The 2017 Toynbee Prize Lecture – “Arnold Toynbee and the Problems of Today”

Did you miss the Toynbee Prize Lecture at this year’s American Historical Association Annual Meeting? Or did our recap of Jürgen Osterhammel’s Prize Lecture leave you curious to see the full address?

Thanks to the generosity of Professor Osterhammel, we are able to make available the full text of the 2017 Toynbee Prize Lecture, “Arnold Toynbee and the Problems of Today.” Additionally, readers may also read Toynbee Prize Foundation President Dominic Sachsenmaier‘s introductory remarks for Professor Osterhammel’s Lecture:

Readers interested in past Toynbee Prize Lectures may also wish to view Dipesh Chakrabarty’s 2015 Prize Lecture, also held at the AHA Annual Meeting.

Jürgen Osterhammel Delivers 2017 Toynbee Prize Lecture on “Arnold Toynbee and the Problems of Today”

Jürgen Osterhammel, Professor of History at the University of Konstanz and author of The Transformation of the World, used the 2017 Toynbee Prize Lecture to speak to the legacy of historian Arnold Toynbee.

Delivering his lecture to a full audience of attendees of the American Historical Association’s 2017 Annual Convention in Denver, Colorado, Osterhammel sought to pay tribute to the British historian by following the example of Joseph Schumpeter’s 1926 tribute to the economist Gustav von Schmoller (Gustav von Schmoller and the Problems of Today), first locating Toynbee in his twentieth century context and then exploring the ways in which the global historiography had changed since Toynbee’s death in 1975.

Beginning his remarks, Osterhammel noted the paradox any historian has to deal with in Toynbee’s career: by the late 1960s, Toynbee was hailed by some “as the greatest historian alive” and enjoyed a global celebrity. He was frequently asked to comment on major world events, such as the civil war in Nigeria in the late 1960s.

Yet Toynbee’s reputation among academic historians was much more divided. This, in Osterhammel’s view, had little to do with the fact that Toynbee’s crowning accomplishment was his mammoth A Study of History. While many academic historians had turned their back on large world histories written for general audiences like Will and Ariel Durant’s The Story of Civilization, mainstream successful scholars like the Austrian art historian Ernst Gombrich did not harm, and even enhanced their reputation, through works like A Little History of the World. And while he did not enjoy the popular celebrity of Toynbee, many of the works of French Annales historian Fernand Braudel – think Civilisation matérielle, économie et capitalisme (XVe–XVIIIe siècles) – show a similar engagement with the world as a subject. All of these examples of attempts at writing world history, explained Osterhammel, show that we need to go deeper to understand Toynbee and shifts in the writing of world history in the twentieth century.

One answer to the puzzle, continued Osterhammel, might have to do with the ways in which Toynbee did (or did not) provide models for others, or engage the social sciences. In his master work, The Meditteranean in the Age of Philip II, Fernand Braudel, for example, “provided a model of how to analyze a large geographical space where several civilizations coexisted and interacted. Models are always easier to apply and to adapt than theorems and even general laws. This explains why a Braudelian perspective was highly influential and could easily be modified for the study of other seascapes and, in general, vast spaces all over the world.” Similarly, whereas a Braudel engaged explicitly with the different layers of time organizing the Mediterranean economy, Toynbee’s work was less oriented toward producing “useful distinctions rather than elaborate theories.” Particularly in an age marked by the ascent of the social sciences, Toynbee remained more oriented toward the master narratives of an Oswald Spengler, rather than the kinds of social science dialogues with figures like Immanuel Wallerstein that embedded Braudel’s work into multiple academic settings.

Hence, even though Toynbee was widely sought after by the Press, he “was never appointed to a big chair in the British university system or a leading position in an Oxbridge college.” Within the British scene, he remained an outsider compared to figures like G. M. Trevelyan, Lewis Namier, or Kenneth Clark. For students of Osterhammel’s generation, who were exposed to “political globality” via the Vietnam War, the Frankfurt School, and dependencia theorists like Eduardo Galeano, Toynbee remained remote. When Osterhammel studied East Asian history in London with the British historian Ian Nish, for example, “world history” as such was more a political project that one engaged with through the study of non-Western cultures, rather than through explicit engagement with the kind of Geschichtsphilosophie embodied by Toynbee’s work.

