Call for Publication: “Africa and the World: The Continent in Global History”

Scholars who are working on the history of the African continent from a global history perspective may like to explore this opportunity to contribute to a new book project edited by Saheed Aderinto. You may see the call for submissions below:

Contributors are invited for a new book project titled, “Africa and the World: The Continent in Global History” (3 volumes), commissioned by ABC-CLIO, a major US publisher of reference academic books. Editor, Saheed Aderinto. This three-volume book would have around 900,000 words and 500 alphabetically arranged entries of 1000 to 2500 words each. Topics to be covered include but not limited to the slave trade, exploration, colonization, African contributions to world civilization, global science, art, and culture, and other subjects on Africa’s relationship with the rest of the world. If you are interested in contributing to this project, send your CV to Saheed Aderinto (aderintosaheed@yahoo.co.uk). Sample entries include:

African art in global history and culture
Christianity
Colonization, European
Diamond Trade
Diseases from Africa
Exploration of Africa
Foods from Africa
Inventions from Africa
Islam, African Influences on
Ivory Trade
Literature, African Influences on
Medicines from Africa
Music, African Influences on
Myths from Africa
Plants from Africa
Religions from Africa
Slave Trade
Voodoo

Interested readers may send an expression of interest along with your CV to the editor at aderintosaheed@yahoo.co.uk

CFP: 1914-1918-online. International Encyclopedia of the First World War

Scholars working on the global history of the First World War may like to contribute to this collaborative effort for an online encyclopedia. The original call for papers is given below:

1914-1918-online. International Encyclopedia of the First World War is an English-language online reference work on World War I dedicated to publishing high quality peer-reviewed content. Each article in the encyclopedia is a self-contained publication and its author receives full recognition. All articles receive a distinct URL address as well as a Digital Object Identifier (DOI) and are fully citable as scholarly publications. 1914-1918-online is an open access publication, which means that all articles are freely available online, ensuring maximum worldwide dissemination of content.

The editors invite academics to contribute articles on a select number of topics not yet covered by our invitation-only editorial process. Authors who are interested in submitting a paper on any of the subjects listed should submit a short CV with a publication list, as well as an abstract (max. 250 words) or a full-length paper.

You may contact the editors at 1914-1918-online[at]fu-berlin.de and find further information about this call for papers and a list of open articles at http://encyclopedia.1914-1918-online.net/call-for-papers

CFP: Memories and Visions: China’s Ties with the Outside World through the Belt and Road Initiative (Xi’an, China, September 22-25, 2017)

Scholars interested in China’s Ties with the Outside world will be interested in this conference taking place in Xi’an, China from September 22-25, 2017. The conference is sponsored by the School of Foreign Languages and Cultures, Office for Humanities and Social Sciences Research, and International Cooperation Office at Northwestern Polytechnical University.

 This multidisciplinary conference aims to explore themes and topics on China’s ties with the outside world through the Belt and Road (B&R) Initiative. Inspired by trade and cultural interactions between China and the countries and regions along the historical overland and maritime Silk Road, the B&R Initiative represents China’s vision and strategy for developing mutually beneficial relations with the outside world in our rapidly changing era.

     Located in Xi’an, the birthplace of Chinese civilization and gateway to the legendary Silk Road, NWPU provides an ideal venue to promote ongoing dialogues on the B&R Initiative. The conference seeks to bring together Chinese and international scholars from diverse transnational and  transcultural perspectives to engage creatively and critically in conversations on cultural and socio-political issues related to the Initiative. We invite submissions of papers, reports, and pre-formed panels on topics related, but not limited, to the following themes:

1. Chinese Culture Overseas: Past, Present, Perspectives

2. Cultural and Historical Memories of the Overland/Maritime Silk Road

3. China’s Soft Power and the Belt and Road Initiative

4. Multicultural Interactions and Global-Local Nexus in the Context of the Belt and Road Initiative

5. The Role of Chinese Communities Overseas in Developing the Belt and Road Initiative

6. Language, Translation,and Cross-Cultural Communication

7. Emerging Trends in Multilingual and Multicultural Education

8. The Impact of Transnationalism on Migration and Return Migration

9. The Influence of Think Tanks and NGOs in Sustainable Development

10. The Coverage of the Belt and Road Initiative in Transnational Chinese Literature and Media Networks

Scholars interested in participating in the conference should submit a  proposal (250 words) with a biography (200 words) to Ms. Li Miao and Dr. Zang Xiaojia at brixian@126.com by July 10, 2017. 

