List – Technical Terms (Learning the Language) 

  1. Introduction: Transnational History, History and Historiography. 
  2. Heterogeneity, Confusions and Misunderstandings.     
  3. Aims, Agendas and Aspirations.   
  4. Methodological Approaches.  
  5. Source Materials.
  6. Spaces and Times. 
  7. Mapping and Visual Aids. 
  8. Conclusion. 

Reference Works and Further Readings

At the start of the semester, I was, and still am to some degree, slightly baffled by the complex of technical terms which can be quite specific to transnational history (‘nodes’, ‘translocal’, ‘glocal’ etc.). If I was to compile a book on the subject then, I think it might be handy to include a list of those expressions, accompanied by brief explanations of them at the start of the work.

I think it’s important to situate transnational history in its historiographical context too (its emergence, its comparison to other sub-disciplines of history, and how it has changed since in its character since its inception); and I think would give me reason to address those topics in the first chapter of the book. 

In the second, it might then be helpful to confront or work around the various confusions that present themselves in the practice of writing transnational history; its heterogeneity as a discipline, its flexibility as an ‘umbrella perspective’, and the way in which it functions as a ‘tool’ rather than a strict methodological approach. In this instance, it might also be useful to include the criticisms that have been levied against it in the past. 

The third and fourth are quite self-explanatory, and could address why historians have chosen to practice transnational history, break down its various sub-disciplines, and perhaps match those sub-disciplines to the areas of historical enquiry that have benefitted most from them in the past (‘translocal’ for inter-colonial spaces for example, or ‘microhistory’ for cities etc.).

‘Source Materials’, I think, should receive some serious attention. For me, using primary source materials to write transnational history has been challenging, and I’m still unsure as to how I should be reading a source through a transnational ‘lens’, whether or not there in fact is a specific way to do so, and how I should deal with a scarcity in source material (the validity of the Andrade approach for example, or something entirely different). 

The issue of space and time is something I’ve blogged about before, specifically with reference to the spatio-temporal problem of ‘transnational’ history before the rise of the nation-sate, and legitimacy of ‘transnational’ history for places in which social organization was not manifested with reference to European frameworks of Westphalian sovereignty. In this chapter, I think it might be wise to address those issues, and offer some ways in which they might be overcome (via the practice of ‘translocal’ history for example). 

Unfortunately, I missed the QGIS sessions, but skills like the ones taught there, I hear, have been very useful: it’s for that reason that I would devote the seventh chapter of the book to mapping.