In light of all of this, Osterhammel sought to explain Toynbee’s ongoing importance for global historians, in spite of this ambiguous reputation he enjoyed among academic audiences in the 1970s. For one, explained Osterhammel, Toynbee’s reputation was to a large extent saved by the English schoolmaster David Churchill Somervell. Beyond Somervell’s own activities as the Master of Tonbridge School (the alma mater of 2016 Toynbee Prize winner Christopher Bayly) and his own historical writing, Somervell excelled as a condenser of other historians’ works. His condensed version of the original twelve-volume A Study of History made Toynbee accessible to lay raders. More than just an excision of select material, Somervell’s abridged version of A Study “is arranged systematically in a way requiring careful study and puzzling the unprepared reader. It is hard to imagine what to expect behind chapter headings such as “The Stimulus of Hard Countries” or “The Mechanicalness of Mimesis.” Why such a complex theoretical work became a bestseller among the less adventurous as well is not difficult to explain. Somervell’s resistance to popularization put the abridgement in a relation to the original like that of a bottle of brandy to a cellar full of good white wine. In other words, you get the value at a fraction of cost and effort. Whether read or resting untouched on the shelf: the high-proof digest preserves the mystique of the original.”

Secondly, explained Osterhammel’s, A Study of History found a welcome audience in the post-war West. “He offered a comprehensive world-view suitable for liberals and moderate conservatives in the US-dominated West. The integrative scope of his vision – Big (or biggish) History avant la lettre – in a way distracted from the horrors of the recent past and assigned everyone a legitimate place in the great drama of civilizational evolution. This is why he had many admirers in West Germany. For some, Toynbee’s ideas served to counter the only other historiographical grand design pitched at the same level of generality: the Marxist drama of class struggle, modes of production and imperialist exploitation. Yet, intellectual Marxism had been bled white under Stalin’s tyranny and offered few attractions until the rise of a less arid neo-Marxism in the 1960s.” In this climate of anti-Marxism and a desire for postwar stability, it was no wonder why Toynbee found many admirers in both the postwar West as well as among developmentalist elites in the Third World.

While one might criticize Toynbee’s lack of intellectual precision compared to contemporaries like Raymond Aron, Ralf Dahrendorf, or George Kennan, all things being equal, he performed well at the task of a “spokesperson who prove the usefulness and legitimacy of ‘soft’ disciplines to people who have no time to read books.” In doing so, even this “the media virtuoso disguised as a quaint English professor” created crucial space and legitimacy for young German academics of Osterhammel’s generation who labored under a much more structured set of research programs and who were trying to carve out a legitimate space for themselves at the margins of a field still very much focused on European history.

Beyond these more proximate reasons for Toynbee’s success and relevance, however, Osterhammel noted the implicit theoretical contributions to the field in Toynbee’s work. Toynbee, he noted, “did not really care for globality as such: His preferred levels of analysis were intermediate structures, large spaces, civilizational ecumenes, empires. Many of us, too, feel more comfortable with such units than with the planet as a whole.” “Civilization” may seem too sloppy a category for historians writing today, Osterhammel noted that scholars of global history still often find themselves reaching for macro-units of narrative as they seek to avoid narratives centered around the nation-state. Perhaps rather than dismissing Toynbee’s use of “civilization” as a core unit of analysis, we might see him as the progenitor to discussions about the proper use of scale in global history narratives – discussions, noted Osterhammel, continued most profitably since by the late Shmuel Eisenstadt and Johann Arnason.