From Imperial Nation-States to European Union: Discussing European History in an International Context with Anne-Isabelle Richard

Where does “Europe” stop, and where does the world outside Europe begin? It’s a question that’s engaged inhabitants of the peninsula of the great world continent for centuries, if also one that has assumed newly tragic dimensions as refugees from Balkan states, refugees from countries such as Syria, Iraq, Eritrea, and Afghanistan, and migrants from Sub-Saharan Africa test their chances in crossing the seas, boarding the trains, and hopping the fences that separate Europe from an ostensibly more dangerous, more cruel, and more hungry outside world. Seemingly freed of its old morally burdensome entanglements in its African, Asian and Caribbean colonies, a reformed, European Union-ized Continent faces the challenges of how it wants to interact with the world of former colonies, mandates, and other possessions that it once ruled and still, of course, holds a dominant trading relationship with.

Can history contextualize some of these debates? The work of Dr. Anne-Isabelle Richard, currently an Assistant Professor at the Institute for History at Leiden University, The Netherlands and the latest guest to the Global History Forum, unambiguously demonstrates that it can. In her work, Richard seeks to show how many of the activists in European countries – in particular France and the Netherlands, countries with big empires and interested both in European integration and the politics of colonialism – juggled the two projects of Europeanism and relations with its colonies throughout the twentieth century.

Moving beyond just a narrow diplomatic history focus, Richard’s work mines both state and non-state archives to show how an army of diplomats, pressure groups, anti-colonialists, socialists, and bureaucrats in international organizations such as the League of Nations represented part of a broader, decades long-conversation about the relationship between “Europe” as an ideological and institutional project, on the one hand, and colonial empire on the other. One part of her broader research agenda, this work – the fruits of her PhD at Cambridge University, a Fulbright Scholarship at Yale, and time as a Max Weber Post-Doctoral Fellow at the European University Institute in Florence, Italy – is currently being revised by Dr. Richard to become a book.

Recently, one of the Toynbee Prize Foundation’s Editors-at-Large, Columbia History Department PhD Candidate Lotte Houwink ten Cate, had the chance to sit down with Dr. Richard to discuss the latter’s ongoing work and her observations on the fields of European and international history today.

Meeting in Leiden, Richard’s current home base, the two engaged in a rich conversation, reproduced below.

Lotte Houwink ten Cate (LHTC): What are your main areas of research?

Anne-Isabelle Richard (AR): I work on the intersection of European and world history; my dissertation discussed the interwar period, Europeanist movements in France and the Netherlands, and the influence of colonialism on these movements. Britain, as the foremost colonial power, was also included in the analysis.

While at Yale, classes by Paul Kennedy and Jay Winter got me thinking about projects for European cooperation in the interwar period and what the influence of colonialism on these projects was. In 1929/30 French foreign minister Aristide Briand’s proposed ‘some sort of federal link’ between the European nations. The reactions by the other powers were hesitant to say the least. While people in the Netherlands defined themselves as Europeans, their global connections (Dutch East Indies) were more important than possible European cooperation projects. The French, who had a much bigger colonial empire, however emphasized European cooperation. So while in the Dutch case colonialism and Europeanism seemed mutually exclusive, in the French case, they were compatible, even interdependent.

That intrigued me: how did that work? This became the topic of my PhD at Cambridge, working with Robert Tombs, but also very much influenced by the late Christopher Bayly, Tim Harper and Richard Drayton. I began to consider the role of colonialism in thinking about world order, and hierarchies of race and civilization, and how that had shaped Europeans’ understanding of themselves, and how these questions became especially prominent after the First World War.

LHTC: How did you develop an interest in this kind of history?

AR: I studied both history and law at Leiden. In 2001, I spent a semester at UCL with Kathleen Burk, and there I wrote a BA thesis about the Marshall Plan and decolonization in Indonesia, which connected these at the time seemingly disparate historiographies. I have always been interested in international/political history, on the one hand, and colonial/world history, on the other hand and I have continued combining distinct historiographies. I’m interested in how they overlap. What are their mutual influences? How do national historiographies relate to each other even if they do not always ‘talk’ to each other?

LHTC: Would you consider looking more into legal history?

