As with any area of scholarship, there is much slippage in the terminology of transnational histories. Scholars inflect the terms ‘global history’, ‘world history’ and ‘postcolonial history’ differently. Yet even if these terms inevitably lack precision and completely consensual meaning, there are differences to be descried in their general usage – at least, to my mind, between the terms ‘world history’ and ‘postcolonial history’, particularly the kind of world history most associated with the Journal of World History and the World History Association. My task here is to posit some of the characteristics and contributions of postcolonial histories as a transnational approach, and to this end to focus on Catherine Hall’s monograph Civilising Subjects: Metropole and Colony in the English Imagination 1830–1867 published by Polity Press and the University of Chicago Press in 2002.
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