Global History and Decolonization: A Moment of Possibility, a Call for Integration

Abstract: This introduction surveys recent scholarship that examines decolonization in a global frame. While doing so, it contends that a paradox defines the current state of the field. Many historians have broached the topic of decolonization and highlighted its salience in world history. Yet, the history of decolonization has been an undertheorized topic of study in the field of global history. Few scholars have articulated the potential contribution of global history with respect to historicizing the global ends of empire. This introduction amends this historiographical oversight. It insists that global history holds a clear advantage for examining the structural and normative changes which the process of decolonization encompasses. This special issue claims this advantage by returning to two of global history’s long-standing commitments: its embrace of methodological pluralism and focus on analytical integration. This introduction argues that historians will benefit from deploying an integrated global historical approach when evaluating decolonization in a global frame. It then explores how the subsequent six articles demonstrate this approach’s analytical advantages.

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