Ethnocentrisms in Global History and the Role of Bilingual Publications

Flyer für den Workshop: Ethnocentrisms in Global History and the Role of Bilingual Publications.

Date: 8 March 2022

Registration via Email.

Since its emergence as a new approach in writing history, global history has focused on the question of how to overcome Eurocentrism by no longer privileging one center over another periphery. The rise and fall of area studies and the continuous critique of methodological nationalism notwithstanding, various ethnocentrisms outside of Europe and North America, ranging from Afrocentrism and Islamocentrism to Sinocentrism, continue to shape the debate of how to understand global history.

This interdisciplinary workshop chooses a transnational approach by interrogating the impact of ethnocentrisms on the practice of researching and writing global history, to analyze how ethnocentrisms migrate and how they are translated as concepts and method. How does the positionality of the global historian and the translator (who are not necessarily identical) shape assumptions and practices of world-making, and how the translingual and transcultural understanding of concepts oscillates between the poles of commensurability, analogies, and false equivalents?


The workshop also addresses the role of multilingual materials (periodicals, translations) by focusing on their production by translators and mediators who travel between different cultural contexts and academic systems, and who are impacted by asymmetries of knowledge and power.

Possible questions for the workshop are:

  • How do transnational historians who read and write in more than one language and who are members of more than one academic community discuss Eurocentrism and its varieties in their work?
  • In what ways does the need for accommodating different languages, conceptual terms, and conflicting narratives limit or expand the potential of global history? Under what circumstances do global historians consider analytical concepts and theories on culture, politics, and society no longer transferable from one culture to another, but as epistemic violence?
  • How do translators and cultural brokers situate themselves in this position, and how does this impact their actual work that takes place in-between the center and the periphery?
  • Is a global history possible without references to ethnocentrism? If yes, what could a non-centric way of writing history look like?


Each panel starts with a short introduction (2-3 min) of a historical source, literary source, or archival document that each participant considers representative of the questions listed above. Copies of these texts will be distributed prior to the workshop (the texts do not need to be necessarily in English, translations and/or summaries in English will be provided).

For registration please send an e-Mail to Prof. Dr. Matten under the subject „Registration“.