The Georgetown Institute for Global History (GIGH) was founded in the belief that all histories form part of a greater, global whole, and that the structures of today’s interlinked societies are the products of historical forces that have shaped the world since the beginning of time.
Mass media, social scientists, and political elites alike tend to depict the contemporary political, cultural, and socio-economic scene as radically ruptured from the past by an unprecedented phenomenon called globalization. GIGH seeks to promote a richer understanding of the world we live in by exploring the deep historical roots of contemporary interactions among this planet’s diverse societies and cultures. It endeavors to cultivate an understanding of globalization as a long and ever evolving dynamic of interactions that have brought human beings together in both conflict and cooperation for millennia. To regard the human experience through a narrowly presentist lens is to limit ourselves to a three-dimensional perspective on a four-dimensional phenomenon. Only by understanding how our world has been molded by the forces of change over time can we hope to gain a fuller understanding of it, let alone navigate our way towards the future.
The Institute’s mission is to encourage historians in all fields—social, economic, cultural, intellectual, environmental, demographic, military, political, diplomatic—to consider how the particular regions, themes and issues they study have contributed to, and been shaped by, global processes of historical change. Looking at history from a global perspective encourages comparative analysis—the systematic exploration of the differences as well as the similarities among diverse eras, cultures, societies, and peoples.
To this end, the Institute seeks to bring historians of diverse interests together to explore the interconnections among their fields of study. It aspires to promote a deeper understanding among the general public, educators, and policy professionals of how our world has been shaped by history.
All faculty, graduate students, and other members of the academic and scholarly community in metropolitan Washington and beyond are welcome at GIGH seminars and workshops. To have your name added to an e-mail notification list for any given seminar, or to request a copy of a paper in advance of a session, please contact the seminar chair(s), as indicated on the individual series' pages. If you would like to be added to an email list for GIGH events, or if you have any questions, please contact the GIGH Program Coordinator, Christopher Seeling.