6th GRAINES summer school, Sciences Po Reims, June, 6-8 2018
The rapid development of global history in the last twenty years has undoubtedly opened historiography to less known parts of world history leading to the call for a General “provincialization” of Europe in a global context (Chakrabarty). However, many studies that were conducted in this perspective perpetuated (and continue to do so) traditional visions of Europe and its history that conceptualized the continent as a more or less homogeneous cultural entity clearly distinguished from others, i.e. non-European cultures or civilisations. The same binary vision that sharply divides Europe from the non-European world underpins many classical studies in the field of Imperial history and even some works claiming to write in the vein of “post-colonial” perspectives. Numerous studies, however, have shown how problematic the assumption of such clear-cut distinctions are, not only when looking to the so-called European “peripheries” like the Ottoman or the Russian Empires or to “third spaces” of mixed cultures (Homi Bhabha) that flourished in colonial towns, but also with regard of the “core” of what has been defined as “European culture”. Indeed, migration and circulatory processes have always been a part of the continent’s culture(s) thus influencing, for instance, as Kapil Raj has shown the construction of what has been called “European sciences”. In this vein, rising up to the challenge of global history means to fully develop an entangled or connected history of Europe that also tracks down the hybrid forms of culture within European societies and cultures.
Based on this broad approach the GRAINES summer school 2018 will take a closer look at the multiple and multi-directional entanglements that shaped Europe and its cultures from the 17th to the 21st century. We will focus on various fields of studies, from the history of “peripheries” like the Mediterranean Sea, the Ottoman or Russian Empire to the new imperial/colonial history or the history of non-European-European encounters that took place within European societies. Questions we seek to address include: How did historical actors in these different situations and settings debated about Europe and its identity? What kind of stereotypes and visions of “civilizational” standards and hierarchies were mobilized? What kind of circulatory regimes and power relations characterized different periods of global transfer of people, objects, and knowledge? How did the latter shape Europe’s inner divisions and hierarchies? How did national rivalries and regional specificities influence the broader global connections of Europe?