Memorial Symposium for Sir Christopher Bayly, St. Catharine’s College, Cambridge, May 21, 2016

If you have been following our blog recently, you’ll surely have noticed our announcement of the posthumous awarding of the 2016 Toynbee Prize to Sir Christopher Bayly at this year’s American Historical Association Annual Meeting. Bayly’s passing less than a year ago at the age of 69 was a profound loss for colleagues and friends around the world, and it is a sign to Bayly’s place in the field that many symposia and workshops have been organized to reflect on his contributions to the field.

For those readers who were unable to make it to the panel at the AHA Annual Meeting, however, there’s another opportunity to reflect upon and celebrate Bayly’s contributions occurring later this year. St Catharine’s College, Cambridge, where Bayly made his entire career at Cambridge, will be hosting a memorial symposium to the historian on Saturday, May 21, 2016, entitled “Sir Christopher Bayly and the Horizons of World History.” As a recent announcement explains,

it will open with three brief keynotes by distinguished colleagues. Younger Cambridge colleagues inspired by Chris’s work will then reflect on his influence. After lunch, there will be a panel on Chris’s work in global intellectual history, followed by a sequence of closing comments by senior colleagues, who will offer subjective impressions of Chris’s impact on their various fields and on his significance as a practitioner of Indian, imperial and global history. The Symposium will open at 9.45am and finish at 4.00pm.

Those interested in attending the symposium are requested to register via this online form.


The Emancipators: A Conversation with Amalia Ribi Forclaz on The Politics of Anti-Slavery Movements and European International History

When did slavery end? For American or British readers of the Global History Forum, the answer to this question, at least answered within the framework of their respective countries, is easy. Human chattel slavery ended in the United States, we are told, in 1865 with the passage of the Thirteenth Amendment to the US Constitution, while the more enlightened British abolished slavery within the British Empire in 1833.

Yet globally, the phenomenon of chattel slavery (humans-as-property) and related forms of exploitation, like sex trafficking or the trafficking of children of course persisted long after slavery was abolished in Britain and the United States. Slavery is today illegal in every country in the world, but modern anti-slavery organizations reckon that there are still at least 10 to 30 million people in the world who are owned by other humans, to say nothing of much larger numbers of persons de facto enslaved through some form of debt bondage (itself legally abolished in much of the world, but still present). We may regard slavery through black and white images of plantation labor, in short, but slavery remains a big business today, with estimated global activity amounting to $35 billion, more wealth than half of all countries existent today.

Slavery must end—try finding someone who disagrees with this. But as Amalia Ribi Forclaz shows in her new book, Humanitarian Imperialism: The Politics of Anti-Slavery Activism 1880-1940, the distance between ambition and reality, not to mention the thorny political questions that the move to eliminate slavery everywhere in the planet raises, is not new. As Ribi shows in her book, late 19th and early 20th century activists were united, too, on the need to eliminate slavery in the world, especially in the African continent for which so many Europeans were scrambling at the time. By the 1920s and 1930s, the campaign against slavery in Africa brought together Catholics and Protestants, Britons and Italians, liberals and fascists, and many others, and found serious institutional backing both through the League of Nations and European states committed to the cause.

Amalia Ribi's Humanitarian Imperialism: The Politics of Anti-Slavery Activism, 1880-1940 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2015)
Amalia Ribi’s Humanitarian Imperialism: The Politics of Anti-Slavery Activism, 1880-1940 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2015)

By the late 1930s, however, the international movement had fractured over the Italian invasion of Ethiopia—remembered in retrospect as a breakdown of the League’s collective security function, but justified by both Italian Duce Benito Mussolini and many an anti-slavery activist in terms of eliminating slavery in that independent African kingdom. The dream of a world without slaves captured the imagination of many, but, as Ribi shows, it raised intractable questions about the place of European humanitarian action in a world that would be not only post-slavery, but also post-colonial.

