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Decentering history: local stories and cultural crossing in a global world
Lecture by Natalie Zemon Davis
Given at 2010 Ludwig Holberg Prize Symposium in Bergen, Norway
“Decentering History” describes the expansion of historical writing in the decades after World War II to include the study of working people and other non-elite populations and women and to move beyond a focus on Europe or the West. Two examples are then given–one is a comparison of the literary careers of Ibn Khaldun and Christine de Pizan in the scribal cultures on either side of the Mediterranean in the late fourteenth and early fifteenth centuries. The other is the transmission and transformation of practices of divination, healing, and detection from Africa to the slave communities of Suriname in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.
See also the discussion between Natalie Zemon Davis, Bonnie Smith, David Abulafia and Joan Scott.