Connected, Entangled, or Comparative? The global history of dynasty as an example


Many historians are broadening their scope from national to transnational and global dimensions, but this choice presents serious challenges for research as well as for teaching. Focusing on themes related to dynastic rule, I will consider the merits of several approaches. Classic comparative history, rightly criticised for its reliance on textbook truisms and its tendency to restate national or cultural clichés, presents itself as the most challenging, but also as the most promising form of global history. Comparison-new-style, however, needs to integrate specialised literature and if possible primary sources. Moreover, it should look for precise thematic issues rather than starting out with the big questions. This paper presents the considerations that defined the method and layout of my forthcoming Dynasty. A Global History of Rule 1300-1800 (Cambridge 2015) but were left implicit in this book.

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