Erasmus University Rotterdam, Netherlands - World History Website
To World Historians
World history on a academic level is rare in the Netherlands. Most of the times students may follow one or two courses. We decided to present a minor and a major in World History at the department of Non-Western History of the Faculty of History and Arts, Erasmus University Rotterdam, Netherlands. We recently opened a website where you can find our teaching programme, research and active students. Please visit us at: http://www.fhk.eur.nl/worldhistory/ . Our starting point reads as follows:
From time immemorial, all sorts of international cultural relations and trade networks have existed in large parts of the old world (Eurasia) and Africa. For most of the time, Europe's role was marginal. This changed when, from the 15th century onwards, the world, headed by an expanding Europe and later including the Americas, became a much tighter knit whole and an ever more integrated world economy came into existence. Nowadays, that integration has progressed so far that we tend to speak of a 'global village'.
For the last 100 years, these historical processes of worldwide relations and globalization have been receiving increasing attention. This has often led to very Eurocentric world views (Europe as the centre and benchmark of the entire world). In recent decades, this one-sided approach has increasingly come under fire, as a consequence of developments there, the effects of which are felt here (decolonization, rapid industrialization, and urbanization outside Europe); it is the consequence of the communication and transport revolution (satellites, tourism); and it is the consequence of the arrival of millions of non-Western migrants in the West, which by some of them is tellingly explained as 'we are here, 'cause you were there.' In this study programme, both the thinking on, and the effects of, these historical developments are dealt with. This certainly does not mean, however, that we will only look at historical developments at the global level. The main concern in this study programme is the question of how, in the course of history, global, world-regional (i.e., a group of countries, for example, West Africa), national, and local levels dealt with each other, and what effects this had at the various levels. In practice, this means attention is focused on cultural and socio-economic changes, their organization, and forms of resistance to them.
A central - and quite topical - question in this approach to world history is the issue of multiculturality. This is why three historical phenomena, in particular, receive extra attention, namely mobility (migration and urbanization and their effects), group cultures (from popular culture / elite culture to changing gender relations), and image formation (constructions of 'the other'). The above-mentioned themes and aspects of world history are introduced in the basic course and further elaborated in the separate courses and seminars of the programme. More specifically, this means subjects like 'Migration and multiculturality', 'Group cultures and the construction of "the other"', 'The organization of globalization and local resistance', or, for example, a seminar on diasporas in history.
Dr. G. Oonk
Department of Non-Western History
Faculty of History and Arts (L-3 75)
Erasmus University Rotterdam
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