Some aspects of Toynbee’s work have, Osterhammel noted, been passed by as the discipline of global history has moved on since the 1970s. While Toynbee’s work was more interested in comparisons between different world civilizations, since the 1990s, scholars of global history have increasingly embraced a model more centered around transfers and connections. At the same time, Toynbee’s work (including his day-to-day work as the Director of the Royal Institute for International Affairs for decades) reminds us that these new global historical approaches need to engage the problem of international order and organized violence if they hope to attract audiences and interest. “Toynbee,” he noted, “would be surprised that global history and international history have parted ways. For some readers, a long chapter in my Transformation of the World on international orders and war appeared as a superfluous relic of an out-of-date type of historiography. “

Yet, Osterhammel continued, this kind of engagement with problems of war and piece is essential to any global history research agenda. “The most pressing problems of global significance – above all, climate change and nuclear armament – cannot be solved by the benign working of global governance alone. They still require the old instruments of inter-state diplomacy. Toynbee knew all about it. So did Raymond Aron and George F. Kennan, and so does Sir Brian Urquhart–at age 97, the oldest living member of our imaginary Toynbee Prize club.” While we might engage in theoretical reflections about the future of our field while eschewing some of Toynbee’s concepts, Osterhammel concluded, we still might emulate his hard-nosed interest in speaking plainly to “the burning issues of war, peace and the military” that could not but interest Toynbee (who lived through both World Wars) but do not today occupy a central preoccupation of the discipline. Citing the title of one of Toynbee’s later (but less well-known) books, Surviving the Future (1971), Osterhammel suggested that historians look to Toynbee’s legacy as they seek to make sense of a world threatened by global warming, international terrorism, and the breakdown of the post-1945 world order. “It is,” Osterhammel concluded, “with [Toynbee’s] encouragement that we should now turn to the task ahead: surviving the future.”

As this year’s Toynbee Prize Winner, Osterhammel 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, Christopher Bayly, and Dipesh Chakrabarty. Most recently, the Foundation has awarded the Toynbee Prize to University of Chicago historian Dipesh Chakrabarty (2015) and the late Christopher Bayly (2016). The next Toynbee Prize will be awarded at the American Historical Association Annual Convention in 2019, in accordance with the Foundation’s tradition of alternating its activities at the AHA Annual Convention between the Toynbee Prize Lecture and a sponsored panel on global history.

Jürgen Osterhammel Named 2017 Toynbee Prize Winner

The Toynbee Prize Foundation has selected Jürgen Osterhammel as the recipient of the 2017 Toynbee Prize. The Prize, given every other year to a distinguished practitioner of global history will be formally awarded at the 2017 Annual Meeting of the American Historical Association in Denver, Colorado on January 6, 2017.

Osterhammel is Professor of History at the University of Konstanz. He is perhaps best known to readers of global history for his global history of the nineteenth century, which appeared as Die Verwandlung der Welt in German in 2009. A revised and updated version of Verwandlung appeared in English translation as The Transformation of the World with Princeton University Press in 2014. Reviewers called it “doubtlessly the most significant achievement of a German-speaking historian in the 21st century thus far.” It has or will be translated into 9 languages and has been published in six editions since its appearance.

However, The Transformation of the World marks only one of Osterhammel’s many interventions into the field of global history. His 2003 co-authored book with Niels P. Petersson Geschichte der Globalisierung (in its 2005 English translation, Globalization: A Short History) met, like Transformation, with an enthusiastic reception and was translated into many languages. And Osterhammel was the co-editor, with former Toynbee Prize Foundation Trustee Akira Iriye, of A World Connecting, a synthetic attempt by several leading historians to write the history of the world from 1870 to 1945. A World Connecting forms one volume in a larger six-volume series published in German by C.H. Beck and English by Harvard University Press. A new book, Decolonization: A Short History,  co-authored with Jan C. Jansen, is forthcoming with Princeton University Press in 2017.

