identified with (Gadamer) hermeneutics, postulating that historical accounts take the human realities of the past as their benchmark and do not wither in literary artifice. Temporality, Ricoeur writes, is “the structure of human existence that reaches language in narrativity” and narrativity is “the structure of language that has temporality as its ultimate referent”. (“Experience, can be said, it demands to be said. To bring it to language is not to change it into something else, but, in articulating and developing it, to make it become itself.”) It is not that we understand human life as a narrative, but that the dynamics of human action itself require a narrative to be fully explained. [29] “The historical discourse is an excellent example of the ability to give meaning to the experience of time because the immediate references (Bedeutung, meaning) of this discourse are real events, not imaginary ones”. [30]

Gadamer also theorises about historical knowledge from a humanist perspective in his great books Truth and Method (1960) and Truth and Method II (1986). Regarding the possibility of communication, despite the different languages and people’s access to reality, Gadamer asserts that hermeneutic efforts are not finished when different languages are spoken and understanding seems impossible:

“There it is posed precisely in its full sense: as the task of finding common language […] The possibility of understanding between rational beings can never be denied. Nor does the relativism that seems to exist in the variety of human languages constitute a barrier to reason whose word is common to all, as Heraclitus knew. […] It is the same world that we perceive in common and is offered to us (traditur) as a task open to infinity. It is never the world of the first day, but something that we inherit”. [31]

Gadamer’s hermeneutical philosophy has greatly influenced the Begriffsgeschichte or the history of concepts. This is a historiographical trend that restores the reference to reality and can be considered a German variant of the linguistic turn, without nihilistic excess. Lucien Hölscher has written a good contextual introduction to this trend. In the Begriffsgeschichte, concepts (like Fortschritt, progress, so essential to the birth of modernity) are at the same time records and testimonies to a reality and factors of change in it. The great reference work for this trend is a monumental dictionary edited by O. Bruner, W. Conze and R. Koselleck between 1972 and 1992: Geschichtliche Grundbegriffe. Historisches Lexikon zur politisch-sozialen Sprache in Deutschland (Fundamental historical concepts: historical lexicon for political-social language in Germany).


Boom and development of environmental history: an introduction

The concerns and debates raised by the great environmental problems facing humanity in our time should be approached with a broad temporal perspective. This new perspective on human evolution prioritises interaction, experienced on an unprecedented scale, between the future of humanity and the natural environment.

In just a few decades, a whole new semantic spectrum has spread: environment, sustainable development, pollution, clean energy and, more recently, climate change. These concepts testify to the awareness of relatively new challenges and political-social approaches to provide a satisfactory response. [32]

Environmental history has received increasing recognition from the academic community, as testified by the International Congress of Historical Sciences (ICHS) every five years. The 2000 edition, in Oslo, received exceptional media coverage and the creation of a European Society for Environmental History (ESEH) was announced. In the United States, the analogous scientific society had already been founded in 1977 (ASEH). The ASEH publishes what may be the most important journal on the subject: Environmental History. Environmental history was one of the three major themes at the ICHS in Sydney in 2005 and was broken down into several blocks. The general coordinator was Verena Wiriwarter. [33]

The rise of environmental history and the proliferation of studies has led to the emergence of some encyclopaedias since 2004, such as the Encyclopedia of World Environmental History edited by Shepard Krech, J. R. McNeill and Caroline Merchant. With regard to the dissemination of this new historiographical approach among history students, I find it encouraging that some pages on the ecological challenge and the waste trade are included in a historical atlas published in Barcelona in 2000. [34]

The recent development of environmental history has a lot to do with environmentalism as a socio-political movement, one of the few great “isms” that emerged in the 20th century, articulated early in Germany in the Green Party (Die Grünen).

The preservation of the human environment, in the future as well as today, is a direct commitment to maintaining healthy living conditions at the biological level (not the only level, but a fundamental one) of human beings today and those yet to come. This commitment entails intergenerational solidarity, not without a survival instinct, to help to make social-economic development sustainable worldwide and not at the cost of environmental degradation that would be difficult to fix.

