What are the forces of globalization shaping our world (for better or worse)? How can we bring an historical perspective to bear on them? How might we conceptualize a new sub-field of history-New Global History-and distinguish it from more traditional historical and world historical approaches? When did the forces that we associate with globalization become apparent, and how have these forces evolved since then to shape the contemporary world? Are we, in fact, entering a global epoch?
These are some of the questions animating New Global History, which is an initiative that seeks to encourage both theorizing and the carrying out of empirical research concerning the processes of globalization. It attempts to further its mission by employing both a historical (in which history is conceived of in interdisciplinary terms) and a transcultural perspective. This quest is driven by the awareness that, especially during the recent past decades, many currents, institutions, and even events have, in fact, a global dimension. Thus, the impact of multi-national corporations or of non-governmental organizations, or the cultural implications of global media networks, to give a few examples, can not be grasped appropriately from a shallow historical or a monocultural perspective.
To be able to conceptualize the highly complex interactions between such global entities and their different, culturally conditioned manifestations is a major challenge. For the purpose of understanding both homogenizing global forces and their accompanying local manifestations it is necessary to dig deeply into a large variety of historical heritages.
New Global History thus wants to build up a network of historians and people from other disciplines around the world and to foster the formation of new, transcultural research groups. Since recent phenomena are at the center of New Global History's attention, the initiative is naturally socially and politically concerned (without adhering to any political direction). In addition to providing an agora for international historians and other social scientists, the intention is to establish where possible dialogues with politics and business. As befitting the global nature of our inquiries and problems, we seek to construct a global network.
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