AR: I am less interested in the traditional kind of legal history, i.e. Roman Law. I might explore legal aspects coming out of my work at some point, there is some very inspiring scholarship coming out in this field (Meredith Terretta, Natasha Wheatley etc.). I think that when working on legal issues, you have to approach it not just as a historian, but also as a lawyer. Lawyers think in a different manner and use a different language, Dutch and legal Dutch are not the same for example, so it would be quite different from what I do now.

LHTC: How would you define global history? And do you prefer to use the term “global history” or “world history”?

AR: First, I think it is important to note that there are two types of this kind of history; the one encompasses the entire globe, whereas the other mostly looks at—drawing on Christopher Bayly’s notion of “sensitivity”—being open to connections across various spaces in the world and thinking history contextually. At Cambridge the kind of sensitivity as defined by Bayly is what’s meant with “world history”, whereas global history is regarded to be a more all-encompassing history. Elsewhere these definitions can be used exactly the other way around, and I do get the sense that that understanding is prevailing. What is problematic is that, often, terms are being used without proper definitions of what is meant by them. More important than the label is an explanation of what we exactly mean by these terms.

Related to this we, of course, have “transnational history.” In my view transnational history can be understood in three different ways: firstly as an anti-nationalist project — a way in which history can contribute to providing a broader perspective, the opposite of nationalist Whig history (not unlike Jeremy Adelman’s argument about Global History recently). Secondly, transnational history as a subject, for instance when one examines transnational groups, as I do in my work. I look at movements which were active across several countries, and which were mostly non-state actors (although people constantly shifted roles). Thirdly, transnational history as a methodology, in adopting a transnational perspective, looking beyond the nation state. This comes back to Bayly’s notion of sensitivity — being attuned to connections between different territories and areas of the globe (although transnational history is not necessarily global). Connected to this is the use of various types of archives in different countries. The great potential here is the ability to connect seemingly distinct historiographies. But the danger is being very well-versed in one aspect, but having a more superficial knowledge of others. Language issues play a role here too of course.

LHTC: Is this kind of transnational history different from international history?

AR: Not necesarily, although again it depends on how it is defined. Erez Manela defined international history as the history of international society, and I think that that is a very useful description. It broadens international history to include besides the history of international relations or international organizations, also more informal (transnational) groups and processes operating on an international level.

My work is a broadly defined history of international society, rather than the history of international organizations.  I find the interaction between official channels and civil society particularly interesting. Hence, I use transnational history as a topic and partly also as a methodology. What I find striking is how a transnational perspective can show how national these clubs working for, for example, European cooperation were. Although they might be working for an internationalist or transnational goal and might be trans- or internationally organized, when you look at the way they frame their thinking, you see how nationally determined they often were. If you only looked at the Dutch side of this history, these activists seem very international. But if you place them in a transnational or even a broad comparative framework, you realize how nationally determined these clubs were. Precisely the transnational method lays bare the national specificity.

LHTC: There is currently a wave of scholarship being published on the League Nations, works by Susan Pedersen and Patricia Clavin. How do you situate your own work in this wave?

AR: I like their work a lot. Patricia Clavin was my external examiner. Together with, for example, Glenda Sluga, Madeleine Herren-Oesch, and Sandrine Kott, Patricia and Susan form a sort of group of inspiring female professors in this field. Patricia and Susan were also involved in the Oslo Contemporary International History Network, led by Hilde Waage and Hanne Hagtvedt Vik which brought together younger and more established scholars from Norway and across the globe. It was very inspiring, much like the Decolonization Seminar at the Kluge Center of the Library of Congress.

But to come back to transnational history, that is strongly represented in new works about the League of Nations. What has struck me in histories of European integration is that the pioneers, mostly French scholars, started out as transnational historians (perhaps avant la lettre), but later seem to have returned to diplomatic history, as these sources became available. They certainly connected European cooperation with the League, which is natural given French activists’ networks. In the Anglophone historiography this connection is more rare, as is the connection between European cooperation and the colonial world. One might say that currently the historiography of European cooperation is divided between those who adopt an institutional lens in their work on the EU and its forerunners, and those who attempt to put the integration process into a transnational frame that engages non-institutional sources.

In my work I’ve used international history and world history lenses to look at Europe, in my next project I will use these perspectives to think about African actors and their relations to Europe. The clubs of people who became active around a certain goal have my interest. Whether their campaigns succeeded in securing their desired outcome (in the immediate term) is less the point, since their campaigning drove debates and therefore outcomes.

LHTC: What do you think about the sometimes assumed tension between European history and world history?

