Entagled positions : from comparative and transnational history to histories of possible meanings
Title: Entagled positions : from comparative and transnational history to histories of possible meanings
Author: OLESEN, Brian Kjær
Citation: Tilman KULKE, Moritz VON BRESCIUS, Robrecht DECLERCQ and James WHITE (eds), Current historiographical research at the European University Institute, Zeitenblicke, 2013, Vol. 12, No. 1
External link: http://www.zeitenblicke.de/2013/1
In this essay I present a critical reassessment of comparative and transnational history. Drawing our attention to the problem of meaning and historicity, I argue that reconsidering the theoretical underpinnings of these approaches provide us the opportunity to rethink central aspects of our vocation. The structure of the argument is threefold. First I present an empirical case study focusing on the reception of Montesquieu's The Spirit of the Laws in eighteenth century Denmark-Norway. Secondly, I discuss the theoretical implications of classical positions within comparative and transnational history, placing some emphasis on their inherent tensions and frictions. Applying these approaches to the empirical example, I point out a number of problems particular to each perspective. Finally, introducing a concept of what I shall call 'histories of possible meaning', I attempt to overcome some of the most pressing theoretical problems inherent in comparative and transnational history.
Type of Access: openAccess
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