I’ll admit I totally forgot we were supposed to write about what we’d want to see in a guide book about transnational history, so I wrote a rather lengthy unrelated post earlier today.

My ideal guide to transnational history would not go in a specific order rather it would be a collection of articles on various ideas from trade history in transnational context to the study of intellectual networks. I think this network should be ever expanding, but that each article should have a fairly strict word limit, with the option of adding articles on subtopics that might be of more niche interest. Ideally additions to this web would be peer reviewed and there would be a paid staff to prune and nurture the network.

I also think a short history of the discipline would a beneficial thing to include. I found thinking about the history of transnational and global women’s history to be beneficial when trying to understand the historiography. A similar more general history of the discipline of transnational and global history would also be helpful.

Finally I’d like to make the case for visuals. Personally I think mostly in words, but that is mainly when things are proceeding in a one directional linear way. Concepts in transnational history often are not linear or don’t have a linear relationship towards each other. This is where I think visuals can be very helpful. In addition visuals can be very helpful in remembering complex topics and adding a bit of levity to what can sometimes be dry historiography. This is what I tried to do in my previous post “Trying to do historiography with Polandball” (http://transnationalhistory.net/doing/2019/03/13/trying-to-do-historiography-with-polandball/).

Transnational history web

One thought on “Transnational history web

  • April 21, 2019 at 8:45 am

    Abi, your title transnational history web got me thinking. To an outsider to coming into the discipline transnational history can be a complicated hot pot of ideas. A web which we this semester have tried to untangle. I believe that visual aids would be important to help understand but also navigate the discipline. For instances, I’m not entirely sure a book is the best way to display transnational history. Instead, I think an online page may be more appropriate. Not only does this reflect interconnectedness of transnational history, the internet being the perfect example of how society has been brought together but also for the exploration various formats to display knowledge. In the case of Transnational history, I think it could be displayed as a tree, with the various parts helping to compartmentalise the information on the discipline.

    It would all begin at the truck of the tree, the building block for the discipline. A base definition could be provided here, as well as, as you mentioned a short history of the discipline. A springboard to propel the reader into the branches of the tree which would contain the various articles on different approaches to transnational history. Order, therefore, would be less of an issue.
    I would also agree that the articles should be limited in word count, serving to enlighten the reader about the tenets of each sub section with further reading suggested at the end. It would, therefore, serve as a directory, creating an easy of access to other articles if the reader wanted to delve deeper into the topics.

    Furthermore, by making it an online resource it would allow for a display which can not only offer large amounts of information in an accessible format, but also a way to make the field interactive and accessible. Images such as your Polandball can be easily overlaid, providing light hearted relief. Personally as a student this can be quite nice to come across, demonstrating an awareness beyond what can sometimes be dense written material.

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