Fernand Braudel Center, Binghamton University

 

Abstracts

 

Review XXVIII, 1, 2005

 

William G. Martin, “Global Movements before Globalization: Black Movements as World-Historical Movements”

 

Current studies of globalization herald a new age of global social movements.  This article argues by contrast that movements, and specifically Black movements, have for at least several centuries operated globally as antisystemic movements. A new wave of historiographical writing is drawn upon to argue that Black international movements not only arose out of the world-scale, shared experiences of slavery, colonialism, and racial oppression, but have served to shape core crises and transitions of the capitalist world-economy. Three examples are provided to suggest a new perspective and research agenda, namely Black movement waves surrounding the Haitian revolution, anticolonial revolts, and the long Black 1960s. 

 

Jeffrey D. Howison, ‘Let Us Guide Our Own Destiny’: Rethinking the History of the Black Star Line

 

Although the Black Star Line existed officially from 1919 to 1922 and sailed a limited number of voyages around the Americas, its symbolic dimension exceeded the spatial and temporal boundaries of the actual ships themselves. The ideological significance of the Black Star Line was as great, if not greater, than the actual economic dimension of the company in terms of accumulating capital. In various instances, the Black Star Line appealed to people of African descent struggling in the Americas and in Africa, although the physical ships never crossed the Atlantic. The appeal of the Black Star Line during the 1920’s reflects the increased cohesiveness of the Black world during this period.

 

Kelvin Santiago-Valles, World-Historical Ties Among ‘Spontaneous’ Slave Rebellions in the Atlantic

 

Most slave revolts during the late-eighteenth to late-nineteenth centuries were not usually organized in a globally-conscious manner, nor did they include deliberate coordination across islands, continents, and oceans. For this reason, much of the corresponding scholarship tends to conceptualize such uprisings and corollary resistances as geographically isolated—locally, regionally, and globally. This article proposes an alternative conceptual framework by illustrating how all local uprisings and anti-slavery conspiracies among captive populations did not have to be consciously linked across different localities and regions in order to have a global and long-term impact on the architecture and prospects of the colonial-capitalist world-system. The analytical framework proposed in this article hopefully will contribute to the broader project of identifying how hegemonic global structures were transformed and partly undermined during this period. The goal is not only to illustrate new ways in which Africa, the Americas, and Europe were interconnected, but also to describe how Afro-diasporic resistances were linked to other subaltern revolts and laboring-poor contestations across the planet.

 

Martin O. West, Global Africa: The Emergence and Evolution of an Idea

 

This article offers some chronological contours of the global Africa idea—the idea that Africans and people of African descent worldwide share common historical experiences, notably slavery, colonialism, and racial oppression and that they should, therefore, unite on the basis of these commonalities to effect their mutual liberation. Temporally, the global Africa is divided into four periods: the first from the 1770’s to 1900; the second from 1900 to 1945; the third from 1945 to 1963; and the fourth from 1963 to the present. The global Africa idea emerged in the late-eighteenth century, in the era of abolitionism and of the U.S., French, and Haitian revolutions, which events are collectively called the quadripartite revolution. The global Africa idea, then, originated in the African diaspora on the west bank of the Atlantic Ocean (the Americas and western Europe), as opposed to the east bank of the Atlantic (Asia), or on the African continent itself. In its second, third, and fourth moments, the global Africa idea spread from its base on the west bank of the Atlantic to the African continent and dispersed Black communities in Asia and the Pacific.

 

Review XXVIII, 2, 2005

 

Hans Ulrich Obrist, AScience and Art: A Conversation with Ilya Prigogine@

 

Hans Ulrich Obrist, curator of art at the Musée d=Art Moderne de la Ville de  Paris interviews the late Ilya Prigogine, Nobel Prize in Chemistry. Prigogine restates his belief in the centrality of the arrow of time in the explanation of physical reality, and ex­plains why he came to work on non-equilibrium and bifurcations. He also explains the relation of his scientific views to the phi­losophy of Henri Bergson, He proceeds to discuss the universe as the creation of possibilities and shows the relation of this con­cept to art. He speaks of his own collection of pre-Columbian sculpture as an inspiration for his scientific work. He explains how he has sought to suppress the supposed contradiction between science and art. He then discusses the role of human groups in creativity and the limitations of Eurocentrism. He says of the fu­ture of science that it must become more conscious of social problems and base itself on the end of certainties. Asked what in his own life at 80 he did not complete, Prigogine says that he did not become a good pianist.

