Universiteit Leiden

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Lecture

Glueing the pieces together: writing global history from shards?

Date
Tuesday 2 December 2014
Time
Location
University Library
Witte Singel 27
2311 BG Leiden
Room
Vossius Room

In recent years, the use of objects and material culture in the writing of global history has taken flight. Arjun Appadurai's 'lives of things' have gradually, but steadily changed into 'the global lives of thing'. Having left behind their exclusive focus on the textual record, historians now happily traipse into what used to be the domains of art historians. Paintings, bronzes, textiles and porcelains are made to tell stories that pass through time as well as space, especially where objects allow scholars to jump over the linguistic hurdles of the documentary record. Historians have perhaps been more hesitant to venture into the archaeological record, but there, too, the fragmentary sources have been made to tell stories of global connections across time and space. This talk will explore whether fragments and shards also have stories to tell as fragments, and asks whether writing a global history from a fragmentary record is perhaps a different kind of history

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