AR: I would like to argue for understanding European history as part of world hisory. It is often suggested that when you study Europe Eurocentricism and parochialism cannot be far behind. Whilst when you study, for example, South East Asia this is not necessarily the case. The history of European dominance of course makes Europe different from other continents and this has to be accounted for, but nowadays world history is sometimes everything except Europe. However, thinking of European history as part of world history could result in new perspectives, also when thinking about calls to decolonize the curriculum.

LHTC: What do you consider the classics in your field? And what are you reading at the moment?

AR: Perhaps this is because I just came across my university notes, but the first things that comes to mind are the works of Ronald Robinson and John Gallagher: the article “The Imperialism of Free Trade” and their later book Africa and the Victorians: The Official Mind of Imperialism. Beyond that, of course there are the more recent classics such as Christopher Bayly’s The Birth of the Modern World or David Scott’s Conscripts of Modernity. You need to read through the classics in order to understand the postcolonial literature, in order to be able to continue the conversation and to situate new historiography in its context.

The same goes for, for example, French historiography, which is often easily dismissed. It’s strange, because France used to be quite avant-garde. It is very unfortunate that even in the Netherlands, which abroad is still hailed as a linguist’s haven, students are more and more given set chapters, while they read fewer languages. Not long ago, a reading ability in English, German and French would have been required, unlike today. I’m currently re-reading Patricia Clavin’s Securing the World Economy: The Reinvention of the League of Nations, 1920-1946, which is fascinating and so filled with personal aspects that it’s bedtime reading as well.

LHTC: Besides preparing your dissertation for publication, what else are you working on at the moment?

AR: I am starting a new project on African perspectives on Eurafrica, for which I received a 4-year NWO (Dutch research organization) Veni grant. It’s very exciting. Eurafrica is usually approached from a European, or a more specifically French perspective, and in my new project I will approach it from various African perspectives, focusing on Senegal ad Ghana. I want to see what African actors thought about Eurafrican projects, did they reject them, embrace them or use them for their own purposes? A part of the Eurafrica project would be to establish the role and possibilities of African actors in relation to the European Union.

Now, access to sources is an issue. My favorite sources are personal archives. Of course, one has to know what’s in the official archives, but it’s through personal archives that you get a real feeling for the people you’re writing about, for what they thought about each other, what they wrote amongst themselves. During the preparations for my article on the Congress of Puteaux, I worked in the archive of [French socialist] Marceau Pivert. He went to the United States just before the outbreak of the Second World War, and from there to Mexico. While in Mexico, he corresponded with his comrades Fenner Brockway and John McNair in Britain about what was happening in Europe. These letters contained so many details, for example the murder of the Dutch communist Henk Sneevliet was discussed, very movingly, and in between personal stories, you really come to an understanding about their views of the future.

Smaller projects that I’m working on are Visions of Empire in Dutch History, with colleagues Rene Koekkoek and Arthur Weststeijn. It’s about thinking of a new research agenda for Dutch empire: connecting the early modern period to the postcolonial situation; seeing ‘Dutch’ history broadly, moving beyond national borders, explicitly informed by influences and actors from across the globe. So above all a transnational and transimperial approach and an approach that understands intellectual history as going beyond the big names of systemic thinkers, and includes visions of empire as negotiated in (day-to-day) practice.

The other project is about Global Regionalism, with my colleague from Leiden, Alanna O’Malley. Thinking about world order and alternatives to the nation state, from formal federations such as the West Indies Federation to more imagined communities such as Eurafrica and from institutions to individual activists.

For the moment, however, the researcher to watch is Anne-Isabelle Richard, whose Colonialism and the European Movement in France and the Netherlands, 1925-1936 we hope to see published as a monograph with a major publisher shortly. In the meantime, we thank Dr. Richard for participating in this latest installment of the Global History Forum, and wish her the best of luck as she blazes a trail in internationalizing the study of modern European history.

CFP: Women and World War I (Slovenia and Italy, November 2017)

Readers of the global history blog working at the intersection of gender studies and world history may like to explore this international conference to be held in Ljubljana, Slovenia and Gorizia, Italy in November 2017. Please find below the original call for papers from the organizers:

Women and World War I

The Department of History at the Faculty of Arts, University of Ljubljana (address: Aškerčeva 2, 1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia) and Museo della Grande Guerra/Museo della Moda e delle Arti Applicate in Gorizia (Borgo Castello 13, 34170 Gorizia, Italy) invite you to the international conference Women and World War I, which will take place in Ljubljana and Gorizia on 16-17 November 2017. The conference will be held in English and in Italian.

