Who Wrote World History?

World history is a vast and complicated subject that has been studied by scholars for centuries. However, the question of who wrote world history is not as straightforward as it may seem. Historians have different perspectives on this topic, and their opinions are often shaped by their cultural backgrounds, political beliefs, and personal biases.

The Western Perspective

In the Western world, the idea of “universal” history has been dominant since the Enlightenment. The European philosophers of the 18th century believed that there was a single narrative of human progress that could be traced back to ancient Greece and Rome. They saw themselves as the inheritors of this tradition and believed that their civilization was superior to others.

The early modern historians in Europe were mostly white men who focused on the achievements of their own societies. They were interested in documenting wars, politics, and economics. Their works were often written for an elite audience, such as monarchs or aristocrats.

However, in recent decades there has been a shift towards a more inclusive approach to world history in Western academia. Scholars are now examining the histories of marginalized groups such as women, people of color, and LGBTQ+ communities. They are also exploring non-Western perspectives on world history.

The Asian Perspective

In Asia, historians have long recognized that there are multiple ways to interpret world history. For example, Chinese historians focus on dynastic cycles and the continuity of Chinese civilization over thousands of years. Indian historians trace the development of Hinduism and Buddhism and examine how these religions influenced other cultures.

In Japan, historians have focused on how their country developed in isolation from other nations for several centuries before opening up to trade with the West in the 19th century. Korean historians explore how their country was repeatedly invaded by neighboring powers throughout its history.

  • The African Perspective

African historians have faced unique challenges when it comes to writing world history. Many of their societies did not have a written language until the arrival of European colonizers. This has made it difficult to reconstruct their histories from a pre-colonial perspective.

However, African historians have been able to piece together the stories of their ancestors through oral traditions, archaeology, and other sources. They have highlighted the achievements of African civilizations such as the Kingdom of Ghana, the Mali Empire, and the Great Zimbabwe.

Conclusion

In conclusion, who wrote world history depends on one’s perspective. The dominant narrative in Western academia has traditionally been Eurocentric and focused on the achievements of white men. However, in recent decades there has been a shift towards a more inclusive approach that recognizes the contributions of marginalized groups and non-Western perspectives.

Historians in Asia, Africa, and other parts of the world have long recognized that there are multiple ways to interpret world history. By examining these diverse perspectives, we can gain a deeper understanding of human civilization and appreciate its complexity.