Organized by History Department, Faculty of Cultural Sciences and Faculty of Social and Political Sciences, Universitas Gadjah Mada
Transnational history has produced a significant body of work since its development in the late 1980s and early 1990s. This approach owed its inception as part from the shift from political history that was comfortably located within the national narrative toward social and cultural history in the 1970s and 1980s that developed perspectives such as race, ethnicity, class, and gender that was localized and non-national. These developments, unfortunately, had worried historians because of the parochial and antiquarian nature of local histories. The early 1990s and 2000s saw the publication of David Thelen’s Toward the Internationalization of American History and Thomas Bender’s Rethinking American History in Global Age from which efforts to provincialize and denationalize American history has pointed the way for a true dialogue of experts from all parts of the world in imagining differential spaces other than that of the nation-state. This is needed in order to construct an American historiography that could meet the current needs of a globalizing world and place it with emphasis on a perspective of the future. Instead of focusing on local phenomenon, the emphasis was on understanding social, cultural and political ones as a transnational process; reconceptualizing identities, communities, and products within different transnational framework; for instance, Hollywood movies as it was received and recreated on other parts of the globe and thus seeing it not merely as an American cultural product, but a wider globalizing phenomenon. Bruce Mazlish and Ralph Buultjen’s edited volume Conceptualizing Global History expands this further by bringing forth ideas in developing global narratives of local or non-national identities and spaces. Two approaches that were identified by Thelen has been to focus on either borderlands, as liminal spaces in which national units undergo transformative shifts, and the comparative approach, not merely as a means for national historians to compare each other’s narratives but to create new perspective altogether that is both national and international.