The first international studies exploring the role of women in the Great War built on the premise that the world-wide conflict changed the gender order and contributed to women’s emancipation. The following decades saw the publication of works that requestioned and relativized this premise, and some of them even denied it (Darrow, 2000). The most recent studies avoid the generalization in terms of positive or negative effects of the war, where women are regarded as a monolithic social category, and consider the diverse and at times also contradictory consequences of the war. They focus on different experiences of individual women, on the formation of different identities, on multifaceted responses, and the emotional culture during wartime (Doan, 2006; Thébaud, 2007; Cole, 2003). They discuss the activities of different social and occupational groups that were dominated by women during the war, e.g. factory workers and nurses (Hallet, 2009). They provide the necessary comparative insights and highlight the attitude of respective segments of the female population towards, for instance, patriotism and citizenship (Grayzel, 2002). In doing so, they draw attention to multifaceted stances, particularly in multi-ethnic state formations (Austria-Hungary), where the national identity did not necessarily overlap with the state identity (Healy, 2004). Other studies parallel and compare public representations with personal testimonies by women with (auto)biographical sources and place themselves to the history of emotions (Cole, 2003). Researches discussing the “female experience” of the war through literature and art (Siebrecht, 2013), and historiographical analyses depicting women in the role of criminals, offenders, protesters, spies (Darrow, 2000; Proctor, 2010; Healy, 2004), but also in the role of victims, for instance, enduring wartime famine, bomb attacks, rapes (Healy, 2004; Grayzel, 2012), and refugeeism (Verginella, 2013; Healy, 2004; Grayzel, 2012) have been mounting up. Parallel to adding new content, we also see an increase in historiographical works on the position of women during the Great War in different national environments (Dittrich, 1994), along with general syntheses, and international comparisons (Sharp, Fell 2007; Grayzel, 2002; Storey, Housego, 2010; Hämmerle et al., 2014).

The discussion of women’s position during World War I in the territory of modern-day Slovenia and its neighbouring regions, particularly in Italy and Austria, has remained a marginal topic. The embeddedness of this subject matter into a more comprehensive study and a general review of the period of World War I are yet to be explored to a sufficient degree. The international contextualization and the comparative aspect remain poorly dealt with as well; the latter will be promoted by the symposium following the conclusion of the project Women and World War I, which was financed by the Slovenian Research Agency and whose results will be presented at the symposium. We invite researches, who focus on the topics stated below and who pay particular attention to the transnational approach and explore the aforementioned subject matters in the territory of the former Austrian-Italian firing line.

The contributions should fall into the following thematic sets:

1. Women in the labour market during World War I

2. Women in the front as nurses or serving as auxiliary military forces

3. Familial relations during World War I

4. Women’s movement and World War I (women and resistance, dissatisfaction with provision, pacifism, demonstrations within the labour movement, criminality)

5. Culture, fashion, and women

6. Women refugees, consequences of the war and women

Those interested in participating in this conference should  submit their abstracts, along with a brief CV, no later than 15 July 2017 to robert.devetak@ff.uni-lj.si. Abstracts should be written in English and should not exceed 200 words.

CFP: ‘Whither the Global Village: Is Globalisation in Retreat?’ (Kashmir, India, October 13-14, 2017)

Scholars of diplomacy and international relations, political science, and the social sciences more generally should check out this timely call for papers for a conference on the state of globalisation today:

The end of the Cold War unleashed an unprecedented wave of globalisation which looked set to reshape the world into a single, interconnected socio-political-economic entity, a global village. While technological advancements like the spread of internet did play an important role in creating this expectation, the driving force behind this accelerated period of globalisation remained chiefly political. It was the victory of the United States of America in the Cold War with its pro-globalisation agenda that provided the critical fillip to forces of globalisation. With the sole hegemonic power in the world promoting a liberal economic world order, hitherto hesitant countries like India and others had no option but to embrace its precepts. Thus, the world witnessed an unparalleled movement of capital, goods and people between countries in the two decades after the end of the Cold War. The global economy became increasingly integrated, capitalists vied for markets and labour across state borders while immigration multiplied. This was the path to prosperity, security and stability was the international consensus, atleast among the elites. It was even hoped by some pro-globalists optimists that like a village, the world will eventually end up with a single economy, a shared cosmopolitan culture and collective security through enforceable common laws through international institutions. This was to be the end of history, the culmination of human kind’s ideological evolution.

