‘Grand Narrative’ and ‘New’ World Histories: Their Historical Challenges and Contributions in Western Scholarship

  • R. Charles Weller


This chapter places the emergence of the ‘new world histories’ within the context of an increasingly interconnected and interdependent—i.e., globalizing—world, but questions to what extent the various approaches, themes and emphases—‘transnational’, ‘comparative’, ‘global’, ‘crosscultural’, etc.—of the ‘new world histories’ represent genuinely ‘new’ innovations in world historical scholarship. It argues that, along with defining ‘world history’ broadly in terms of a cluster of various themes and approaches, an explicit commitment in both theory and practice to ‘grand narrative’ as the overarching frame and ultimate goal of the various themes and approaches must be preserved, otherwise ‘world history’ loses its distinctiveness as a field. The chapter goes on to identify six major lines of criticism against ‘grand narrative’ world history, placing them in historical context, with emphasis on the continuing tension between ‘old’ Eurocentric and nationalistic verses ‘new’ global(ist)-multiculturalist approaches.

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • R. Charles Weller
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of HistoryWashington State UniversityPullmanUSA
  2. 2.Georgetown University (ACMCU)Washington D.C.USA

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