We were pleased to connect with Ribi, who is an Assistant Professor of International History at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva, over the phone recently to discuss her new book, its lessons, and its relevance to a world in which slavery remains—as an economic phenomenon and moral outrage, if not to the same mobilizing extent it did during the years that Ribi’s research focuses on. How did this waxing and waning take place, and what might it tell us about the history of humanitarianism? These and other questions were on our mind as we spoke with Amalia for this installment of the Global History Forum. Continue reading


Becoming Trans-German: Transnational, Transdisciplinary, Transgender, Transhuman (Free University of Berlin, June 23-25, 2016)

For those readers already looking ahead to their summer plans, here’s one more workshop to consider. At the Free University of Berlin, the Berlin Program for Advanced German and European Studies is hosting a conference called “Becoming Trans-German: Transnational, Transdisciplinary, Transgender, Transhuman” from June 23-25, 2016. In spite of the name, the conference is directed not only toward scholars working on German history but also other fields as well. The call for applications explains further:

The aim of this workshop is to explore the ways in which “trans” describes contemporary Germans and German society. The transcendence of national, corporeal, disciplinary, and institutional limits is embodied by the use of the prefix “trans.” The workshop seeks to engage this multifaceted transcendence to explore how Germans and Germany are increasingly situated “beyond” prescribed limits: Beyond the nation, the discipline, the human, the gendered subject, and more. Scholars and artists are encouraged to explore the ways in which “trans” is deployed in a wide variety of academic and cultural areas, from political and social institutions to cultural discourses and aesthetic forms.

The workshop takes as its geographical points of departure not simply German but also European and global ones. While historical objects and events are welcome foci for investigation, scholars whose work examines those experiences and engagements in the contemporary and the futuristic are encouraged as well. Participants may focus on the concept of “trans” or a related topic, such as one that examines dynamic activity around borders, limits, political institutions, social practices, or forms of cultural and aesthetic expression.

The call for applications goes on to explain the format of the event.

This workshop seeks participants from a broad array of disciplines whose work intersects with German Studies, including fields such as Anthropology, Art History, Film Studies, Gender Studies, History, Philosophy, Political Science, and Sociology. The event serves as a forum for Berlin Program fellows and alumni, but invites participation of all other scholars (doctoral students/postdocs/non-tenured and tenured professors). During the workshop, scholars will present for roughly 5 minutes on their paper, and then engage the audience in discussion of their work for 10 minutes. Each panel will conclude with a 45-minute discussion on questions raised in the panel.

If this sounds of interest, then apply! Applications are due no later than February 15, 2016 and should be addressed as one PDF file, composed of a 250-word abstract and a short, two-page curriculum vitae (including position, department and institution). That PDF file should be sent to bprogram [at]


Lecturership in International History, University of Leeds

For those readers on the job market this year, the School of History of University of Leeds has recently announced a Lecturership in International History after 1945 beginning this September. The position is especially advertised for specialists on the foreign relations of the United States, but all are encouraged to apply. Read on:

Applications are invited for a Lectureship in International History, post-1945, in the School of History to start in September 2016. We welcome applications from historians interested in any aspect of International history (broadly defined), though expect to appoint someone who will complement our existing research strengths and teaching interests; preference might be given to applicants with a specialism in U.S. foreign relations.

You will cover undergraduate and postgraduate teaching in international history, in the period since 1945. You will be able to teach at all levels of the undergraduate programme, which includes a specialist single-honours programme in International History and Politics, and will be able to contribute to relevant MA programmes (including the MA in Modern History and the MA in War and Strategy) as appropriate, and supervise research students. You will contribute to the administration and management of the School’s activities, and also develop the place of International history within the research culture of the School.

You will have a PhD in History or a cognate discipline and relevant teaching experience. Your recent and immediately forthcoming publications will indicate an ability to make a distinctive contribution to research activity in this subject area in the years to come, and you will be expected to produce a significant range of publications that will qualify you for inclusion in the next REF. You will be given every encouragement to develop your subject within the research and teaching environment of the School, subject to the requirements of the post.

If this sounds of interest, then submit your application via this link no later than February 2, 2016. Questions about the position may be directed to Dr Simon Hall, Senior Lecturer in American History and the Dean of the School of History.