 

Isabelle Stengers, AEvents and Histories of Knowledge@

 

What does an event mean in the history of thought? This article starts with the Galilean event as it can be identified with the birth of modern physics and then compares the scope, challenge, and risk of two subsequent twentieth-century events both of which can be associated with a contestation of what was born together with modern physics: the reference to nature as ruled by objective laws. One is a philosophical event, that is, Alfred North Whitehead's speculative attempt to escape the resulting bifurcation of nature. The other belongs to physics B it is Ilya Prigogine's attempt to generalize classical and  quantum laws into a broken time symmetry description. In both cases, coherence is the primordial value, but the difference between the two attempts shows that such a value cannot be considered in abstraction from the paths of philosophy and modern physics as they diverged since Galileo.

 

Roberto Fernández Retamar, AConocimiento, teoría y tensión entre conocimiento local y universal@

 

The concept of universal often means in practice the views and norms of the developed North, which fails to take into account the perspectives of the South. The article discusses ways towards achieving a true universalism via a new kind of university and a "new international."

 

Carlos A. Aguirre Rojas, AHegemonic Cultures and Subaltern Cultures: Between Dialogue and Conflict@

 

This article reconstructs the complicated relationship between hegemonic cultures and subaltern cultures, showing their articulation and movements in a kind of a complex circle, but at the same time their permanent opposition and struggle. The article also tries  to demonstrate how popular or subaltern culture is the final source of any possible cultural construction. To this objective, the article examines Carlo Ginzburg=s The Cheese and the Worms, along with the elements of Bajtin, Thompson, Bloch, and Davis used by Ginzburg.  

 

Review XXVIII, 3, 2005

 

Franco Moretti, AWorld-Systems Analysis, Evolutionary Theory, Weltliteratur

 

The notion of Aworld literature,@ coined by Goethe in the early nineteenth century, has not yet received the full theoretical development that it deserves. In this article, I look for a possible solution in two theories originally developed outside the literary field: evolution and world-system analysis. I begin by describing their appeal for literary history; then, I discuss their conceptual (in-)compatibility; and finally, outline the new image of Weltliteratur that emerges from their encounter.

 

Massimo De Angelis, AThe Political Economy of Global Neoliberal Governance@

 

In this article I discuss the relation between the emergent discourse of Agovernance,@  neoliberal policies, and the process of capitalist globalization. In particular I explore what can be called the critical Apolitical economy@ of governance, which to me implies, broadly speaking, investigating three types of complementary linkages: the link between governance and capital=s problematic of accumulation; the link between governance and social conflict, i.e., the problematic of social stability for accumulation; the link between governance and discourse, or governance as discourse to manage and promote that social stability which is fundamental for capital=s accumulation. These three dimensions lead to two underpinning questions. First, how is governance located in relation to neoliberal policies that have emerged and developed in the last quarter of a century? Secondly, how is the problematic of governance related to the phenomenon of Aglobalization@, i.e., of accumulation of capital in the neoliberal period?

 

Samir Amin, AChina, Market Socialism, and U. S. Hegemony@

 

For the past two decades China has chosen a path called "market socialism." The author considers that this choice could be an efficient stage on the long road to developed socialism as long as public property continues to prevail and peasants have guaranteed access to land. Failing to ensure these conditions, the pattern of national capitalism which would become the real substance of the project will hardly be sustainable and moreover would have to face devastating hostility from the U.S. attempt to perpetuate its hegemony.

 

Ismael Saz, AWas there Francoism in Spain? Impertinent Reflections on the Historic Place of the Dictatorship@

                                                                             

The Francoist dictatoship in Spain was considered by most analysts during its existence and for a period after Franco's death as a Fascist regime. This article treats the successive ways in which this description has since been called into doubt by subsequent analysts - initially by Juan Linz, but then in different ways by many others. The article traces the historio­graphical and political implications of the multiple alternative descriptions by analysts of many different persuasions. He in­sists that the appropriate concept is to consider the Francoist regime as a right wing military dictatorship with Catholic over­tones, and to understand the regime as part and parcel of the continuing history of Spain and not as an aberrant interlude. It was rather the conscious product of a series of right wing polit­ical and social actors who found in Spanish nationalism the best response possible to the challenges of modern society - those re­lated to political democracy, social equality, and national plu­rality.

