When people think of France what comes to mind, for many it is the Eiffel tower and Notre Dame. So when Notre Dame’s roof went up in flames last week the outpouring from across the world was momentous. In our age news travels, demonstrating how interconnected we have become and the news stories that followed demonstrated the transnational age we live in. For instance, Heritage England has pledged to provide resources if needed, such as craftsmen and archaeologists demonstrating a level of international cooperation which was mirrored by the Japanese government.
Interestingly, the fire at Notre Dame has also inspired help in other areas of the world, boosting the fundraising efforts for black churches in America which were destroyed by racially motivated arson attacks. It seems that the plight of this internationally recognised, national monument has encouraged others to tackle the plight in their surrounding area.
In many ways Notre Dame has become a transnational symbol, causing people to acknowledge and address problems within their own country. In fact, the guardian article which discusses the pledges made by the Heritage England, uses Notre Dame as a spring board to discuss the lack of supervision within restoration work. The article quotes Michael Daley, the director of ArtWatch UK, the conservation watchdog, who highlights the many fires in UK have occurred during restoration work, such as at Windsor Castle, the Cutty Sark and the Glasgow School of Art.
However, the most notable of example of this was the social commentary on the donations from the French billionaires that poured in following the fire. Wealth inequality which was used as a staging point to discuss wealth distribution not only in the UK but also around the world.
In many ways, I am increasingly coming to understand Hugh’s perspective
on transnational history, at least in the modern world. With the world so interconnected
as it is now, is it not the job of the historian to reflect this? Transnational
history it could, therefore, be argued is simply how historian should write a
good history, for as the news articles have shown us, any event can be linked
to a wider theme. I’m not sure I agree with this, however I think it is an
interesting talking point. Instead, for me, as I have already mentioned in
previous blog posts and in seminars, transnational history has an important political
dimension. Its purpose not only to explore connection within the world, but
also to remind the reader that it is there and has been for hundreds of years.
 Dalya Alberge, Notre Dame fire: UK ready to share conservation expertise, 20 May 2019, <https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/apr/20/notre-dame-fire-uk-ready-to-share-conservation-expertise>[22 May 2019]
 Karen Zraick, Niraj Chokshi, Black churches destroyed by arson see huge spike in donations after Notre Dame fire, 18 April 2019, <https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/black-church-fire-arson-attack-crowdfunding-notre-dame-donation-a8873576.html>[22 April 2019]
 Aditya Chakrabortty, The billionaires’ donations will turn Notre Dame into a monument to hypocrisy, 18 April 2019, <https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/apr/18/billionaires-donations-notre-dame-france-inequality>[22 April 2010]