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Welcome to the Toynbee Prize Foundation

The Foundation seeks to promote scholarly engagement with global history through several activities. Foremost among these is the Toynbee Prize, an award granted every other year to recognize outstanding work in global history. As an affiliated society of the American Historical Association, the Foundation sponsors one session at the Association’s annual meeting. In the years in which the Prize is awarded, the recipient presents a lecture. In alternate years, the Foundation sponsors a session on global history.

What We’re Reading This Week

Résultats de recherche d'images pour « Hannah Arendt »
Hannah Arendt (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Matthew Bowser

Stephen Kinzer, “Inside Iran’s Fury”, Smithsonian Magazine

Soutik Biswas, “India election 2019: How sugar influences the world’s biggest vote”, BBC World News

Christopher Clark, “South Africa elections: What are the main issues?”, Al Jazeera

Mapping the Yemen Conflict”, European Council on Foreign Relations

Colin Bernard

Zach Messitte, “As nationalism surges, Italy must reckon with its fascist past“, The Washington Post

Paul Mason, “Reading Arendt Is Not Enough“, NY Books

Samuel Clowes Huneke, “Gay Liberation Beyond the Iron Curtain“, Boston Review

Shakar Rahav, “May Fourth for the World“, China Channel

Meghna Chaudhuri

Adam Shatz, “Trump’s America, Netanyahu’s Israel“, LRB

Nikhil Menon, “Jumbo Exports: India’s history of elephant diplomacy“, The Caravan

David Ciepley, “Wayward Leviathans: How America’s corporations lost their public purpose“, The Hedgehog Review

Sarah Franklin, “Nostalgic Nationalism: How a Discourse of Sacrificial Reproduction Helped Fuel Brexit Britain“, Cultural Anthropology

Rustam Khan

Michael Welton, “Navigating the Intricacies of Habermas“, Counter Punch

Prankaj Mishra, “The Mask It Wears“, LRB

Antonia Weiss and Tim Verlaan, “From Miers to Bjarke: Ten Moments in the Manly History of the Architect’s Model“, Failed Architecture

What We’re Reading This Week

Diego Rivera, Agrarian Leader Zapata, 1931 (Source: MOMA)

Sean Phillips

David Edgerton, “A misremembered Empire“, Tortoise Media

Heidi Tworek, “Information Warfare is Here to Stay”, Foreign Affairs

Rob Gilhooly, “Defining the Heisei Era: Just how peaceful were the past 30 years?“, The Japan Times

Editorial Board, “In Paraguay, Long a Haven for Corruption, Popular Protests Get Results“, New York Times.

David Agren, “Mexico battles over legacy of revolutionary Emiliano Zapata“, The Guardian

Yehor Brailian

Alexander Lee, “Jerk, an Authentic Taste of Jamaican Liberty“, History Today

Madhuri Karak, “Mahatma Gandhi, Master Mediator“, JSTOR DAILY

Adam Higginbotham, “Chernobyl: 7 People Who Played a Crucial Role in the World’s Worst Nuclear Disaster“, History Today

Dexter Govan

Michael Sonenscher, “The Politics of Old Europe“, LBR Blog 

Zeinab Badawi, “Women, hopeful for change, are driving Sudan’s uprising”Financial Times 

Michael Prodger, “An act of faith: resurrecting Notre Dame“, New Statesman

Joan Redmond, “My London history students’ knowledge of Ireland is, at times, shocking“, Irish Times 

Anna Coote, “Universal basic income doesn’t work. Let’s boost the public realm instead“, The Guardian

What We’re Reading This Week

Résultats de recherche d'images pour « winter scene bruegel »
Pieter Brueghel the Younger, Winter Scene with a Bird-trap, 1601
(Source: Wikipedia Commons)

Joshua Milstein

Susan Pedersen, “I Want to Love It[Review of Richard J. Evans, Eric Hobsbawm: A Life in History], LRB

Beda Magyar, “Hungary is Lost,Zeit Online

Yoav Di-Capua, “Making the Arab World: A Review [Di-Capua Reviews Fawaz Gerges],” LA Review of Books

James Parker

Mihir BoseAmritsar, 100 Years On, Remains an Atrocity Britain Cannot be Allowed to Forget,” The Guardian

Marwan Bishra, “The Art of Revolution: What Went Right in Sudan and Algeria,” Al Jazeera

Alyssa Battistoni, “States of Emergency: Imagining a Politics for an Age of Accelerated Climate Change,” The Nation

Ben Parker, “Rwanda: What Humanitarians Need to Remember 25 Years OnThe New Humanitarian

