18 January 2010

1989 - Global Stories

1989 - Global stories is the title of a publication linked to a series of events in Berlin's House of the Cultures of the World to mark 1989, that tried to see that year as one of global significance beyond Germany and Europe:
1989 was a key year in the history of the 20th Century. Not only did the fall of the Berlin Wall became a turning point with global consequences - on all continents there were unpredictable upheavals whose effects reverberate to this day. Two decades later the House of World Cultures, founded in March 1989, is pointing to the global significance of these events and developments. The massacre at Tianan'men Square in China, the death of Khomeini in Iran, the withdrawal of Soviet troops from Afghanistan and its repercussions across Central Asia, the end of the dictators and the enforcement of neoliberalism in Latin America, the withdrawal of Cuban troops from Angola the independence of Namibia and the end of apartheid in South Africa ... all these are events of 1989. The focus is also the consequence are of the end of the Wall for migrants and their children in East or West Germany. With six studies the house of cultures turns the attention from the centre of Europe and traces the linkages of events beyond national borders. The program invites you to hear the stories of 1989 in many different voices of those whose lives are inextricably linked to them: actors, dissidents, artists, writers, scientists.
There is a review (in German) here:

... historians may profit from the contributions that offer the first sketches of a global history of "1989" and after, and that are worth following up with academic research: globalization as the thrust of the early 1990s, the tension between a perceived triumphant American Modern and alternative perspectives for the future, the fundamental change in the regional and global migration flows, the emergence and problems of a global civil society, operating with Western normative concepts, the events of 1989 as moments that provided a sense of global community. More broadly, these are issues of global nature and global imagination in dynamic media systems. Taken together, the contributions create a catalog of several research desiderata that merit in-depth historical research.

On a similar note, Zed Books has its "Global history of the present" - a series of books dealing with 1989 and its consequences in various national and regional contexts:
In 1989, the United States declared victory in the Cold War and some commentators even predicted the ‘end of history’ as the world rushed to embrace American ideas and institutions. But in 2001, the September 11th attacks prompted American policymakers to embrace a rhetoric of global confrontation which seemed eerily reminiscent of the Cold War. Once again, a monolithic and evil force challenged freedom across the globe; and Americans had to confront ‘terror’ with all the resolve and resources they had previously directly against Communism. How did we move so suddenly from one global war to another? Does this essentially American view of the world cohere with the experience of countries beyond the United States?

In the Global History of the Present series, twelve historians respond to these questions by presenting the stories of a dozen countries or regions since 1989. These books explain how diverse nations have responded to the sweeping changes of the past two decades - including the fall of Soviet communism, the opportunities and pitfalls of globalization, and the ‘war on terror’. But the series also reveals the struggles and values that matter to ordinary people throughout the world, and suggests alternative ways of thinking about world history and the challenges of the present.


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