- Purchase/rental options available:
This essay first explores two contexts that have transformed the way that the international history of the French Revolution has been written over the last thirty years and which have recently provoked so many historians to take a global turn in their research and teaching at the expense of strictly national historiography. First, political relations between France and the Anglo-American world in the 1980s made the older, regnant model of Franco-American sister revolutions, inherited from R. R. Palmer, less plausible; this development sent historians looking for other models that would make the Revolution seem more immediately relevant to students and readers. Second, transformations in the global economy since the 1970s have put globalization on the agenda in a particularly striking manner. These same forces have transformed the economies within academia in ways that have favored teaching and publishing global history. This essay closes with some reflections on the difference between critical and naively enthusiastic approaches to the subject of globalization, and some recommendations on paths for future research on the French Revolution.