Liat Spiro

Darren Byler, “Ghost World,” Logic

Dagomar Degroot, “Did European colonisation precipitate the Little Ice Age?” Aeon 

Isra Syed, “Neoliberal Encasement Infrastructure: The Case of International Organization Sovereign Immunity,” LPE Blog

Adam Tooze, “Is this the end of the American century?” LRB

Fei-Hsien Wang, “Why the Chinese Government has blocked the nation’s most popular soap operas,” Washington Post

From Istanbul to Tokyo: An Interview with Eric Tagliacozzo

Professor Tagliacozzo is Professor of Modern Southeast Asian History at Cornell University. Courtesy of Eric Tagliacozzo.

In 2018, over 2.3 million people went on hajj, the annual pilgrimage to Mecca that takes place during the final month of the Islamic lunar calendar, Dhu al-Hijjah. The pilgrimage is one of the Five Pillars of Islam (alongside Shahadah, Salat, Zakat and Sawm) and is mandatory for all able-bodied Muslims financially capable of making the journey. Although Muslims make the journey every year from all around the world, the country with the highest percentage of hajjis per capita is not in northern Africa or the Middle East, considered by most to be the center of dar al-Islam (the Abode of Islam), but rather in Southeast Asia: Indonesia.

So observes Eric Tagliacozzo, Professor of Modern Southeast Asia at Cornell University, in his most recent monograph, The Longest Journey: Southeast Asians and the Pilgrimage to Mecca (Oxford University Press, 2013). In examining the annual movement of pilgrims from the opposite ends of the Indian Ocean, Tagliacozzo taps in to a process that has been taking place for more than five hundred years: first by sail, then by steam, then by air. Connections between Southeast Asia and the Middle East do not center solely on Islam. They are part of a far more complex network of trade, movement, and cross-cultural exchange. These connections between Southeast Asia and the Middle East are part of a far wider set of connections between peoples along the entire Indian Ocean littoral from eastern Africa to the South China Sea.

As historians have turned to more transnational and global histories in the late 20th and early 21st centuries, the field known as the “Indian Ocean world” has blossomed. Studies of the Indian Ocean world focus on the movement and settling of people from all around the Indian Ocean littoral and hinterland regions, which form a single interconnected arena. They examine how connections between peoples in the Indian Ocean world long pre-dated European colonialism. They explore how those connections persisted through the colonial period, both by using and subverting colonial networks. Together, they trace these movements from the pre-colonial to the post-colonial, demonstrating continuities over time that do not exist solely in reference to Europe.

Tagliacozzo himself has significantly contributed to this literature. His work has added enormously to historians’ knowledge of not just Indonesia, Malaysia, Burma, and other parts of Southeast Asia–which was his original region of focus–but also the South China Sea, the Arabian Peninsula, and Southwest Asia (the Middle East) all the way to Istanbul. He has demonstrated the deep-seated connections between these regions and the peoples that inhabit them, thereby adding color, breadth, and depth to previously separated national and regional histories. Since the start of his career, Tagliacozzo has worked on these networks in monographs including Secret Trades, Porous Borders: Smuggling and States Along a Southeast Asian Frontier, 1865-1915 (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2009) and The Longest Journey (New York: Oxford University Press, 2013).

In this interview, we talked with Tagliacozzo about his previous works and his contributions to scholarship on the Indian Ocean world as well as transnational and global history. We spoke about his days as a 22-year old college student interviewing spice traders from Japan to East Africa. Our discussion ranged from illicit trade in rhinoceros horns to itinerant peoples’ methods of resistance to colonial rule. And we discussed how, often, those two things were one-and-the-same.

– Matthew Bowser

What We’re Reading This Week

L’impératrice Joséphine (1763-1814)
L’impératrice Joséphine (1805), Pierre-Paul Prud’hon, Musée du Louvres

Natalie Behrends

Nara Schoenberg, “‘It’s a woman. It’s not Pulaski,'” Chicago Tribune

Mark Ellis, “The Kaiser’s Trial,” LA Review of Books

Anne Thériault, “Queens of Infamy: Josephine Bonaparte,” Longread

David Marchese, “Robert A. Caro on the Means and Ends of Power,” NYT Magazine

Tiger Zhifu Li

Dennis Overbye, “Darkness Visible, Finally: Astronomers Capture First Ever Image of a Black Hole,” The New York Times

Kevin Pimbblet,“First black hole photo confirms Einstein’s theory of relativity,”The Conversation

