Defining something that lacks a specific definition is always going to be difficult. I need only need to look to my blog post last week and Jamie’s comments underneath to find evidence of this. Casalilla perspective that any historians have the ‘right to use the methods of transnational history’ is interesting and something I agree with. Transnational has re-emphasised the importance of the movement and connection. However, this only reflects one half of the words meaning. The reference to the nation makes the subject area more apparent, transnationalism focuses on the interaction of peoples between national boundaries.
I will admit that this is a simplistic overview, as was established in class week there are a plethora of subsections within the field. For example, interaction, the movement between borders can cover a broad range of topics in a multitude of different ways. The reading so far this semester have largely focused on peoples and yet transnationalism can also be applied to commodities and the growth of networks. It can, therefore, be argued that the engulfing field which is transnational history requires one simplistic overarching definition to tie the field together. Now I am not claiming to the perfect answer to this, however, if I was to attempt it in a sentence I would state that:
Transnational history is the study of a subject’s interaction and or movement across national boundaries.
I think many will argue against this, stating it misses the nuances of transnationalism, and on one hand people are right. Yet, as a firm believer in the practicality of history, transnationalism needs to be definable in an easily understandable format if it is to have any impact on popular history. Something that I believe to be imperative in a world which seems to growing apart, for people need to understand that the world has been built upon interaction and engagement rather than the story told by isolationist national narratives.