Five Questions With Prakash Kumar

Today we continue our series of conversations with Framing the Global fellows.

Every other week we ask one of our fellows to answer five questions — everyone answers the same five — about their work and their approach to the global.

This week’s Q&A is with Prakash Kumar, associate professor of history at Colorado State University.

Kumar is a specialist in the history of South Asian as well as the History of Science. His most recent book is a social history of indigo.

Connection is Kumar’s entry point into the global. He explains why he chose that particular place to begin his exploration in this week’s Five Questions.

Rosemary Pennington: What drew you to Framing the Global?

Prakash Kumar: I was drawn to Framing the Global because of the group’s openness to new theories and approaches in understanding the “global.”

RP: What is your entry point and why did you choose it?

Image via Eric Fischer (Flickr)

Image via Eric Fischer (Flickr)

PK: My “entry point” for understanding the global is: “connection.” As a historian, I am inclined to link different events through appropriate contextualization. In my study of the global the first important thing I noticed was the wide dispersal of events and processes that seemed relevant to each other. The entry point of “connection” seemed the best way to spotlight the global circumstances in which these events played out.

RP: What challenges have you faced as you’ve navigated the global this way?

PK: Figuring out the scalar limits of global has often proved challenging. Global simply seems limitless, which makes the task of selecting my archives out of the numerous existing ones very discretionary.

RP: In her introduction to the upcoming book, Dr. Hilary Kahn writes that one of the questions scholars of the global are faced with is “How do we know its global?” How do you answer that question in your work?

PK: I characterize historical events as global when current templates of local, national, and regional start to prove limiting.

RP: How have your discussions on the space of global studies within the Framing the Global interdisciplinary group affected your view of your home discipline?

PK: It has induced me to question the boundedness of “nation” as a category of analysis in historical studies.

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