 

Review XXVIII, 4, 2005

 

Vitorino Magalhães Godinho, "Portugal and the Making of the Atlantic World: Sugar Fleets and Gold Fleets, the Seventeenth to the Eighteenth Centuries"

 

In this classic article, Vitorino Magalhães Godinho emphasizes the Atlantic rather than the Mediterranean origins of Atlantic history. He reconstructs the geographical, material, and economic interdependencies creating the Atlantic as an integrated historical space. Through careful analysis of specific routes, complexes of commodities, and interstate relations he establishes the “structural dynamic of the Atlantic economy.” By identifying the shift from a cycle of sugar, tobacco, and salt to a cycle of gold, port, and Madeira wine he is able both to delineate the changing composition and character of the Atlantic economy and to establish the specific temporal rhythms of its development. His focus is Portugal, but by treating Portugal as a specific node within this Atlantic complex he is able to analyze the processes creating hierarchical relations among states in the interstate system.

 

Rui Santos, "With a Mind to Science: Theoretical Underpinnings of Vitorino Magalhães Godinho’s Historical Work"

 

The pivotal role of the formation of a critical and scientific mentality, akin to free and responsible citizenship, in building the modern world, and as its reverse the tragic failure of the Portuguese to carry their discoverers' role into full-fledged modernity, is an often neglected dimension in the accounts of Magalhães Godinho's view of the discoverers' world-building process. Such a way of posing the historical and macrosocial problem is not dissociable from the scientific formation of the historian's mind, any more than it is from the political circumstances of his civic life. This article aims to shed light on formation of that scientific mind by looking into some of its less patent theoretical underpinnings, often not explicit in Magalhães Godinho's more widely known writings.

 

Dale Tomich, “Vitorino Magalhães Godinho: Atlantic History, World History”

 

This article reconstructs the biographical, intellectual, and political contexts of Vitorino Magalhães Godinho’s classic “Portugal and the Making of the Atlantic World: Sugar Fleets and Gold Fleets, the Seventeenth to the Eighteenth Centuries.”  Godinho’s political approach to the history of the Discoveries and maritime expansion demonstrates a broad concern for economic and social history and the history of culture. He sought to contribute to a vigorous and democratic public life by providing a basis for Portuguese identity that went beyond Salazar’s fascist ideology. Godinho actively participated in the postwar Annales, and in France enjoyed close contact with Lucien Febvre and Fernand Braudel. Godinho's work expresses the substantive and methodological concerns and innovations that characterized the transition to the “second Annales.”  His complex and sophisticated reconstruction of the “structural dynamic of the Atlantic economy” reveals a sophisticated theoretical approach to world historical change that still retains its relevance and vitality today.

 

Immanuel Wallerstein, “The Discovery of the World-Economy”

 

Os descobrimentos refers not only to the discovery of far away lands by the Portuguese or even by Europeans. It was also the discovery of a new social construct, that of the capita­list world-economy­. The discovery of this new social construct was the work of a group of re­searchers, who were writ­ing in the mid-twentieth century. Among these transformatory works was that of Vitorino Magalhães Godinho. His "total history" centered on three themes: history has become geographi­cal; history is about an activity which is multidimen­sional but singu­lar; the past becomes relativized in the present. But what does total history mean in practice? There are four debates that need to be resolved. The first is the question of the unit of analysis. The second debate is about how to conceive it theoret­ically—systematically and/or historically. The third debate concerns what to do about the compartmen­tal­i­zation of reality into the economic, the politi­cal, and the sociocultural. And finally there is the debate about the two cultures. These four debates could clear the way for the construction of a his­toricized social science. And for this we must thank Vitorino Magalhães Godinho, not him alone to be sure, but as one of the pioneers.

 


Return to Review

 

Go to Fernand Braudel Center home page