Theater of Cruelty

Norwegian global problems

[debate] In the commentary "The New Global History" (06.10.) I mentioned the recent issue of Global History.


[debate] In the commentary "The New Global History" (06.10.) I mentioned the recent issue of Global History. I referred to Professor Finn Fuglestad's article "Global history, a new form of imperialism", and questioned the diagnosis that history is "Western in its essence". Fuglestad criticizes me (20.10.) For this, but then confirms that it is "truly" what he thinks.

We agree on the goal: That Norway, too, should have a more global and balanced history writing, as a contrast to the nation-centered. But we disagree with the description of the past and present, as I do not see that global history is as new and difficult as he portrays it.

Fuglestad is probably right in the world, it seems Eurocentric on Norwegian curriculum lists, but that does not mean that history and history writing are so. Both KN Chaudhuri's international mercantile studies, DP Singhals India and World Civilization (1972) and Akira Iriye on community show that global history writing is possible, as Nehru has shown.

The United States is central to the new writing: Iraq, Spain and China are now better inscribed in global history than Scandinavia, and it should worry more than the multicultural US dominance. So I do not share Fuglestad's concern that global history has been "taken over by people with a background in Western history".

He writes that Arab Ibn Khaldun (d. 1406) in the "Arab / Muslim context has unfortunately been left as the shining exception", despite similar perspectives from such as Al-Biruni. When Fuglestad opposes "Eurocentrism", he uses a term introduced by Arab-Muslim Samir Amin. While Lebanese Edward Said launched the Orientalism debate, and Algerian Jackie Derrida deconstructed the French discourse he immigrated to – both important for today's global understanding.

Stian Bromarks and my books, such as Blankie Lies, Dirty Truths (2002), are attempts to show that another understanding of history is possible. How the Past now shows in its way.

Dag Herbjørnsrud

Dag Herbjørnsrud
Dag Herbjørnsrud
Former editor of MODERN TIMES. Now head of the Center for Global and Comparative History of Ideas.

You may also like