Environmental history can take different approaches, according to the philosophical anthropology on which they rely. It can be approached from the conviction that the fundamental point of reference is the human being—not as the absolute owner of nature, but as a user of it for his benefit. With this approach there is no opposition, although there is moderate prevention, of “anthropic action” (human intervention) in nature. (This is the option with which I most identify.)

Another possible approach to environmental history is the radically geocentric one, according to which Gaia (the Earth) has total priority over human beings. This perspective demands the preservation of a natural environment transformed into a living whole and the supreme value.

The practice of environmental history requires a certain familiarity not only with the related humanities and social sciences, but also with the physical and mathematical sciences. Only in this way can pollution rates or changes in energy be assessed. For information on times prior to official climate records, historians have to resort to indirect sources.

Today, historiography must assume that the environment is a basic category in history, along with power, economy and culture. [35] The category of the environment is inseparably linked to political power. In addition, a society’s relationship with the environment entails a crucial economic problem, since economic success has always required a lasting supply of energy. From this context of making economic dynamism compatible with environmental preservation spring the major concepts (and objectives) of “sustainability”, “eco-industry” and the development of “renewable or clean energy”. The human environment is interwoven with the basic category of culture. Each way of perceiving and interpreting the environment fits a specific historical and cultural context.

We are now more aware than we were 50 years ago that man can inflict damage on nature that is difficult to fix. Faced with this wide margin of uncertainty, some intellectuals prioritise the principle of responsibility in these matters before blind trust in human progress—or rather, pseudo-progress. [36]

Some recent catastrophes have reminded us of the enormous and partially unpredictable power of nature and warn us that the ecological, economic, social, political and cultural consequences of demonstrations of that power should not be underestimated. Just think of the tragic consequences of the tsunami in the Indian Ocean in 2004 (especially affecting Indonesia), the earthquake in Haiti in 2010 and the accident at the Fukushima nuclear power plant on 11 March 2011, following a strong earthquake, which caused a tsunami on the northeast coast of Japan.


Globalisation and historiography: change of perspective and frame of reference

Prompted by the experiences of the present, historiographical practice and reflection have expanded their frame of reference and focus. We want to cover the entire planet and focus the discourse in line with growing globalisation or the globalisation of human phenomena. The perception of the world as a unitary scenario of human development, favoured by the mass media and the Internet, has driven a global history. [37]

In 1531, the great Erasmian humanist Juan Luis Vives wrote that “the world has opened up to the human species”. A few decades later, Jean Bodin thought that a universal political community had been created in which all men were linked “as if they formed no more than a city”. [38] This idea that there was an initial, Iberian form of globalisation has been articulated by French historian Serge Gruzinski in Les quatre parties du monde. Histoire d’une mondialisation (2004). During the Renaissance era, in a broad sense, the experience of that (first) globalisation was a huge expansion of the field to reflect on the plasticity of human nature. Knowledge of multiple Amerindian cultures required a new reading of human history.

Today, on a much larger scale than in the 16th century, we form what is nearly a universal republic. For example, we constitute a universal republic of Internet users and producer-consumers (prosumers). We are also much more aware of our mutual dependence and responsibility regarding the natural environment that we share (or dispute). All this leads to a history that explains how the growing interdependence between countries of all continents, cultural areas and economic statuses has been forged.

Global history or world history covers a wide array of different theoretical concepts and methodological practices. But some common indications can be detected, as Patrick O’Brien did at the 19th ICHS in Oslo, by focusing on connections and comparisons between societies, across national and cultural boundaries. The attention given to environmental and biological constraints that affect human activity is another such development. Altogether, this helps us to achieve a less ethnocentric appreciation of the many achievements of human peoples.

In that same congress in Oslo, the theme of a global history was also addressed in terms of cultural encounters between continents throughout the centuries. In the introductory summary, Jerry H. Bentley, the founder of the Journal of World History (1990), asserts that the new global historical perspective does not aim to demolish any national history, but to problematise its tendency to draw conclusions uncritically and to overcome its limitations. [39] It also highlights the importance that sociologists, anthropologists, economists and political scientists have had in global history studies since the 1960s, at times being more daring than the historians.

