I has only been three weeks and three sessions with and around transnational and global history – thus far. Today we plunged into the wide Indian Ocean (with Sugata Bose, A Hundred Horizons). There is one more week to go along scales and micro history in global history. Then…project building, thinking. There will be more content and reading but the hard but also the fun and rewarding part starts now. So we did plunge the group for a few minutes at the end into the deep end of the pool, asking: now what? what could be the longer-term project and essay?
But where do we start? How do we become transnational historians in the first place? Is that a decision up front? (Well, as you are in this module…yes, we guess it is part of the deal). What, ultimately, makes transnational and global history? And within the remit of a module and one semester – there has to be pragmatism. To some extent. So where do you start?
With the familiar? Something you already know (something about) but never thought about it from the perspectives we were reading on?
Star with something that is ‘per se’ transnational? Migration, diaspora, disease, a commodity?
Why not with a random year? Pull one random year out of the hat and …run with it. 1881 – A global history. Why not?
Something small, feasible. An actor? But who would I chose? Does it need to be a mobile actor to qualify as transnational?
Creativity, boldness, curiosity, open eyes, support will be needed soon.