Putting the Margin in the Center: Discussing Transnational and Australian History with Professor Fiona Paisley

Fiona Paisley was born in Scotland, but she received her university training in Australia. Based in Brisbane, Australia, she is currently a Professor in the History Program at Griffith University. Our latest guest to the Global History Forum, Fiona Paisley, specializes in international history. Her work is about internationalism, settler colonialism, gender and race in the first half of the twentieth century, from an Australian perspective. Professor Paisley won a Magarey Medal for her biography of Anthony Martin Fernando, an Aboriginal protestor who lived for the second half of his life outside of Australia. The book is called The Lone Protestor: AM Fernando in Australia and London. Professor Paisley and Tiger Li, an Editor-at-Large at the Toynbee Prize Foundation, discuss that book in the second half of our interview.

Tiger Li (TL): Professor Paisley, when did you get interested in history?

Fiona Paisley (FP): Looking back gives me the opportunity to think about why I was interested in history from childhood. I spent my first school years in England, and I do remember as a child feeling that history was all around me. Coming to Australia made me realise that “deep time history” is everywhere about us as well, even if the traces are harder to see. The relationship between the distant and more recent pasts of occupation dawned slowly for me as a young adolescent in a settler society like Australia. By the time I was working on my PhD, I started to see more clearly the connections between British colonialism and settler societies and I used my interest in history to try to understand better what it means to be a settler colonial and thus implicated in that ongoing process.

Professor Fiona Paisley (Griffith University), our latest guest to the Global History Forum
Professor Fiona Paisley (Griffith University), our latest guest to the Global History Forum

TL: Did you have a transnational perspective from a very young age?

FP: For a long time, global or imperial history  positioned Australia at the margins. Transnational history has allowed us to put the margin into the centre. Being new to Australia as a young person gave me an outsider’s perspective;  I found that studying transnational or world history from Australian perspective is a good way to reframe my approach to global history. Moreover, thinking about perspective and location  through your own biography can help reveal connections between places and times otherwise overlooked, veiled, or forgotten. I guess it can be helpful if you move around a lot as you grow up. You feel you are not so much a member of one particular nation or national story but find yourself affiliated with many different places.

TL: I think it is something that I really understand, because I do not feel I belong to anywhere, either. I sometimes feel I am a global citizen. Maybe you can belong to more than one place.

FP: There are many ways to reframe what we mean by history through the transnational approach. On the other hand, simply moving around is not in itself an enlightening experience. In the end, you have to take responsibilities for where you are. And for the historian, that means working in the archives. Continue reading


Post-Doctoral Fellowship, Perry World House (University of Pennsylvania)

For those of you looking for post-doctoral fellowships with later deadlines, here’s another neat opportunity. At the University of Pennsylvania, the Global Innovations Institute at Perry World House has announced its inaugural post-doctoral program, part of the larger remit of Perry World House to “connect Penn to the international policy world through research, student engagement, and public programming, bringing the university’s intellectual resources to bear on the urgent global challenges of the 21st century.”

The call for applications explains the guidelines of the program:

Applications are welcomed from scholars who have received their Ph.D. or equivalent degrees in the last two years, or who expect to complete their degree by June 2016. We hope to bring 3-4 postdoctoral fellows to campus for the 2016-2017 academic year. We are seeking excellent scholars from a variety of disciplines who are interested in interdisciplinary outreach and who work on policy relevant topics. Moreover, we are particularly interested in applicants studying important global issues in the following thematic areas, which are a priority for Perry World House:

• Evolving Global Dynamics: Conflict, Cooperation, Culture, and Technology

• Urbanization, Migration, and Demography

• Religion, Politics, and Society

Postdoctoral fellows at the Global Innovations Institute will pursue their own research as well as participate in the intellectual life of the Global Innovations Institute and Perry World House. Postdoctoral fellows will be expected to give a presentation during the academic year and attend regularly scheduled seminars. The position pays a stipend of $47,000 plus relevant fees and health insurance. Perry World House will also introduce each postdoctoral fellow to related faculty and leaders of centers and institutes at the University of Pennsylvania.

The University of Pennsylvania is strongly committed to Penn’s Action Plan for Faculty Diversity and Excellence and to establishing a more diverse community at Penn (for more information see here). . The University of Pennsylvania is an EOE. Minorities/Women/Individuals with disabilities/Protected Veterans are encouraged to apply.

