III Congreso Internacional Historia a Debate Santiago de Compostela

III Congreso Internacional Historia a Debate
Santiago de Compostela, 14-18 de julio de 2004

Historia global como historia mundial


Hans-Heinrich Nolte (Universitat Hannover, Germany)

Methods of Teaching World History in Universities

In what direction and to what degree we want or are able to shape it - globalisation is here to stay. To teach World History in Schools today is an obvious necessity, simply, because in the traditional sense German kids are sitting side by side with those from Turkey or from Russia, as in American High-schools WASP-students are sitting side by side with those from Mexico or Korea.

University-teaching has to follow the needs of the school. But how to teach World-History in a University, which as in the German case does not have institutionalised sector "World-History" ? German historiographical tradition has focussed on the individual or the special traits of institutions and especially of nations, and in research working in this ideographical tradition is a necessary part of the trade of any historian.

How can we integrate the new field into an University-curriculum of World-History, as is attempted in Hannover, Vienna and Leipzig, without loosing old strengths ? The following methods prove to be usable1) Cooperative lectures ("Ringvorlesungen"), where colleagues from different area-studies lecture together, a) on topics as for instance on the history of the Indian ocean in Early Modern Times or the history of migrations or b) on chronological overviews as global history of the 18th. century.

2) Courses ("Seminare") on theories and concepts of World-History (Ranke, Burckhardt, Spengler, Toynbee, McNeill, Wallerstein, Mazlish, Landes, Frank, Pomeranz …)

3) Courses on methods (comparison as in early periods the most important method, and interpretation of sources on the same event from different angles as the most important method for interactive history. An example for the second may be the history of destruction and resistance of Jewish settlements in the 2nd. World War, for which three or four languages and sometimes as many scripts are precondition ­ in Eastern Europe German, Yiddish and Russian or Polish).

4) Courses on events of global history (as for instance the clash between China and Islam in the 8th. century taught in cooperation of an Islam- and a Sino-loge, the history of the Estado da India taught not only as part of the history of Portugal, but also as that of Arabic, Indian and Malayan kingdoms and trading-houses; the history of Imperialism up to 1914 taught from the viewpoint of an Imperialist power and of a local anti- movement, for instance in the Sepoy-war; or the 2nd. World War - taking Weinbergs book as starting point ­ taught not only for the Atlantic, but also for the Pacific theatre).

5) Language Courses. World-History does make it indispensable to keep at least a three-language standard for students of history. It follows, that students coming to University with good knowledge in only one foreign language do have to learn a second one well (and a third one for reading-capacity).

6) Curricula for moduls within the BA-curricula and special MA-curricula "World-History", to be developed within the staff.

7) Cooperation with other universities for areas-studies, which cannot be offered in the university concerned.

(Hans-Heinrich Nolte, Vienna 2004-05-26)

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