Personally, I note a parallel between the contribution of other social scientists to this change in perspective in the historical discourse and the transformation promoted in the French journal Annales. Both new standpoints could be linked to the novel approach of geo-historian Fernand Braudel, spurred on by theorisations about the dynamics of the civilisations of O. Spengler and A. Toynbee. The Braudelian notion of “loans” or “cultural transfers” implies the concept of an “encounter”, which is key in global history.

Natalie Z. Davis warned at that Oslo congress that, in its eagerness to overcome a West-centric history, world history may run the risk of becoming a partial history of non-Western places and peoples. Here, literally, is her point of view as to whether it is suitable for global history to have a single “master-narrative” (an interpretative story of reference).

“If a new decentered global history is discovering important alternate historical paths and trajectories, then it might also do well to let its big stories be alternated or multiple. The challenge for global history is to place these narratives creatively within an interactive frame”. [40]

How to design that interactive frame is the great question hanging in the air. Beyond this question, which is partly metahistorical, abundant evidence makes it clear that a very significant amount of historians are committed to the globalising or encompassing turn in the study of history. [41]

The emergence of global history is related to decolonisation in the 1960s, by which most African countries achieved their independence from the states of Western Europe. (The countries of British India had already achieved it after the end of World War II.) Thus, global history can be seen as a vindication of the role that non-European and non-Western cultures played in world history. It can also be considered a denunciation of the Eurocentric vision of history promoted in the 19th century, which revolved around the progress of civilisation in the world by means of the modernisation and expansion of European nation-states. This criticism of European historiographical colonialism was influenced both by Marxism (in different variants) and by the cultural relativism propitiated by some North American and European intellectuals (such as Clifford Geertz and Michel de Foucault, for example).

In the aforementioned context, it is well understood that historians of former European colonies like India or Palestine have wanted to expose another vision of history that emerged from their own cultural background and from their own perception of their social-economic situation. Palestinian historian Edward Said and the journal Subaltern Studies (founded in 1982 by Indian historian Ranahit Guja) are important benchmarks in these approaches. Orientalism (1978), by E. Said, has had a great impact in recent decades. In this book, Said studies and denounces the discourse on the Near and Middle East built by Western specialists: a fundamentally falsified representation created for the purpose of domination. [42]

The journal Subaltern Studies is inspired by the Gramscian concept of “subaltern classes”. It proposes to restore the active role of the different ethnic groups of India, with special attention paid to the common people (fundamentally peasants) in shaping the country’s history and independence, without reducing that prominence to the British bourgeois elite. [43] Another emblematic historian of post-colonial studies is Ashis Nandy, also an Indian. Nandy is very critical of the secular modernity of the West, which he argues is contrary to the cultural and popular traditions of India.

Global history can be written from significantly different theoretical perspectives. Thus, one can study it from the perspective of economic history, as Sigheru Akita proposes. Here, global history would be a kind of mega-regional history in the context of the formation and development of a capitalist world economy. [44] This is an approach with clear echoes of Wallerstein. Interdependence, interconnectivity and comparativism are key words in this approach and in all approaches to global history.

More comprehensive is Carlo Galli’s approach to globalisation. For him, globalisation is “the mutual confusion, intertwining and contamination (with varying intensity in various parts of the planet) of traditional cultures with the ultramodern and postmodern impulses of the expanding West”. [45] This diversity of ways in which globalisation takes place leads Jürgen Osterhammel to state in a very recent work that one should speak not of globalisation, but of globalisations in particular contexts. [46]

The approach taken by Geschichte. Transnational, an academic platform of Franco-German historians, shares some goals with global history. This transnational history aims to integrate a broad spectrum of approaches that focus on the analysis of encounters, the crossing of frontiers and exchanges between different cultures and societies. [47]

Of course, transnational history is not an exclusively European historiographical approach, as researchers from Asian countries and other civilisations work there. I examine some of these studies in Las huellas del futuro (2012).