 

Beyond these achievements in the field of global history, Osterhammel is also a noted specialist in the field of Chinese history, having written several monographs on Chinese encounters with European imperialism, the a brief interpretative history of the Chinese Revolution, and China’s relationship with international society more generally. A revised and updated version of an earlier book, Die Entzauberung Asiens (The Disenchantment of Asia) on the uses of Asia in European arguments during the long 18th century is also forthcoming with Princeton University Press.

Osterhammel received his Promotion from the University of Kassel in 1980 and completed his Habilitation, a second doctoral degree common in Germany, at the University of Freiburg in 1990, following several years as a researcher at the German Historical Institute London. He has served as a Professor at the University of Hagen (in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany) and the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva, Switzerland before moving to the University of Konstanz in 1999.

Osterhammel was chosen by unanimous consensus by a Selection Committee convened by the Toynbee Prize Foundation’s Board of Trustees. Jeremy Adelman, the Henry Charles Lea Professor of History and Director of the Global History Lab at Princeton University, noted that Osterhammel’s work demonstrates a “peerless grasp of multiple historiographic traditions, and an ability to combine lively empirical detail with brilliant conceptual insights.”

Selçuk Esenbel, Professor Emerita at Boğaziçi University in Istanbul, Turkey, concurred, noting that Osterhammel’s work is marked by a “masterful synthesis of nineteenth century history from a global perspective that also  provides a systematic list of factors and themes which can be used as guidelines to analyze historical information from local history and assess connections to global processes.”

Osterhammel 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, Christopher Bayly, and Dipesh Chakrabarty.

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.

The formal awarding of the 2017 Toynbee Prize will, take place at the Annual Meeting of the American Historical Association in Denver, Colorado on January 6, 2017 from 3:30 PM-5:00 PM in the Colorado Convention Center, Room 403. There, Professor Osterhammel will deliver a lecture on global history upon receiving the Prize.

More details about the 2017 Toynbee Prize Lecture will be forthcoming later this summer as the American Historical Association finalizes schedules for the Annual Meeting.

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.

Dipesh Chakrabarty, “From Globalization to Global Warming: A Historiographical Transition”

The 2014 Toynbee Prize Lecture was delivered by Dipesh Chakrabarty (University of Chicago) on Saturday, January 3, 2015, at the 2015 American Historical Association Annual Meeting. In his lecture, entitled “From Globalization to Global Warming: A Historiographical Transition,” Professor Chakrabarty offers his reflections on the field of global history today. Prior to the talk, recorded and available below via YouTube, Toynbee Prize Foundation Vice-President Darrin McMahon (Dartmouth College) awards Professor Chakrabarty with the Toynbee Prize and introduces him. 

Dipesh Chakrabarty, who has taught at Chicago since 1995, is a scholar of South Asian history, postcolonial studies, and global history. Perhaps best known for his 2000 volume Provincializing Europe, Chakrabarty has made major contributions to the historical fields at the core of the Toynbee Prize Foundation’s concerns. Epitomizing the mixture of breadth and depth that distinguishes major historians, he is currently at work both on a book project on the implications of the science of climate change for historical and political thinking as well as two other future projects on democracy and political thought in South Asia and the cultural history of Muslim-Bengali nationalism. Chakrabarty received his BSc honors degree from Presidency College, University of Calcutta, a postgraduate Diploma in management from the Indian Institute of Management, Calcutta, and a PhD (history) from the Australian National University.

The Toynbee Prize was established to recognize social scientists for significant academic and public contributions to humanity. Currently, it is awarded every other year for work that makes a significant contribution to the study of global history. Previous winners include Albert Hirschman, Raymond Aron, Ralf Dahrendorf, and Natalie Zemon Davis; its most recent recipients prior to Chakrabarty are John McNeill and Michael Adas

Many thanks to Andrew Cohn, Toby Philippe and Tahir Patankar with technical support for the event.

Toynbee Prize Lecture at the 2015 AHA

Visitors to this year’s American Historical Association Annual Meeting in New York City are reminded of the Toynbee Prize Lecture taking place at this year’s conference.

