Introduction: Transnational Spaces in History
To most historians, the spatial dimension of the nation appears to be the seemingly natural skin to the body of history. Since the modern craft of history served as midwife at the birth of the modern nation-state and provided modern nation-states with national narratives that allowed each state to claim particular national spaces, historians have continued to tell history in its national variants.1 History has been, foremost, national history. Even younger forms of history with a focus on smaller units and dimensions, and which include a wide theoretical and methodological range from cultural history and everyday life history to regional and urban history, accepted in the end the nation as their framework. Students of history early on in their careers are still forced by tradition and the structures of history departments to choose national fields of study, they continue on to teach courses in a national specialization, they publish books for series in national fields, and they enjoy mingling with historians of their national specialization at exclusive annual meetings of national history associations such as the German Studies Association or the Organization of American Historians.