Rethinking American History in a Global Age

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Thomas Bender
University of California Press, 2002 - History - 427 pages
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In rethinking and reframing the American national narrative in a wider context, the contributors to this volume ask questions about both nationalism and the discipline of history itself. The essays offer fresh ways of thinking about the traditional themes and periods of American history. By locating the study of American history in a transnational context, they examine the history of nation-making and the relation of the United States to other nations and to transnational developments. What is now called globalization is here placed in a historical context.
A cast of distinguished historians from the United States and abroad examines the historiographical implications of such a reframing and offers alternative interpretations of large questions of American history ranging from the era of European contact to democracy and reform, from environmental and economic development and migration experiences to issues of nationalism and identity. But the largest issue explored is basic to all histories: How does one understand, teach, and write a national history even as one recognizes that the territorial boundaries do not fully contain that history and that within that bounded territory the society is highly differentiated, marked by multiple solidarities and identities?
Rethinking American History in a Global Age advances an emerging but important conversation marked by divergent voices, many of which are represented here. The various essays explore big concepts and offer historical narratives that enrich the content and context of American history. The aim is to provide a history that more accurately reflects the dimensions of American experience and better connects the past with contemporary concerns for American identity, structures of power, and world presence. In rethinking and reframing the American national narrative in a wider context, the contributors to this volume ask questions about both nationalism and the discipline of history itself. The essays offer fresh ways of thinking about the traditional themes and periods of American history. By locating the study of American history in a transnational context, they examine the history of nation-making and the relation of the United States to other nations and to transnational developments. What is now called globalization is here placed in a historical context.
A cast of distinguished historians from the United States and abroad examines the historiographical implications of such a reframing and offers alternative interpretations of large questions of American history ranging from the era of European contact to democracy and reform, from environmental and economic development and migration experiences to issues of nationalism and identity. But the largest issue explored is basic to all histories: How does one understand, teach, and write a national history even as one recognizes that the territorial boundaries do not fully contain that history and that within that bounded territory the society is highly differentiated, marked by multiple solidarities and identities?
Rethinking American History in a Global Age advances an emerging but important conversation marked by divergent voices, many of which are represented here. The various essays explore big concepts and offer historical narratives that enrich the content and context of American history. The aim is to provide a history that more accurately reflects the dimensions of American experience and better connects the past with contemporary concerns for American identity, structures of power, and world presence.
  

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Contents

Transnationalism and the Challenge to National Histories
25
Internationalizing International History
47
Where in the World Is America? The History
63
Early Modern American History
103
The African Diaspora
123
and the History of Atlantic Slavery
148
and the Internationalization of American History
168
A Comparative
195
Marilyn B Young
274
Rob Kroes
295
Do American Historical Narratives Travel?
317
FrancoisWeil 31 7
343
Ron Robin
367
David A Hollinger
381
APPENDIX PARTICIPANTS IN THE LA PIETRA
397
INDEX
405

Robert Wiebe
236
Daniel T Rodgers
250

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About the author (2002)

Thomas Bender is University Professor of the Humanities and Professor of History at New York University. He is the author of Intellect and Public Life: Essays on the Social History of Academic Intellectuals in the United States (1993), New York Intellect: A History of Intellectual Life in New York City, from 1750 to the Beginnings of Our Own Time (1988), and Community and Social Change in America (1978) and the editor of The Antislavery Debate: Capitalism and Abolitionism as a Problem in Historical Interpretation (California, 1992).

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