At 2:30 pm on Saturday, January 3, in the Central Park East room at the Sheraton New York (811 Seventh Avenue), the Foundation will be awarding the Toynbee Prize to Professor Dipesh Chakrabarty (University of Chicago), who will deliver a lecture entitled “From Globalization to Global Warming: A Historiographical Transition.” Professor Chakrabarty will be introduced by Toynbee Foundation Vice-President Darrin McMahon.  The Toynbee Prize Foundation hopes to make available the text of Professor Chakrabarty’s lecture on this website shortly following the event.

For maps of the area and the hotel, see this program, supplied by the American Historical Association.

Toynbee Prize Foundation Announces New Leadership

Professor Dominic Sachsenmaier, a renowned scholar of Chinese and global history, will succeed Professor Raymond Grew as the President of the Toynbee Prize Foundation.

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 for distinguished work in the social sciences – former recipients include William McNeill, Ralf Dahrendorf and Natalie Zemon Davis. In addition, the Foundation sponsors global history regular sessions at the annual meeting of the American Historical Association, international conferences, the online Global History Forum, and the journal New Global Studies.

Currently a Professor of Modern Asian History at the Jacobs University in Bremen, Sachsenmaier also holds an active chair professorship at the Global History Center in Beijing. Before returning to Germany, his country of origin, Sachsenmaier held active faculty positions at Duke University as well as the University of California, Santa Barbara. He has played a key role in institutionalizing Sino-German academic exchanges, serving as a recurrent honorary chair professor in Global History in Beijing and running a program for visiting Chinese professors of social sciences and the humanities at Jacobs University.

Sachsenmaier has authored a wide range of books and articles. His main research interests include Sino-Western relations between the 17th and the 20th centuries as well as theories of global history. His most recent monograph is Global Perspectives on Global History. Theories and Approaches in a Connected World (Cambridge UP, 2011).

Professor Sachsenmaier said of the appointment: “I am truly honored to accept the presidency of the Toynbee Prize Foundation, and I look forward to collaborating with the board members and all the other people involved. I will do my very best to contribute to the Foundation’s promising paths. More specifically, I will seek to strengthen its ties to individual scholars and institutions outside the United States, including Europe and Asia.”

Sachsenmaier’s appointment will consolidate and build upon the achievements of outgoing Toynbee Prize Foundation President Raymond Grew, Professor of History Emeritus at the University of Michigan. Grew is the author of several works on 19th century Italian and French social history, most notably A Sterner Plan for Italian Unity and School, State (1962), and Society: The Growth of Elementary Schooling in Nineteenth-Century France (1991). Throughout his career he has also written on comparative and global history, from his 1980 American Historical Review article “The Case for Comparing Histories” to a more recent edited volume on the construction of minorities across different times and societies. Grew has served as the President of the Toynbee Prize Foundation since 2006, a period marked by an upsurge in interest in global history in general, thanks in no small part to initiatives launched during Grew’s tenure.

Outgoing Toynbee Prize Foundation Vice-President Bruce Mazlish (who himself served as President from 1997-2006), commented on Grew’s leadership: “It is often said that continuing an enterprise is more difficult than founding it. This has been my experience with The Toynbee Foundation. However, Raymond Grew proved the maxim wrong. As President succeeding me, he has overseen the stability and then the expansion of the Foundation’s mission.” Under Grew’s leadership, the Foundation established its presence at the Annual Meeting of the American Historical Association, where the winner of that year’s Toynbee Prize delivers a prize lecture. Grew also oversaw the reconstruction of the Toynbee Foundation’s website before convening over the election of his successor. At the same time, Grew has continued to author pieces on global history. “How he has managed to do all that he has,” commented Mazlish, “is something of a miracle.”