However, in the last decade or so, this consensus has come under increasing stress. While the 2008 global financial crisis is a likely starting point for this loss of confidence, issues concering immigration and rising inequalities predate. Recent events like the Brexit and the election of an anti-globalist President in the US who has cancelled freetrade agreements, questioned well-established collecive security measures like the NATO and criticised immigration are symptoms of this phenomenan. Tides of nationalism and economic protectionism are rising across the world and more so in places like Europe which used to be strong advocates of globalism. In this context, it is thus important to ask, is globalisation in retreat? If so, what are the economic implications, specially for developing countries like India and China who have embraced and sought to take advantage of global capitalism in the last few decades? In the secrity sphere, does this signal a firm return to state centric realpolitik? One also has to discuss the future of economic and political immigrants as well as diasporic communities in this changing scenario. This conference seeks to discuss these pressing concerns and invites papers to be presented under following subthemes –

Global Economy: Is Protectionism the Future?
International Security: Back to Realpolitik?
Evolving Role of Diasporic Communities
Immigration and Multiculturalism at the Crossroads
Remapping Gender Beyond Globalisation
Perils & Possibilities for Developing Countries in a Changing World: Perspectives of Africa, Asia and Latin America
Globalism vs Nationalism: Trends and Prospects
Territorial Frontiers and Borders of the Mind: Limits of Cosmopolitanism
Transnational Social Movements: Present and Future
Send your abstracts of 350 words and a biographic note of 200 words as a single MS Word document to : conference.dpg.cuk@gmail.com

Venue of the Conference:

Department of Politics & Governance, Central University of Kashmir

Nowgam Campus-2, Nowgam Bypass, Srinagar, Kashmir, Jammu & Kashmir, India-190015

Important Dates

Last Date for Submission of Abstract: July 1, 2017

Notification of Selected Abstracts: July 7, 2017

Submission of Full Papers: September 12, 2017

All selected papers will be published as part of Conference Proceedings.

Contact Info:
Dr. Abhiruchi Ojha
Conference Convener & Assistant Professor
Department of Politics & Governance
Central University of Kashmir
Email: conference.dpg.cuk@gmail.com
Contact Email:
conference.dpg.cuk@gmail.com

CFP: Geographies of World History (Graduate Conference, University of Cambridge)

Scholars working on the margins of world history and geography will be interested in participating in this conference sponsored by the Royal Historical Society at the University of Cambridge. The event is organized by the convenors of the Cambridge World History Workshop: James Wilson, Stephanie Mawson, Lachlan Fleetwood, Louise Moschetta, Eva Schalbroeck, and Chris Wilson.

Please find below the original call for papers:

Geographies, both real and imaginary, play central roles in world history. Attention to landscape, place, and space has long been essential in telling global stories. Within this framework, geographical features, including oceans, islands, rivers, mountains and cities are increasingly being used as productive lenses for analysing connections and disconnections across and within empires and states. These framings have also been used to successfully disrupt older nationalist and regional organisations of the world, and traditional area studies units. Recently, scholars have become especially interested in geographical intersections, such as those between sea and land, coast and interior, and lowland and highland. Here the work of historical geographers, sometimes overlooked, can help inform the way we conceive of and practice world history. This one-day conference will bring together researchers working on various parts of the globe, including the Americas, Africa, Asia, Oceania and Europe, and across different scales, to discuss the way that geographies – cultural, social, and imaginative as well as physical – provide valuable analytical tools for the writing of world histories.

We aim to facilitate discussion on a variety of topics related to geography and world history, including but not limited to:

Geographies of resistance

Crossing geographies; migration and mobilities

Institutional geographies; architectures of colonialism and anticolonialism

Urban geographies in world history

Race, gender, and space

Thinking geography; cartographers and geographers as colonial experts

This one-day conference will take place at the University of Cambridge on September 30, 2017. We encourage graduate students in any related discipline to apply, and welcome individual submissions or suggestions for panels. Please send an abstract (250 words or less) and a current CV to worldhistoryworkshop@gmail.com by Friday, 16 June 2017.

