A World History of the Twentieth Century

I am completing a history of the twentieth century for Cambridge University Press that combines world and social history to explore how global forces influenced the lived experiences of common people.  In identifying and analyzing the key factors that produced the increasingly hybrid global culture of the contemporary era, it tells the story of how local communities strove to retain their autonomy and distinctiveness by resisting, mitigating, and ultimately adapting to larger trans-national forces.  When placed in their proper comparative perspective local case studies, eye witness accounts, and micro biographies of common people show clearly that the increasingly inter-connected networks of culture and commerce that emerged by the turn of the twenty-first century were not as western as chauvinists in the United States and Europe have imagined.  The book draws on fine arts, photography, literature, film, television, music, architecture, food, dress, and other forms of popular and material culture to illustrate this point.  These representative artifacts of cross-cultural exchange, coupled with the perspectives of common people and local communities around the globe, show that common western conceptions of globalization and "progress" are neither universal nor inevitable.

Timothy H. Parsons - Professor of African History - Washington University in St. Louis