Today, global history is not just a proposal for the future. In some countries it has decanted to some extent, even in reference books. Thus, the classic book by Jerry Bentley and Herbert Ziegler, Tradition and Encounters: A Global Perspective on the Past (2009) proposes a reading of the history of humanity that does not take any particular civilisation as a benchmark, but departs from humanity in all its diversity as a subject of analysis and focuses attention on the progressive convergence of the various civilisations.


Historiography in today’s media society

In today’s global and media society, with a certain allergy to the written word and a fascination for the image, does historiography have any future as written knowledge of the past? If we only considered academic historiography, prone to scholarship and abstraction, the answer would be bleak. On the other hand, there is no doubt that the fascination that some (not necessarily beneficial) stages or events of humanity continue to exert can be combined with historical writing if there is an ability to communicate. The great living interest in memory and its places of condensation, in learning about the decisive and more or less legendary moments of the community, will continue to inspire historiographical work, even if it is mediated or indirect. It is a fact that in the West, and not only there, a large part of the novels, movies, TV series and role-playing games have a historical background. This prompts us to question what the historical culture of a community is and how it is configured, and you can find a specific entry addressing this very issue on this website. Furthermore, my book Las huellas del futuro contains an extensive final chapter on historical culture and memory in the world today.

In this society of emotions, in which feelings prevail over thought, historiography must serve two purposes. On the one hand, it must find ways to expand its thematic field so that it also studies impulses that are more emotional than rational, which have been operative in social evolution. In fact, there are precedents. Examples of this in the last half century include Jean Delumeau’s work on fear and, on a more positive note, Theodor Zeldin’s work on happiness.

Another function that the writing of history can and should continue to have is the demystification of the idola tribu. People who write history must contribute a critical sense and hold back the ever-underlying propensity to excessively identify with the community itself and/or with expectations of the future. Language certainly prevents our total neutrality, but moderation, self-discipline and listening to diverse voices can make it easier for historians’ writings to be taken up, at least in part, by those who approach them from other backgrounds or preferences. Only in this way will historiography be able to fulfil its humanistic mission, in addition to fighting against death and oblivion: to nurture our freedom, to better explore the complexity of the human condition over time and to contribute to an understanding between peoples that consist, in the end, of dreamers and needy people.


Dr. Fernando Sánchez-Marcos (2020)

(Professor Emeritus of Early Modern History at the Universitat de Barcelona. Founder and Director of http://culturahistorica.org)

[Translation of the original Spanish text by Dustin Langan].



[1] Cr. Iggers, Georg (1997). Historiography in the Twentieth Century. From Objectivity to the Postmodern Challenge. Hanover: Wesleyan University Press.

Sánchez Marcos, Fernando (2012). Las huellas del futuro: Historiografía y cultura histórica en el siglo XX. Barcelona: Edicions i Publicacions de la Universitat de Barcelona.

[2] They also deal with other civilisations:

Iggers, Georg G. and Wang, Q. Edward, (2008), A Global History of Modern Historiography. London and New York: Pearson Ltd.

Woolf, Daniel, Daniel (2005), “Historiography”, pp. 61-80, accessible on this website.

[3] Chaunu, Pierre (1981). Histoire et décadence. Paris: Perrin. [Author’s translation]

[4] Dosse, François (1987). L’Histoire en miettes. Des “Annales” à la “nouvelle histoire”. Paris: La Découverte.

[5] To mark the bicentenary of the French Revolution, Peter Burke published The French Historical Revolution: The Annales School, 1929-1989.

[6] Mastrogregori, Massimo (1999). El Manuscrito interrumpido de Marc Bloch. Mexico D. F.: Fondo de Cultura Económica.

[7] The first French edition of The Mediterranean… is from 1949. The second, expanded edition is from 1966.

[8] Coutau-Bégarie, Hervé (1989). Le phénomène nouvelle histoire. Grandeur et décadence de l’école des Annales. Paris: Economica (2nd revised edition).

[9] Geschichte und Gesellschaft has been an important international forum. Its first two volumes were dedicated to demography and to mobility and social stratification.

[10] Kocka has repeatedly used French terms. It is a testimony to the common intellectual currents that circulated between France and the Federal Republic of Germany.