 

CFP: Research Workshop “Multiplicity of Divisions: Boundaries and Borders of the Habsburg, Ottoman, and Russian Empires in the 19th-early 20th Century” (Kharkiv, Ukraine, September 28-29, 2017)

On the theme of imperial borders and boundaries in Eurasia, see this recent call for papers for a workshop to be held at Hryhoriy Skovoroda Kharkiv National Pedagogical University in Kharkiv, Ukraine. The workshop will focus on the Habsburg, Ottoman, and Russian Empires in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries:

The workshop will serve as a platform for discussions on the imperial past of East Central Europe and the Black Sea Region in terms of boundaries and borders. The organizers invite researchers to join the discussion about the demarcation lines between the states, regions, the urban and the rural, languages, narratives, religions, nations, and social groups. The workshop will focus on the issues of mutual interaction between borders and boundaries and the communities they are found in. The participants are expected to offer papers based on approaches of post-colonial and borderlands studies, new imperial and transnational history.

We seek contributions in particular on the following topics. This list is not normative and
abstracts on other related topics will also be considered:

Subjects and objects of divisionsAntagonism between the center and the periphery
Dynamics of boundaries and borders
Divisions between “us”, “them” and “others”
Spatial and spaceless divisions
Constructing and deconstructing the boundaries and borders
Overcoming boundaries and borders
The application shall include an academic CV, an abstract of the presentation (max 300 words) and contact details. Please, submit your applications to ethnickh@gmail.com before July 10, 2017. Should you fail to receive confirmation on receipt of your application, please, contact the organizers.

Participation in the workshop is free of charge. Organizers provide for accommodation and catering for participants during the workshop. However, organizers are limited in budget to cover travel expenses for the participants. We shall appreciate if you can cover your own travel expenses from the funds of your universities or institutions. Please, notify organizers in your application whether you need travel expenses to be reimbursed.

Workshop organizers:
Artem Kharchenko (Kharkiv) ethnickh@gmail.com
Oleksii Chebotarov (Lviv / St. Gallen) ochebotaryov@gmail.com
Center for Interethnic Relations Research in Eastern Europe
Center for Governance and Culture in Europe at the University of St. Gallen
History Faculty, Hryhoriy Skovoroda Kharkiv National Pedagogical University

Contacts:
EMAIL: ethnickh@gmail.com
URL: ethnickh.wordpress.com

Contact Email: ethnickh@gmail.com
URL: http://ethnickh.wordpress.com

CFP: Our World of Water: Histories of the Hydrosphere (Georgetown, November 4, 2017)

For graduate students interested in global histories of water and the environment, the Department of History at Georgetown University has issued a call for papers for a conference to be held on November 4 this year:

The Department of History at Georgetown University invites paper proposals from graduate students for a one-day conference on water-related environmental histories. The conference seeks to bring together students who share common research interests in water and the environment. The conference aims to consider water-based histories in the broadest sense, welcoming proposals with content ranging from irrigation to ocean basins, anywhere in the world and at any time period. Submissions are welcome from students working in any discipline, so long as their work involves change over time, humans, and water. Accepted proposals will be grouped into three moderated panels, each followed by a roundtable discussion between presenters, commentators, and the audience. The conference aims to serve as an intensive training session for participating students to present and receive feedback on their ongoing work (e.g. dissertation chapters and journal articles) from senior scholars and faculty members.

Application Process and Deadlines

Interested students should submit an abstract (up to 300 words) along with a brief curriculum vitae to Matthew Johnson (mpj16@georgetown.edu) by June 30, 2017. Successful applicants will be notified by early July and asked to submit a full version of their papers (between ten and thirty pages) for pre-circulation to conference attendees and commentators by September 23.

Additional Information

Georgetown University will cover the costs of hotel accommodation (two nights) for admitted applicants for the duration of the conference. Attendees are expected to cover their own transportation and other travel related expenses. However, admitted students can choose to substitute their accommodation coverage for a $200 reimbursement towards transportation costs. If there are any further questions, please contact Matthew Johnson at mpj16@georgetown.edu.

For updates and information on last year’s conference, please visit our website (www.georgetownenvironmentalhistory.org).

