“Global History Is More than the History of Globalization”: Interview with Sebastian Conrad
In November 2016, Alexander Semyonov interviewed Sebastian Conrad, the author of the book What Is Global History? that was published by Princeton University Press in late 2016. Conrad is known for his publications on the history of German nationalism and colonialism and on Japanese historiography, as well as for his studies of the emerging field of global history. The interview focused on Conrad’s recent book, which offers an overview of the rapidly evolving field of global history and attempts to avoid equating global history with all-encompassing research. To this end, Conrad explores the specificity of global history as an approach aimed at restoring the context of historical processes. The cognitive or constructivist turn in global history announced by the author allows for meaningful comparisons between the logic of this field’s evolution and the development of New Imperial History. Conrad discusses the intellectual genealogy of the book, the problem of supplementing his “constructivist” orientation with a focus on structures, and he answers questions about the problem of historical subjectivity as perceived by different currents within global history. He also reflects on the first responses to the book by colleagues from different countries.