HISTG102 Globalisation in the 20th Century
Dr Bernhard Rieger
This course analyzes how globalization has fundamentally reshaped the world since the late nineteenth century. Over the past decade, historical scholarship has embarked on a reinterpretation of twentieth-century globalization. Numerous economic historians and economists who previously set the terms of the debate conceived of the interwar years as a disruptive period that separated globalization's supposedly "golden ages" occurring before 1914 and after 1945. Recent historical writing has begun to move beyond this chronological framework. Rather than emphasize its disruptiveness, historians have analysed the interwar period as shaping global trends that manifested themselves forcefully after 1945. To give but two prominent examples: the 1920s and 1930s witnessed both the proliferation of desires for decolonization and widespread experiments with economic "development" in colonial arenas that were to have important global consequences after the Second World War. Historical scholarship has also emphasized that the linkages fostered by globalization yielded seemingly contradictory effects. While far-reaching networks of interaction enhanced a sense of togetherness across borders in some instances, they sharpened an awareness of global difference on other occasions. It is thus no coincidence that the twentieth century has been characterized by a proliferation of supranational institutions and nation states as well as by persistent international economic inequality and the emergence of new global cultural forms. This course will therefore pay particular attention to globalization's capacity to undermine and enhance boundaries.
The course begins with a set of introductory sessions that provide a chronological overview as well as theoretical and conceptual background. It subsequently follows a roughly chronological approach to examine key examples of globalization in political, economic, social, and cultural contexts.
Assessment: 2 essays of 4,000 words
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