Recent Transformations in the Fields of Research on Global History and of World History Writing: A Story from the Beginning of the 21st Century
These introductory remarks focus besides the presentation of the articles in the thematic issue on two phenomena. World History got over the recent two decades again a prominent place within historiography and it is more and more characterized by a transnational practice in doing research, publication, and academic teaching. Back in 2000 when reviewing the previous decade it has been argued that global history turned into a field driven by archival studies different places and based on a division of labour inevitable in a highly specialized research landscape. An increasing number of workshops, a more and more sophisticated methodological debate, and the emergence of academic journals are among the indicators for a process of professionalisation. Insofar, this period was distinguished from a time when general histories and grand narratives had been written often by just one author synthesizing secondary literature dominating the field. Recently large syntheses are back on the book market, although some of them different in style and empirical foundation. Therefore, the relationship between the revival of the demand and the production of such master pieces and the ongoing development of global history as a field with emphasis on empirical research merits attention. A second point in case is the multilevel organizational pattern, namely the simultaneity of national audiences, local traditions of history writing and continental as well as global networks of scholars.