Author: Aden Knaap

Job Post: Assistant Professor, International Studies (University of California, Irvine)

The International Studies Program at the University of California, Irvine invites applications from outstanding scholars involved in critical interdisciplinary global research with substantive foci in political, sociocultural, historical, legal, geographical and economic issues to apply for a tenure-track assistant professor position. All candidates with a research agenda that engages complex global issues and cuts across…

How to Start an Empire: An Interview with Steven Press

Dr. Steven Press

Open a world map. Chances are it carves the world into a multi-colored jigsaw of national territories.  We’re used to thinking of the contemporary international order as composed of regular nation-states. But what happens if we imagine a different map—one made up of irregular, overlapping, and contested claims, not just to territories, but to languages and peoples as well? A cartography of international disorder would emerge.

For starters, the large landmass conventionally thought of as Australia would be overlaid with the black, yellow, and red flag of the Aboriginal Provisional Government (APG). The APG claims Aborigines never ceded sovereignty over Australia; that they “are and always have been a sovereign people.” The APG has enacted Aboriginal sovereignty by issuing birth certificates and Aboriginal passports (which have been accepted in Libya, Norway, Switzerland, and the Mohawk nation), and sending diplomatic delegations overseas. Just off the coast of Australia, a small set of mostly uninhabited islands and reefs would feature the rainbow coloring of the Gay and Lesbian Kingdom of the Coral Sea Islands. In 2004, the Kingdom’s soon-to-be Emperor, Dale Parker Anderson, raised the rainbow flag on one of the islands, claiming them “as homeland for the gay and lesbian peoples of the world.” The Kingdom has adopted the rainbow pride flag as its official ensign, the Euro as its official currency, and issued its own stamps. And what about the territory beyond Earth? Zoom out and you would see the proposed Space Kingdom of Asgardia. Its Head of Nation, Russian-Azerbaijani scientist and businessman Igor Ashurbeyli, plans to create a new nation in outer space, with orbiting satellites serving as the space nation’s initial capital.

We might be tempted to dismiss these claims to sovereignty as oddities of the contemporary world. Not so, according to Steven Press’ new book, Rogue Empires: Contracts and Conmen in Europe’s Scramble for Africa (Harvard University Press, 2017). In Rogue Empires, Press offers a pre-history to these claims to sovereignty, taking his readers back to a time in the mid-nineteenth century when empires across South Asia and Africa were started and governed by companies and adventurers. Many of these individuals were what Press deems “disreputable types”: men like James Brooke, a British East India Company veteran who, by agreement with the Sultan of Brunei, became rajah of Sarawak on the island of Borneo in 1841. In Press’ telling, the ventures of private actors like Brooke culminated in the Berlin Conference of 1884–1885, where Belgium’s King Leopold and the German Chancellor Otto von Bismarck extended the imprimatur of European legitimacy to these “rogue empires.” The European powers would later rely on these private entities as precedents for establishing and extending colonies in Niger, South Africa, the Congo, Namibia, Cameroon, and beyond.

Fellowship: Fung Global Fellows Program at the Princeton Institute for International and Regional Studies

Princeton University is pleased to announce the call for applications to the Fung Global Fellows Program at the Princeton Institute for International and Regional Studies (PIIRS). Each year the program selects six scholars from around the world to be in residence at Princeton for an academic year and to engage in research and discussion around…

Conference: Global Histories of Capital: New Perspectives on the Global South (New York City, October 6-7, 2017)

From our friends at The New School and New York University comes this conference on Global Histories of Capital: New Perspectives on the Global South. The conference will be held at NYU on the 6th of October 2017 and at The New School on the 7th. For more information, visit their website or read this post…

CFP: The Pacific in the World, Harvard Graduate Student Conference on International History (March 22-23, 2018)

The organizing committee for the Harvard Graduate Student Conference on International History (Con-IH) invites graduate students to submit proposals for its eighteenth annual conference. This year’s theme is the Pacific in the World. The conference will take place at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts on March 22-23, 2018. By geographic area, the Pacific Ocean is…

Apply now to become an Editor-at-Large

We welcome applications for the position of Editor-at-Large from graduate students and advanced undergraduates. The Toynbee Prize Foundation’s Global History Blog features a mix of long-form interviews with global historians, historiographical pieces, and short-form material of interest to our readers: job posts, cross-postings from other blogs, and recently published articles. Editors-at-Large will gain exposure to one…

CFP: Bids for Autonomy in the Condition of Globality (Columbia University, 13-14 April 2018)

In the nineteenth century, globalization acquired a new intensity which has persisted until this day. As the world became more integrated and interconnected, successive attempts were made by states, peoples, social movements, religions, classes, corporations and regions to assert their autonomy against real and prospective forms of domination, discipline and uniformity imposed by exterior forces and…

CFP: Contested Borders? Practising Empire, Nation and Region in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries (London, 26-28 April 2018)

For scholars interested in the historical practice of belonging in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, please see the following call for papers. Abstracts are due by 16 October 2017:   Conference at the German Historical Institute London, 26–28 April 2018 Brexit, the Basque country, Kashmir – the drawing of social and spatial boundaries, the question…

Call for Contributions: Global South Studies

Global South Studies, a digital platform sponsored by the Global South journal, is soliciting contributions. See Dr. Anne Garland Mahler’s introduction to the Global South heuristic here (and excerpted below): The Global South as a critical concept has three primary definitions. First, it has traditionally been used within intergovernmental development organizations –– primarily those that originated…

CFP: The Munich Crisis and the People: International, Transnational and Comparative Perspectives (Sheffield, 29-30 June 2018)

The Munich Crisis and the People: International, Transnational and Comparative Perspectives Humanities Research Institute (HRI), University of Sheffield, 29-30 June 2018 Recent events in international politics have highlighted the intricate interconnectedness between diplomatic crises and public opinion, notably public expressions of emotion. As the 80th anniversary of the Munich Crisis approaches, this conference will revisit…