[11] The analytical-structural history advocated by Bielefeld, focused on processes and social changes, has a good theoretical exponent in Jürgen Kocka’s book Sozialgeschchte, published in 1977. (The Spanish version, referred to in this essay, is from 1989: Historia social. Concepto, Desarrollo, Problemas. Barcelona: Alpha).

[12] Fogel, Robert, and Engerman, Stanley (1974). Time on the Cross: The Economics of American Negro Slavery, 2 vols.

[13] At the first International Congress on “History under Debate” (Historia a Debate, Santiago de Compostela, 1993), Bolivar Echevarría said that to speak of Marxism in general “implies a comfortable position, but without a basis in reality” (Historia a Debate, p. 71).

[14] Marx, Karl (1904 [1859]) A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy. Chicago: Charles H. Keer & Company, p. 12.

[15] Papacostea, Serban (1996). “Captive Clio: Romanian Historiography under Communist Rule”. European History Quaterly, vol. 26, pp. 181-208. The reasons for many Western intellectuals’ attraction to Marxism in the decades after World War II have been well studied in works such as Aron, Raymond (1957). The Opium of the Intellectuals. London: Secker & Warburg.

[16] On the influence of the dependency theory of I. Wallerstein (and of G. Frank) in Latin America, see Iggers, G. and Wang. Q. E. (2008). A Global History of Modern Historiography. London and New York: Routledge, pp. 290-294. I witnessed the great interest that Wallerstein’s work and the theme of the centre and periphery aroused in Madrid in 1990 (17th International Congress of Historical Sciences).

[17] Stone, Lawrence (1979). “The Revival of Narrative: Reflections on a New Old History”. Past and Present, no. 85, pp. 3-24.

[18] Burke, Peter (1993). Historia de los acontecimientos y renacimiento de la narración. Formas de hacer historia. Madrid: Alianza, pp. 287-305.

[19] Iggers, G. and Wang, Q. E. A Global History…, op. cit., p. 273. It is also possible to discuss the extent to which the existence of these two opposing cultures can be postulated, as P. Burke and R. Chartier do. See “El pueblo y su cultura”, Olábarri, I. and Caspistegui, F. J., (eds.) (1996). La “nueva” historia cultural: la influencia del posestructuralismo y el auge de la interdisciplinariedad. Madrid: Complutense, pp. 191-216.

[20] “La única revolución que cuenta” (“The only revolution that counts”) was the headline of a newspaper from Barcelona (29 October 1993), reporting the issue of the last volume of “History of the Women of the West”, directed by Georges Duby and Michelle Perrot.

[21] Among the many journals on women’s history, the Feminist Studies and Women’s Studies, both begun in the United States in 1972, stand out as pioneers.

[22] Scott, Joan W. (ed.) (1996). Feminism and History. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

[23] Calvi, Giulia (ed.) (1995). La mujer barroca. Madrid: Alianza.

[24] In my book Huellas del futuro (p. 130), I discuss whether postmodernity is a paradigm opposed to modernity or if it can be interpreted as a hypertrophy of it.

[25] Aurell, Jaume (2005). La escritura de la memoria. De los positivismos a los postmodernismos. Valencia: Publicacions de la Universitat de València.

[26] Baberowski, Jörg (2005). Der Sinn der Geschichte. Geschichttheorien von Hegel bis Foucault. Múnich: Verlag C. H. Beck, p. 203, (Author’s translation)

[27] White, Hayden (1973). Metahistory: The Historical Imagination in Nineteenth-century Europe. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press.

[28] Friedlander, Saul (ed.) (1992). Probing the Limits of Representation. Nazism and the ‘Final Solution’. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

[29] Ricoeur published his great work Temps et récit (“Time and Narrative”) between 1983 and 1985. A brief and masterful exposition of his theory of narrative can be found in P. Ricoeur, “Life in Quest of Narrative”, in Wood, D. (ed.) (1991). On Paul Ricoeur. Narrative and Interpretation. London and New York: Routledge.