If this sounds appealing, send in your application – and make sure it is received no later than  February 15, 2016. Applications should include  a CV, research statement, writing sample, and two letters of recommendation to postdoc at or to the following postal address:



University of Pennsylvania

Perry World House

1 College Hall

Suite 122

Philadelphia, PA 19104


Postdoctoral Position in “The Contemporary History of Historiography” (Trier University, Germany)

Here’s a recent attractive job posting, especially for those readers who have been engaging with the Toynbee Prize Foundation’s programming at the recent American Historical Association meeting on the history of global history as a discipline.

At the University of Trier (located in the scenic wine country of western Germany and near Luxembourg, Belgium, and France), the Leibniz Research Group “The Contemporary History of Historiography,” sponsored by the DFG (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, the main German science funding organization), has announced a call for applications to a post-doctoral research fellow position, to be filled at the earliest possible date. The position involves a fixed-term contract (remunerated according to the pay grade TVL 13 100%) that runs until August 31, 2020.

The call for applications explains:

The research group seeks to develop an international perspective on the impact of globalization and the social and political changes since the 1970s on the making of professional history. It systematically looks for comparative perspectives and investigates processes of transfer and translation (find the detailed research program here).

The successful candidate will be expected 

– to carry out his/her own research project in the context of the research group’s program independently, leading to a book publication; 
– to participate in the research group`s joint research (theoretical framework, general issues and comparative perspectives) in the form of internal meetings, workshops and conferences with cooperating researchers or research groups;
– to (co-)edit publications of ongoing work results (conference proceedings/collection of essays)

Qualifications: Applicants should have a PhD-degree (or equivalent) in History. Very good proficiency in English and/or German.

We welcome applications from researchers of all nationalities. The University of Trier strives to increase the share of women in research and strongly encourages women to apply. The University of Trier is a certified family-friendly employer. Applicants with disabilities who are equally qualified will be favoured.

If this sounds of interest to you, then please contact Professor Lutz Raphael via e-mail (raphael at with a CV, an outline of your research project (max. 4 pages), and two recommendation letters, sent separately via e-mail, no later than February 15, 2016.


CENFAD Fellow in International History, Temple University

Looking for a position in international history in a great city? The Department of History at Temple University has recently announced a call for applications for a one-year Fellowship affiliated with the Center for the Study of Force and Diplomacy, a research center devoted to the historic and contemporary use of force and diplomacy in a global context. The call for applications explains further:

The Department of History at Temple University is pleased to announce a non-tenure-track, one-year appointment in international history beginning in fall 2016.  Preferred specializations include political economy; global trade; and/or war, technology, and society. The teaching load will be one undergraduate course per semester, and the successful candidate will contribute to the Center for the Study of Force and Diplomacy’s (CENFAD) programs, particularly but not exclusively its colloquia series. 

Applicants must have received the Ph.D. between July 1, 2011 and June 30, 2016.  

Interested? Applications for the position, explains the call for the position “should include a cover letter, curriculum vitae, writing sample, two letters of recommendation, and a syllabus for a course the applicant proposes to teach.   In order to ensure full consideration, please submit your application by February 15, 2016.  Review will remain open until the position is filled.” 

Applications for the position may be submitted via Interfolio through this link.

As the advertisment reminds, “Temple University is committed to a policy of equal opportunity for all in every aspect of its operations, including employment, service, and educational programs. The University has pledged not to discriminate on the basis of age, color, disability, marital status, national origin or ethnic origin, race, religion, sex (including pregnancy), sexual orientation, gender identity, genetic information or veteran status.” For the full policy statement see here.


Sir Christopher Bayly Named 2016 Toynbee Prize Winner

The Toynbee Prize Foundation has selected Sir Christopher Alan Bayly as the honorary recipient of the 2016 Toynbee Prize. The Prize, given every other year to a distinguished practitioner of global history, was awarded posthumously at a session of the American Historical Association’s Annual Meeting in Atlanta on January 9, 2016. There, Toynbee Prize Foundation Vice-President Darrin McMahon and Trustee David Armitage announced the Prize at a session devoted to the intellectual legacy of Bayly, who passed away in April 2015.

