Conceptual Histories of the World and Global Translations: The Euro-Asian and African Semantics of the Social and the Economic

The point of departure of this project is the experienced need for a new world history. However, such a new world history must be something else than just an updated version of the conventional Western narrative with a starting point and a goal, where everything is measured in terms of backwardness and progress. The most recent example in this vein is the globalisation narrative since the early 1990s. A new world history must integrate perspectives formulated in academic discourses in non-Western cultures.

The target of the project is the conceptualisations and imaginations of the social and the economic in various European, Asian and African languages. The semantics of these two spheres are conventionally departing from Western conceptualisations with an origin in the Antique World. This Western provenience is arguably problematic in a global world without a Western centre. We want to establish a transnational epistemological horizon, towards which European, Asian and African conceptualisations of the social and the economic are related on an equal basis. The crucial question is to what extent the Western bias can be transgressed and how global communication across cultures and civilisations can be established.

The horizon we want to establish is not one where the Asian or African conceptualisations are played off against the European but one where European, Asian and African semantics are entangled in historical processes. A frequent argument in the postcolonial critique deals with a continuous Eurocentric agenda and that therefore full autonomy must be based on interruption of communication under development of indigenous discourse. The project wants to challenge this argument and search for possibilities of a non-Eurocentric transcultural dialogue.

http://www.helsinki.fi/hum/nordic/strath/projects/worldhistory.html

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