[30] White, Hayden (1992). “La metafísica de la narratividad: tiempo y símbolo en la filosofía de la historia de Ricoeur”, in El contenido de la forma. Barcelona: Paidós, p. 180. [The original English edition of the book was: White, Hayden (1987). The Content of the Form: Narrative Discourse and Historical Representation. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press].

[31] Gadamer, Verdad y Método, II, p. 392. In Koselleck, R. and Gadamer, H. G. (1997). Historia y hermenéutica. Barcelona: Paidós. Gadamer writes (p. 116) that rather than a proposition and judgment, language is a question and answer. On this website, you can find a text of mine related to the influence of Germanic historiography in Spain in the 1990s that takes Gadamer into account.

[32] Although it only offers an indicative approach, if we apply the analytical tool “Ngram Viewer” (by Google Books) to the corpus of digitised works since 2008, we see that the relative frequency of “environmental history” in English-language texts rose exponentially in the 1990s. The same occurred slightly earlier in German-language texts with the German equivalent, Umweltgeschichte. In Spanish, the frequency of occurrences of “historia medioambiental” started to rise exponentially later, starting in 2004.

[33] In 1998, V. Winiwarter had published an important introduction to environmental history. The title chosen for this great subject for Sydney in 2005 was “Humankind and Nature in History / Humanité et Nature dans l’Histoire”. The problem was broken down into: “Ecohistory: new theories and approaches”, “Natural disasters and how they have been dealt with” and “Natural Sciences, History and the image of humankind”.

[34] Juliá, José Ramón (ed.) (2000). Atlas de Historia Universal, t. II, De la Ilustración al mundo actual. Barcelona: Planeta, pp. 308-309.

[35] Wolfram Sieman (ed.) (2003). Umweltgeshichite.Themen und Perspektiven. Múnich: Beck, pp. 7-20.

[36] Thus Jonas, Hans (1984 [1979]). The Imperative of Responsibility: In Search of Ethics for the Technological Age. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

[37] In this section I rework and summarise my essay “El proceso hacia la globalización y el cambio de perspectiva historiográfica”, in Caspistegui, F. J. (ed.) (2012). Historia y globalización. (VIII Conversaciones Internacionales de Historia). Barañáin: Ediciones de la Universidad de Navarra, pp. 125-166.

[38] Vives, Johannes Ludovicus (ed. 1768). De disciplinis, libri XII. Nápoles. Accesible on-line at http://vivaldi.gva.es (Biblioteca Valenciana Digital, Generalitat Valenciana).

Bodin, Jean (ed. 1941). La méthode de l’histoire. Paris/Argel: Belles-Letres.

[39] Bentley, Jerry H. (2000). “Cultural Encounters between the Continents over the Centuries”, in 19th International Congress of Historical Sciences. Proceedings / Actes. Oslo: University of Oslo, 2000, pp. 29-43.

Davis, N. Z. (2000). “Discussant’s comment”, A. Jolstad and M. Lunde, International Committee of Historical Sciences, in 19th International Congress of Historical Sciences. Proceedings / Actes. Oslo: University of Oslo.

[41] Such as the Network of World and Global History Organisation (NOWGHTO) and the appearance of  Journal of Global History in 2006.

[42] Orientalism has been a challenge for publications with the title of Occidentalism, such as the book by Buruma, Ian and Margalit, Avishai (2004). Occidentalism: The West in the Eyes of Its Enemies. New York: Penguin.

[43] Iggers, Georg; Wang, Q. Edward (2008). A Global History…, pp. 284-290. The interest that Guha’s project has aroused in Latin America is reflected in the work of the Mexican historian Guillermo Zermeño (2004). La cultura moderna de la historia. Una aproximación teórica e historiográfica. Mexico D. F.: El Colegio de México, pp.120-128.

[44] Shigeru, Akita (2009). “What to Expect from a Dictionary of Transnational History from a Global Economic History Perspective?”


[45] Galli, Carlo (2010). La humanidad multicultural. Buenos Aires-Madrid: Katz Editores.

[46] Osterhammel, Jürgen (2018). El vuelo del águila. Barcelona: Crítica.

[47] Geschichte. Transnational digital forum ( http://geschichte-transnatioanl.clio-online.net )