Bayly, who taught at the University of Cambridge as a Fellow of St Catharine’s College, the Director of the Centre of South Asian Studies, and the Vere Harmsworth Professor of Imperial and Naval History, was a scholar of British Imperial, South Asian, and global history. While perhaps known to readers of global history for his 2004 The Birth of the Modern World: Global Connections and Comparisons, Bayly also made major contributions to the fields of both South Asian as well as British Imperial history through books like The Local Roots of Indian Politics (1975), Rulers, Townsmen, and Bazaars (1983), and Imperial Meridian (1989), to name only a few of his works. At the time of his death, Bayly was serving as the Swami Vivekananda Professor in South Asian Studies at the University of Chicago, where he was completing a book entitled Remaking the Modern World, 1914-2015. Bayly read for the Bachelor of Arts degree at Balliol College, Oxford and received his Doctor of Philosophy Degree from St Antony’s College, Oxford in 1970.

Bayly was chosen by unanimous consensus by the Board of Trustees of the Toynbee Prize Foundation. Members of the Board acknowledged the importance and influence of Bayly’s work. David Armitage, the Lloyd C. Blankfein Professor of History at Harvard University, noted that “Chris Bayly’s work displayed constant originality, ever-expanding imagination and acute generosity in equal measure. Few historians have shaped as many vital fields: most notably, South Asian history, the history of empire and world history. He always moved seamlessly between scales–from the local to the global, the initmately urban to the comprehensively planetary–across regions, and between fields, working variously on urban, social, economic, imperial, cultural, intellectual and global history. His many books, from The Local Roots of Indian Politics: Allahabad, 1880-1920 (1975) to the forthcoming Remaking the Modern World, 1914-2015 (2016), form one major legacy; his even more numerous students–over 70, at the last count–another; but the memory of his friendship, encouragement and stimulus to everyone he knew will live as long as any of his more formal achievements.”

Professor Glenda Sluga of the University of Sydney, a colleague and friend of Bayly, concurred. “Professor Bayly’s Birth of the Modern World,” she noted, “not only anticipated the transnational and international dimensions of the new global history, it also embedded established themes of modernity and modernization in that global framing; similarly, it brought a global perspective on social, economic and intellectual history to bear on political themes too often perceived as the natural domains of national historiographies.  His most recent work resuscitated an Indian tradition of liberalism and inspired global readings of the history of political ideas; it brought political policy into the realm of a globalized intellectual history.”

Bayly joins a distinguished roll of previous Toynbee Prize recipients: the diplomat and historian George Kennan, the social scientist Albert Hirschman, and, more recently, fellow historians Natalie Zemon Davis, William McNeill, and Dipesh Chakrabarty. As Toynbee Prize Foundation Vice-President Darrin McMahon, Professor of History at Dartmouth College, noted, “Professor Bayly is in fine and fitting company. The Foundation very much wishes that we could have awarded this honor in life, but we do so here posthumously in recognition of Bayly’s collective body of work that, as is already apparent, will long outlive him.”

Named after Arnold J. Toynbee, the Toynbee Prize Foundation was chartered in 1987 “to contribute to the development of the social sciences, as defined from a broad historical view of human society and of human and social problems.” The foundation awards the prestigious Toynbee Prize and sponsors global history regular sessions at the annual meeting of the American Historical Association, international conferences, the online Global History Forum, as well as the journal New Global Studies.


Sidney Mintz (1922-2015)

As we prepare for our upcoming events at the American Historical Association’s Annual Meeting in Atlanta, Georgia, this coming weekend, it’s worth remembering that this year’s holidays saw the loss of one of the historians whose work is sure to feature prominently in Friday’s discussion of the October 2015 conference we co-sponsored on the origins of global history.

That’s Sidney Mintz, the anthropologist and historian whose 1985 book Sweetness and Power: The Place of Sugar in Modern History helped define the study of commodities as a core research agenda in global history — not to mention its role as a field-defining work in the realm of food studies. Mintz taught at both Yale and Johns Hopkins, where he founded the anthropology department, inspiring a generation of students to follow how foodstuffs, refuse, and bodies coursed through the networks created by modern trade. Think of the recent works that trace the global history of cod, salt, or cotton, for example, and their all owe their germs, in some sense, to Mintz’s work.

As you’re getting ready for your flight to Georgia, consider re-reading your copy of Mintz’s works – or, if you’re not aware of his influence yet, consider reading this excellent piece by his student, anthropologist Sarah Hill, published in The Boston Review.