Roundtable: the archives of global history in a time of international immobility

Sara Honarmand Ebrahimi, Ismay Milford, Jennifer Bond, Nilina Deb Lal, Yasmina El Chami, Hannah Elsisi, Namrata Ganneri, Kirsten Kamphuis, Mark Tizzoni, Uğurgül Tunç, Curtis Wallace, Zhengfeng Wang, Andreas Weber, Rustin Zarkar

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Reading the acknowledgements section of any book that might be categorized as global history, one comes across a long and impressive list of archives, frequently spanning multiple continents. These books often historicize structures that facilitate or constrain global connections, mobility and interactions, and they often present narratives that are less Eurocentric than those they write against. But they rarely raise the question of who gets to be a global historian. After all, the use of multiple archives across national borders has always relied on the possession of a strong passport and the funding of a wealthy institution. When these once marginal issues suddenly gained traction in March 2020 amid national lockdowns and restrictions on international travel, we were puzzled. Why did such issues become ‘global’ only when they started to impact particular scholars – notably those who had previously enjoyed the greatest access to resources and freedoms? Why did funding bodies start to think about these issues only once the pandemic hit? What does it mean to ‘do’ global history in a deeply unequal world? It was during an e-conversation about these questions that the idea for a seminar series entitled ‘The archives of global history in a time of international immobility’ was born.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)586-597
Number of pages12
JournalHistorical Research
Issue number270
Early online date9 Aug 2022
Publication statusPublished - 2 Nov 2022


  • global history
  • history of science
  • Natural History Collections


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