Kate Bagnall,“‘A Chinese New Year’s Day’, Sydney, 1899,” Chinese Australia

“Week in pictures: 30 March – 5 April 2019,” BBC

Martin Crevier

Philippe Némé-Nombé, “«Sauvage», «esclave» et «Nègres blancs d’Amérique» : hypothèse sur le savoir onto-politique québécois,” Histoire Engagée

What We’re Reading This Week

John Gast:, American Progress, 1872 (Source: Wikipedia)

Collin Bernard

Christopher Clark, “Why should we think about the Revolutions of 1848 now?LRB

Jedediah Britton-Purdy, “Infinite Frontier: The Eternal Return of American Expansionism,” The Nation

Nan Enstad, “Debunking the Capitalist Cowboy,” The Boston Review

A. Dirk Moses, “‘White Genocide’ and the Ethics of Public Analysis,” Journal of Genocide Research

Martin Crevier

Samuel Moyn, “How to Be a Marxist,” Jacobin

Antoine Xavier-Fournier et Philippe Munch, “Robespierre, un gilet jaune?Le Devoir

Kit Gilet, “Maoism: A Global History – how China exported revolution around the world,” Post Magazine

Matthew Bowser

Erin Blakemore, “The Kashmir Conflict: How Did It Start?” National Geographic

How Has Immigration Changed Britain Since World War II?BBC iWonder

Sugam Pokharel, “60 Years After Exile, Tibetans Face a Fight for Survival in a Post-Dalai Lama World,CNN News

Sean Coughlan, “Last Survivor of US Slave Ships Discovered,BBC News

Elites Connecting Eastern and Western Europe: An Interview with Dina Gusejnova

Dina Gusejnova, lecturer in Modern history, University of Sheffield

The beginning of the twentieth century was a turbulent period for Europe as it emerged from the First World War, with a revolution in Russia, the fall of the Austro-Hungarian, German and Ottoman empires, the abolition of many monarchies, and the rise of new nation-states. New actors and new ideas entered the political arena, radically changing the course of European history. How did the old imperial elites reflect on these changes, and how did they adapt to them?

Dina Gusejnova, a lecturer in Modern history at the University of Sheffield, looks into this unstable period through the eyes of German-speaking liberal intellectuals who belonged to the old and new nobility of Germany, Austria, and Russia. In her book, European Elites and Ideas of Empire, 1917-1957 (Cambridge University Press, 2016) she analyses how these German-speaking intellectuals used their old networks to call for a new Europe. This fascinating book provides a transnational history of the idea of Europe, linking histories of Germany and Russia, which are usually told separately, through the eyes of a cosmopolitan network of authors.

In our conversation, we discussed the place of the old nobility in the new world order. We also talked about transnational approaches to history and the importance of bridging isolated national historiographies, as well as the changing patterns of historical research in the last decade.

–Julia Klimova (University College London)

A Genealogy of a Non-Event: An Interview with Seth Anziska

Seth Anziska, Mohamed S. Farsi-Polonsky Lecturer in Jewish-Muslim Relations, University College London. Credit: Helen Murray.

In Preventing Palestine: A Political History from Camp David to Oslo (Princeton University Press, 2018), Seth Anziska throws new light on the history of the Arab-Israeli conflict and the unfulfilled Palestinian quest for statehood. The Israeli-Egyptian peace agreement brokered by President Jimmy Carter in 1978 has long been hailed as a diplomatic triumph that set the Middle East on a path toward peace. However, drawing on newly available sources in the United States and Israel, as well as international collections, Anziska argues that the Camp David Accords actually came at the expense of Palestinians. Refusing to recognize the Palestinians as a nation deserving of the right to collective self-determination, Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin introduced the concept of limited “autonomy” for the “Arab inhabitants” of the West Bank and Gaza. Begin’s formulation flew in the face of the stated position of Egyptian President Anwar Sadat. And yet both he and Carter accepted it for the sake of securing Israeli-Egyptian peace. As Anziska demonstrates, the autonomy model proffered by Begin at Camp David would cast a long shadow over future Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations, serving as the basis of the Oslo Accords negotiated in 1993 and continuing to inform the role of the Palestinian Authority today. Anziska documents this history of roads not taken, offering a “genealogy of a non-event”—the prevention of Palestinian sovereignty.

In the following interview, Anziska and I discuss a range of issues, from the current Israeli political climate and the future of the Palestinian national movement, to the methodological challenges confronting historians of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the stakes of writing history that is informed by personal experience.

Daniel Chardell

Credit: Princeton University Press.