New College of the Humanities

The New Internationalism

Global history has become a vigorous field in recent years, examining all parts of the empires of Europe and Asia and moving beyond the confines of ‘top-down’ diplomatic history, as Peter Mandler explains.

Picture of the Coast of Yokohama by Hiroshige II, 1860‘International history’ used to mean the history of relations between nations – a fancy synonym for ‘diplomatic history’. But it should be no surprise in our increasingly globalised world that historians have been reaching for a new kind of ‘internationalism’, one that tracks the movement and communication of people across, above and beyond nations – really it should be called ‘supranational history’. Because this kind of history looks beyond the nation state it is not so interested in politics and diplomacy but more in the things ordinary people do in disregard of or in spite of the state – trade, travel, migration – or even against the state – like appeal for universal rights.

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