Wednesday, September 11, 2013

The Public Intellectual and the Marketing of World History

The Public Intellectual and the Marketing of World History 2013 - Thorsten Pattberg
THERE IS a current trend in the way world history is manufactured that deserves closer scrutiny: It is the complete surrender of the humanities to marketing mechanisms and branding strategies.
CAMBRIDGE - We don’t have to leave England to find the revolution. Niall Ferguson, the British historian – and now Harvard professor -, recently published an opinion article in the German Times in which he ruminates about ’6 Killer applications’ that the West invented to undo its competitors.
Ferguson goes on to say that, after having dominated world history for centuries, someone pushed the “wrong buttons” and we lost our pristine vantage. Meanwhile, the “new players in Asia” have picked up the rules of the game.
I dread to think it isn't quite as dramatic as the philosopher would have it: World history is still written by the Fergusons – and Harvardians – of this world. Social climbers from the east are rare in this sport. I agree, though, that indeed everyone seems to be talking about the rise of Asia these days.
What’s also new is the trending of fashionable internet fads or business allusions toward world historical events. Public intellectuals these days enjoy “the mass media” effect and have fully emerged, and have they ever, into the world of blogging, vlogging, and social media. [...]