Both papers by Manuel Perez Garcia pose important questions for scholars as they mostly dwell on methods and approaches for relevant topics. Through studying the history of families and global history that seems to be well researched, Garcia still manages to take a look at these issues from a new, different perspective.
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The article “From Eurocentrism to Sinocentrism: The New Challenges in Global History” focuses on the topic of global history and how it is viewed and studied in China. From his experience as a professor in Chinese universities, he draws attention to the fact that the approach of Chinese scholars to global history is marked by national features and ideologies, which presents a challenge for making objective studies.
Some scholars “observe global history as an ‘imported’ intellectual form from the West that contaminates China’s pure and unique history” (Garcia, From Eurocentrism to Sinocentrism 339). Thus, as a subject, global history is often reduced to the history of other countries not from the perspective of their interrelations but as separate narratives.
An attempt to put Chinese history under the scrutiny of European scholars might give misleading results as well because most of the generally accepted European concepts like the industrial revolution and Renaissance cannot be applied to Eastern cultures. The main reason for such substantial differences lies in the ancient and authentic philosophy of China, its inherent influence on all the spheres of life, and national values.
In the article “New Technologies Applied to Family History: A Particular Case of Southern Europe in the Eighteenth Century,” Garcia shows the benefits of using modern technologies and computer programs for social and historical research. He argues that a single researcher cannot handle big volumes of certain data, but special software and collaboration between groups of researchers and databases of archives can facilitate the process. In this case study, the author analyzes the history of the Crown of Castile, the certain part individuals played in the family history, and their social group.
According to Garcia, “defining the type, size, and composition of noble families, their strategies and histories and their friendship patterns, their vicinity, and clientelism relations allows us to gain an insight into the behavior and
social patterns of the group which belongs to the social elites” (New Technologies Applied to Family History 253). It is true that the variety of means available nowadays significantly simplifies and sometimes makes certain possible types of research. Nonetheless, historians’ objective should always lie with the results and not the process.
Why will it be important for the Chinese to change the current state of affairs and establish a new approach to studying and researching global history? Though so far they have been taking their own approach and view on global history, they should only benefit from broadening their views on this subject. It will open for them a big layer of information and might give new perspectives for further research.
Garcia, Manuel P. “From Eurocentrism to Sinocentrism: The New Challenges in Global History.” European Journal of Scientific Research, vol. 119, no. 3, 2014, pp. 337-352.
—. “New Technologies Applied to Family History: A Particular Case of Southern Europe in the Eighteenth Century.” Journal of Family History, vol. 36, no. 3, 2011, pp. 248-262.