Emperor’s new clothes? : using medieval history to reflect on the globalization paradigm
Title: Emperor’s new clothes? : using medieval history to reflect on the globalization paradigm
Author: MCCLURE, Julia
Series/Number: EUI MWP; 2017/01
This paper aims to give a face to the ‘globalization paradigm’ at work in some global histories and to recognize similarities between this meta-narrative coordination of space and time, and older meta-narratives of the world. Narrating the space and time of the world in order to understand and represent its coherent meaning is not a new phenomenon. This paper looks to medieval history to show that despite claims that the history of globalization is unique to modernity, the meta-narrative is familiar to narrations of the space and time of the world produced in the Middle Ages, before the supposed advent of globalization. The aim is to challenge the assumption that the globalization paradigm is a modern phenomenon, since this assumption conceals links to old historiographies and epistemologies. It suggests that medieval history can offer a critical reflection on existing global histories as well as opening up new directions for the future of the field. In addition to questioning the ‘modernity’ of the globalization paradigm medieval history acts as a reminder of the historically constructed nature of global concepts and the need to think about the ‘globe’ as a diversely narrated and constructed subject rather than a singular-empirical object. The paper looks to the European Middle Ages to reflect on the politics of conceptualisations and historicisations of the ‘globe’, and to show that pluralities are not only produced beyond Europe but within it, and this is a tactical-historiographical move to break away from the contours of pre-existing critiques from the fields of postcolonial and Latin American studies.
Subject: Global history; Medieval history; Historiography; Universal history; Globalization
Type of Access: openAccess