Soviet Socialism with Chinese Characterisics? Understanding the Collapse of the Soviet Economy with Christopher Miller

Comparing the shifting fortunes of Russia and China over the last fifty years, one cannot but be struck by the dramatic reversal in the two countries’ fates. In 1967, the Soviet Union was in the midst of a massive military buildup that would eventually enable it to reach superiority in conventional arms and parity in nuclear arms with the United States. The Prague Spring was a year away, and in spite of earlier interventions in Hungary, socialism in the Eastern Bloc enjoyed prestige among intellectuals in the West. The Soviet economy grew at a respectable five percent annually or so. China, meanwhile, was still reeling from the effects of the Great Leap Forward when, in 1966, Mao Zedong plunged the country into the Cultural Revolution. Millions of people were persecuted, and China’s leadership nearly triggered a war with the USSR following clashes over islands in Northeast Eurasia.

Today, the two countries present quite a different story. True, since Vladimir Putin was named, then elected, President in 2000, Russia’s economy year after year until the global recession of 2008-09. And having prevented the collapse of a Middle Eastern client in Syria, not to mention Russian influence in European and American elections, Putin can present himself as a confident paladin of Russian power in the world. Yet these triumphs were built only upon the ruins of the Soviet Union, which collapsed in December 1991. And Russia today has to deal not only with the United States, but also a rising People’s Republic of China whose economy is nearly an order of magnitude larger than Russia’s. Even on a per-capita-basis, Russians are only approximately 10% wealthier than their Chinese counterparts.

Reviewing this reversal, those contemplating the decline (and subsequent revival) of Russian state power might point to 1989 as the crucial turning point. In the summer of that year, the PRC’s government imposed martial law as student protesters swarmed Tiananmen Square in central Beijing. The Chinese Communist Party declared the protests “counter-revolutionary” and launched a massive crackdown that resulted in perhaps thousands of deaths. Communist Party control over China—albeit now promoting “socialism with Chinese characteristics”—remained intact, as it does today.

In Eastern Europe, however, the Soviet General Secretary’s refusal to use Soviet military force to put down mass protests in Berlin, Prague, Budapest, and elsewhere led to the collapse of satellite regimes won at the cost of 26,000,000 lives. And whereas Chinese economic reforms strengthened the legitimacy of the ruling Communist Party, soon, in the Soviet Union itself, Mikhail Gorbachev’s economic reforms contributed to the centrifugal dissolution of the world’s largest land country into fifteen successor states.

“The Struggle to Save the Soviet Economy: Mikhail Gorbachev and the Collapse of the USSR” (UNC Press, 2016)

Could things have gone differently? Could the Soviets have reformed their economy into something along the lines of the Chinese success story? Could there have been a Soviet Tiananmen Square scenario that would have prevented Boris Yeltsin from coming to power, and thus averted what Vladimir Putin dubs the “greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the twentieth century”? It’s a huge question—and also one that our most recent guest to the Global History Forum, Christopher Miller (the Associate Director of the Brady-Johnson Program in Grand Strategy at Yale) takes on in his recent book The Struggle to Save the Soviet Economy: Mikhail Gorbachev and the Collapse of the USSR (University of North Carolina Press, 2016).

Using sources in Russian and Chinese and exploiting underutilized Soviet archives, Miller’s work challenges the conventional wisdom about the great Soviet-Chinese counterfactual. Far from ignorant of Deng Xiaoping’s reinvention of Chinese socialism, Mikhail Gorbachev and the advisors around him were well aware of how the Chinese were transforming their economy. While some criticized the Chinese for abandoning socialism altogether, Gorbachev and his team consciously sought to imitiate Chinese reforms throughout the 1980s. It wasn’t for a lack of awareness or effort that would-be Soviet reformers failed to match Deng Xiaoping’s results. Rather, Miller suggests, the answer to the failure of Soviet economic reforms lies in the political economy of interest groups in the late Soviet Union. Indeed, it was precisely because large lobbies in the military, the oil and gas industry, and collective farms refused reforms that a Soviet Tiananmen would have been impossible in content if not in form. Even had the coup planners who briefly seized power from Gorbachev in August 1991, there was no way they could have imposed the austerity measures on Russians that Deng imposed on Chinese, for such cuts would have meant cutting into their own bloated budgets.

In short, Miller’s work offers not only a tight empirical reconstruction of key events in the history of the Soviet Union and the People’s Republic of China, but also offers a new vista on the political economy of Russia and China as they emerged from that annus horribilus (for the regimes, if not tens of millions of Europeans) of 1989. In order to discuss some of the issues raised by The Struggle to Save the Soviet Economy, Toynbee Prize Foundation Executive Director Timothy Nunan recently sat down with Dr. Miller to discuss his road to writing the book, some of the results of his research, as well as his ongoing research agenda. Continue reading