Parcours historiographiques

Global History

The Annales  and History on a World Scale

Articles selected by Étienne Anheim, Romain Bertrand, Antoine Lilti, and Stephen Sawyer.

With the support of :


This selection of texts published in the Annales since 1946 situates the journal within the international historiographical debates of the last twenty years that have focused on global history, world history, connected history, comparative history, and regional histories (Imperial, Atlantic, etc.). Both hailed as a forerunner of some of the major trends in contemporary historiography—thanks to historians such as Fernand Braudel and Pierre Chaunu—as well as criticized for hindering French and even European progress in the field of history on a macroscopic level, the Annales has played a central role in ongoing methodological debates linked to global history. Nonetheless, the confusion between a “school of thought,” which is often difficult to define, and the journal, which still awaits its history, has revealed the necessity of looking back on historians’ practices of the past decades.

This project arises out of a partnership between the Annales, the Bureau du Livre of the French Embassy in Germany, the Institut Français, the Institut Français d’Histoire en Allemagne, and the Centre Marc Bloch, established during the “Histoire globale/Globalgeschichte. Deutsche und französische Perspektiven” conference held on December 6 and 7, 2012. It is driven by the current French debates in the field over the last decade, which has seen a number of ambitious editorial undertakings. In 2001, the dossier entitled “Une histoire à l’échelle globale,” including articles by Sanjay Subrahmanyam and Serge Gruzinski along with a commentary by Roger Chartier, marked an important moment in the emergence—or re-emergence—of the notion of global history within the domain of French historiography. The 2004 publication of Gruzinski’s Les quatre parties du monde. Histoire d’une mondialisation has also largely contributed to putting research topics related to the notion of a “first globalization” on the French historiographical map—especially themes such as “hybrid” (métisse) thought and practice in addition to the role of “cultural relays” in post-conquest contexts. In 2007, the Revue d’Histoire Moderne et Contemporaine continued to explore and evaluate these ideas with a dossier entitled “Histoire globale, histoires connectées”. Subsequent publications—for example, L’histoire du monde au XVe siècle (2009), edited by Patrick Boucheron and reviewed in the Annales by Gruzinski, and L’histoire à parts égales by Romain Bertrand (2011) (here or here), have confirmed French historians’ commitment to writing a history on a regional or global scale, which confronts and compares societies that are usually studied separately.

By situating these recent debates within a broader timeframe, the selection of texts proposed here highlights the various phases of reflection upon method and scale (or, more precisely, focal length) that have taken place in the Annales and which are relevant to the gradual elaboration of historical study on a global scale. They also address the various impasses historians have encountered, from the contributions of Braudel, Febvre, and Chaunu following World War II to the importance that historical anthropology accorded to global history in the 1970s and the most recent developments in the field. The diversity and continuity of these texts reveal a historical thread that often goes unnoticed, one that for over fifty years has linked the Annales to the fundamental intellectual and political dilemma of expanding the “Western” historical field beyond the so-called “Western” world. To this effect, the dossier not only provides readers with a diverse range of historiographical approaches, but also contributes to dissipating the myths and misunderstandings surrounding the origins and methods of global history as well as its epistemological and critical ambitions.

Part I: The Annales, Founders of Global History?

Chap. 1: The Intellectual Foundations of Global History

Lucien Febvre, “Sur une nouvelle collection d’Histoire,” 9-1 (1954): 1-6.

Pierre Gourou, “Civilisation et malchance géographique,” 4-4 (1949): 445-50.

Germaine Tillion, “Dans l’Aurès. Le drame des civilisations archaïques,” 12-3 (1957): 393-402.

Chap. 2: Early Milestones

Fernand Braudel, “Monnaies et civilisations. De l’or du Soudan à l’argent d’Amérique. Un drame méditerranéen,” special issue, 1-1 (1946): 9-22.

Pierre Chaunu, “Le galion de Manille. Grandeur et décadence d’une route de la soie,” 6-4 (1951): 447-62.

Part II: The World Conquest of Historical Anthropology

Chap. 3: Nathan Wachtel, “La vision des vaincus. La Conquête espagnole dans le folklore indigène,” 22-3 (1967): 554-85.

Chap. 4: William Randles, “Échanges de marchandises et échanges de dieux. Un chassé-croisé culturel entre Européens et Bantu,” 30-4 (1975): 635-53.

Chap. 5: Roy Bin Wong, “Les émeutes de subsistances en Chine et en Europe occidentale,” 38-2 (1983): 234-58.

Chap. 6: Geoffrey E. R. Lloyd, “Cognition et culture : science grecque et science chinoise,” 51-6 (1996): 1185-1200.

Part III: Current Debates and Methods in Global History

Chap. 7: Sanjay Subrahmanyam, “Du Tage au Gange au XVIe siècle : une conjoncture millénariste à l’échelle eurasiatique,” 56-1 (2001): 51-84.

Chap. 8: Serge Gruzinski, “Les mondes mêlés de la Monarchie catholique et autres ‘connected histories,’” 56-1 (2001): 85-117.

Chap. 9: Roger Chartier, “La conscience de la globalité (commentaire),” 56-1 (2001): 119-23.

Chap. 10: Francesca Trivellato, “Juifs de Livourne, Italiens de Lisbonne, hindous de Goa. Réseaux marchands et échanges interculturels à l’époque moderne,” 58-3 (2003): 581-603.

Chap. 11: Catherine Jami, “Légitimité dynastique et reconstruction des sciences. Mei Wending (1633-1721),” 59-4 (2004): 701-27.

Chap. 12: Étienne de La Vaissière and Éric Trombert, “Des Chinois et des Hu. Migrations et intégration des Iraniens orientaux en milieu chinois durant le haut Moyen Âge,” 59-5/6 (2004): 931-69.

Chap. 13: Simon Schaffer, “L’inventaire de l’astronome. Le commerce d’instruments scientifiques au XVIIIe siècle (Angleterre-Chine-Pacifique),” 60-4 (2005): 791-815.

Chap. 14: Gilles Havard, “Le rire des jésuites. Une archéologie du mimétisme dans la rencontre franco-amérindienne (XVIIe-XVIIIe siècle),” 62-3 (2007): 539-573.

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