David A. Bell
Lapidus Professor of History, Princeton University
Contributing Editor, The New Republic
I am grateful to Marc-William Palen for his smart, sharp comments on my New Republic essay, and also for his generous offer to let me respond to them on this blog.
Palen calls my essay ‘provocative’ and ‘eloquent’, but also ‘unfair’. I certainly prefer this judgment to ‘balanced, but dull and inarticulate’, but the adjective ‘unfair’ still rankles a little. In particular, Palen charges me with confusing page counts and criticism; with mixing up Atlantic history and global history; and with ‘expect[ing] the impossible’ from the volume that I was reviewing.
Of these charges, it is the third that really gets to the substantive differences between us. Continue reading “Diminishing Returns of the Global Turn”
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[Update: Please also read Professor Bell’s response.]
A recent New Republic article by David A. Bell on the limitations of the ‘global turn’ has been making the rounds this month, and deservedly so. Bell’s article reviews Emily Rosenberg’s 2012 edited volume A World Connecting: 1870-1945.  Nestled within it, however, is a much larger critique of the global historiographical shift toward ‘networks’ and ‘globalization’.
Bell’s criticisms are provocative. They are eloquent.
But are they fair? Let’s take a look. Continue reading “In Defense of Global History”