Global history emphasizes the study of processes that transcend regions, nations, and even any single civilization. These processes include colonialism and imperialism, nationalism, international relations, environment, religion, ideologies, labor, migration/diaspora, industrialization, peace and war, science and technology, slavery, women/gender, commerce/trade, popular culture, and demography. Those doing global history attempt to see these and related developments from a planetary, transnational perspective, applying historical insights to diverse peoples and cultures in ways not possible from the vantage point of established regional and national history.
The global history major concentration allows students to explore the various events and processes that transcend regions, nations, and civilizations, especially since 1500. Courses that fall into this concentration analyze the creation of global commerce and markets, migration, colonialism and imperialism, international relations and warfare, global cultural and social trends, and the process of “globalization.” In addition to broad surveys such as “The World since 1945,” students concentrating in global history can take courses such as “The Atlantic Slave Trade” and the “Global History of Warfare.”
Students entering the field take two foundational seminars introducing major works while at the same time defining a primary thematic area of research. The choice of adviser and the focus of MA and PhD research will reflect that thematic area. Because global history involves studying processes that have an impact beyond a single nation or region, students may take courses with faculty specializing in several different areas. Aside from the courses available in the History Department, students may find useful offerings in other departments at this university and at Duke University and North Carolina State University.
UNC’s doctoral global history program has a strong base of faculty with wide ranging interests as well as active engagement by currently enrolled graduate students. Support is available for language training as well as for overseas research. A Global History Group, consisting of both faculty and graduate students, administers the field and sponsors speakers and discussions.
For information on the Global field graduate comprehensive exams, consult the Graduate Student Handbook.