Andrade Tonio’s article was an interesting start to understanding the complexities of cultural exchange in a local context. In the beginning, he emphasizes the importance of small human dramas that underlie historical events that seem significant. He discusses how history writing like this has become scant, regardless of what it has to offer. This reading reminded me of a book I once read by Linda Colley called ‘Captives’. Colley uses primary sources such as diary entries and memoirs to understand the lives of Irish, Scottish and English men and women who lived their lives as captives in the colonies under the British empire. By uncovering these people’s lives, she answered the big question about the invincibility of the empire. This was useful to understand how local stories of people that could have been easily ignored explained the larger phenomenon of labour relations in the colonial context. It also re-evaluated the significance of the British empire.

Coming back to Andrade; the Chinese farmer’s account raised some crucial points that I think could be relevant for students of history. These include: 1) Sait becoming a prisoner on a Dutch ship was interesting in understanding the movement of individuals of different races across the colonies. 2)The two African boys referring to the Chinese as heathens provides a glimpse into how different racial groups perceived each other in the context of the 17th century. Although this could have just been a way of validating the Dutch officials’ ideas to win their trust. This reading could be contrasted or even collaborated with Sugata Bose’s article that we read last week. Bose tries to explain globalization and connectivity in a macro-historical context, whereas Andrade explains it in a micro spatial context. Taken together, these two texts can be used to understand the more extensive historical processes.

The other readings helped make sense of the first one. Another interesting point that caught my eye in Ghobrial’s reading is when he discusses nationalist historiography and how masses may not accept the overemphasis on global history as they do not want to view their nations/ cities as ‘messy dots’ that lack depth and do not have historical agency. Linden also brings this up differently when he questions whether the world outside the west would accept global history.

Micro history in a colonial context; and a note on the readings