Fortunately, in taking over an organization that Grew has done so much to shape, Sachsenmaier will not be alone. He will be joined by incoming Vice-President Darrin McMahon, Professor of History at Dartmouth College. McMahon succeeds current Foundation Vice-President Bruce Mazlish, Professor Emeritus at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

McMahon, a scholar of modern European intellectual and cultural history, has published numerous works on the Enlightenment and Counter-Enlightenment. His 2006 book Happiness: A History, published by the Atlantic Monthly Press, was awarded Best Books of the Year honors by the New York Times, the Washington Post, and several others, and has been translated into twelve languages. McMahon is also the author of Divine Fury: A History of Genius, published by Basic Books in 2013, as well as the co-editor of the  volume Rethinking European Intellectual History for the Twenty-First Century.

Current president of the Foundation Raymond Grew commented: “The Trustees’ search committee should be congratulated for their selection of outstanding new officers. Building on the earlier initiative of Bruce Mazlish, the Foundation has in recent years greatly expanded its activity, especially with respect to the global study of global history. Professors Sachsenmaier and McMahon will take the Foundation to a new level in every respect.”

The appointment of Timothy Nunan as the Foundation’s Executive Director is another important change to the Toynbee Prize Foundation’s programs. He is  a historian with a strong interest in 20th century international history. He received his intellectual training to this point at Princeton, the Georg-August-Universität Göttingen and the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, and Corpus Christi College of the University of Oxford, where he was a Rhodes Scholar. While at Oxford, he edited and published a translation of several of Carl Schmitt’s writings on internationalism, published as Writings on War by Polity in 2011. Having received his doctorate in History from Oxford, Nunan was an Academy Scholar at the Harvard Academy for International and Area Studies, where he re-wrote his dissertation on the history of international development in Cold War-era Afghanistan into a scholarly monograph.

Dipesh Chakrabarty Named 2014 Toynbee Prize Recipient

The Toynbee Prize Foundation has selected Dipesh Chakrabarty, Lawrence A. Kimpton Distinguished Service Professor at the University of Chicago, as the recipient of the 2014 Toynbee Prize. The Prize, given every other year to a distinguished practitioner of global history, will be formally awarded at a session of the American Historical Association’s Annual Meeting in New York in January 2015, where Chakrabarty will deliver a lecture on global history.

Chakrabarty, who has taught at Chicago since 1995, is a scholar of South Asian history, postcolonial studies, and global history. Perhaps best known for his 2000 volume Provincializing Europe, Chakrabarty has made major contributions to the historical fields at the core of the Toynbee Prize Foundation’s concerns. Epitomizing the mixture of breadth and depth that distinguishes major historians, he is currently at work both on a book project on the implications of the science of climate change for historical and political thinking as well as two other future projects on democracy and political thought in South Asia and the cultural history of Muslim-Bengali nationalism. Chakrabarty received his BSc honors degree from Presidency College, University of Calcutta, a postgraduate Diploma in management from the Indian Institute of Management, Calcutta, and a PhD (history) from the Australian National University.

Chakrabarty was chosen by unanimous consensus by the Selection Committee of the Toynbee Prize, composed of Jeremy Adelman, the Walter Samuel Carpenter III Professor in Spanish Civilization and Culture at Princeton University, Jennifer Pitts, Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Chicago, and Peter Stearns, Provost and Professor of History at George Mason University. Timothy Nunan, the Executive Director of the Toynbee Foundation and an Academy Scholar at Harvard University, served as an ex oficio member of the Committee.

The members of the Election Committee acknowledged the importance and influence of Chakrabarty’s work. Peter Stearns noted that “Chakrabarty’s research on postcolonial cultures, and in the adjustments in historical perspective the postcolonial world requires, continues to exercise major influence in the field of history and the ways historians approach the global framework.” Adelman concurred, noting that “Dipesh Chakrabarty has changed the way historians think about their categories and compelled us to consider perspectives and experiences beyond the conventional cores from which these categories emerged. His essays and books on subaltern studies, class, nationalism, and the meanings of modernity have had a profound effect on global history. “

Charkrabarty 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 Michael Adas.

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

More details on the precise date and time of Chakrabarty’s lecture at the 2015 American Historical Association Meeting will be forthcoming on this website.