• 2019 Winner: Lauren Benton
  • Latest Conference: "The Fight for Global Equality"
  • Latest Interviews

Welcome to the Toynbee Prize Foundation

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

What We’re Reading This Week

Detail from John Singleton Copley, ‘The Death of Major Peirson, 6 January 1781’, (1783), The Tate. Creative Commons CC-BY-NC-ND.

YEHOR BRAILIAN

Livia Gershon, ‘The Problem With “Public Charge” Rules,’ JSTOR Daily.

Miles Larmer, ‘Global History for Schools,’ Historical Transactions.

Rachel Dinning, ‘”There Was No Feeling Sorry For Themselves”: Director Peter Jackson on the Soldiers of the First World War,’ Historyextra.

Podcast, ‘GHL Study Circle: Is Global History Facing A Crisis?,’ Global History Lab.

NATALIE BEHRENDS

Una Hadjari & Michael Colborne, ‘Why Ethnic Nationalism Still Rules Bosnia, and Why It Could Get Worse,’ The Nation.

Holland Cotter, ‘Brazil Enthralls With an Art Show of Afro-Atlantic History,’ The New York Times.

Adrien Daub, ‘The Return of the Face,’ Longreads.

Carrie Figdor & Robert Wilson, ‘The Eugenic Mind Project,’ New Books Network.

FATMA ALADAG

Issy Sawkins, ‘There Is Hope For Rohingya Refugees Fleeing Genocide,’ Imperial & Global Forum.

George Eaton, ‘Francis Fukuyama Interview: “Socialism Ought To Come Back,”‘ New Statesman.

Emile Chabal, ‘The Voice of Hobsbawm,’ Aeon.

SEAN PHILLIPS

Pankaj Mishra, ‘Gandhi for the Post-Truth Age,’ The New Yorker.

Yu-Shan Wu, Chris Alden & Cobus van Staden, ‘The Flawed Debate Around Africa’s China Debt and the Overlooked Agency of African Leaders,’ Quartz Africa.

Graham Bowley, ‘A New Museum Opens Old Wounds in Germany,’ The New York Times.…

CFP: Graduate Student Conference: Violence in a Connecting World (Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario, March 21-22, 2019)

Interconnectedness and integration of the local into global networks of empire, capitalism, migration, religion, solidarity, and intellectual exchange are pervasive themes in the field of global history. Scholarship on global networks transcends methodological nationalism, problematizes nationalist histories, highlights syncretism and hybridity, and challenges Whiggish teleology. Cosmopolitanisms, transnational exchange, and global solidarity and activism are celebrated…

What We’re Reading This Week

Silvia Federici, Witches, Witch-Hunting, and Women (PM Press, 2018).

JAMES PARKER

Silvia Federici, “Witches, Witch-Hunting, and Women,” New Frame.

Yohannes Gedamu, “How Ethiopia’s History of Ethnic Rivalry is Destabilizing Its Reform Gains,” Quartz Africa.

Nicholas Grant, “Nelson Mandela and the Racial Politics of US Imperialism,” Africa is a Country.

Emily Baughan et. al, “History and Humanitarianism: A Conversation,” Past & Present.

KRISTIN OBERIANO

Anita Hofschneider, “Why Talking About Anti-Micronesian Hate Is Important,” Honolulu Civil Beat.

Kevin Nadal, “How I Learned What It Means To Be a Filipino-American,” BuzzFeed.

JOSEPH SATISH

Fatima Arkin, “The Ambassadors For Open Access Standards in the Global South,” SciDevNet.

J.N. Sinha, “Decline of an Observatory,” Frontline.

Ramya Tella, “Climate Justice and Gandhian Morality,” Economic & Political Weekly.

Cassandra Willyard, Megan Scudellari & Linda Nordling, “How Three Research Groups Are Tearing Down the Ivory Tower,” Nature.

CHRIS SZABLA

Stephen Sedley, “What To Do With the Kaiser?,” London Review of Books.

Emile Chabal, “The Voice of Hobsbawm,” Aeon.

Sergey Radchenko, “Stumbling Toward Armageddon,” The New York Times.

Gabriel Winant, “What We Do,” The Nation.

Exploring the History of Science and Religion: An Interview with Job Kozhamthadam

PhD student

Job Kozhamthadam at the University of Maryland in the 1980s

Few today acknowledge the role of religion in the development of modern science and technology. But scholars have shown that religion has actively contributed to the rise of modern science. Joseph Satish sat down to discuss this and other matters with the award-winning historian and philosopher of science, Job Kozhamthadam.

Kozhamthadam is one of a unique breed of scholars who specialize in the history and philosophy of science – unique, because he also happens to be a Catholic Jesuit priest. His journey from a young boy in a nondescript town in South India to being acclaimed as a pioneer in the history of science and religion in India is interesting and inspiring.

Kozhamthadam is a Professor of Science and Cosmology at Jnana Deepa Vidyapeeth, Pune, India. He was previously a Visiting Professor in the History and Philosophy of Science at Loyola University, Chicago. He completed his PhD in the History and Philosophy of Science at the University of Maryland, College Park, USA. His first book, The Discovery of Kepler’s Laws: The Interaction of Science, Philosophy, and Religion (University of Notre Dame Press, 1994) was named Outstanding Academic Book of the Year 1994 by Choice Magazine. His other books include East-West Interface Of Reality: A Scientific And Intuitive Inquiry Into The Nature Of Reality (2003), Science, Technology And Values: Science-Religion Dialogue In A Multi-Religious World (2003) and Science, Mysticism And East-West Dialogue (2016). He founded the Indian Institute of Science and Religion (IISR) in 1999.

Joseph Satish (University of Hyderabad, India)

What We’re Reading This Week

Afridi tribesmen (1878), Wikimedia Commons.

COLLIN BERNARD

Adam Tooze, “Tempestuous Seasons,” London Review of Books.

Mike Davis, “Trumps America,” Rebel.

Holly Brewer, “Slavery-entangled Philosophy,” Aeon.

Sarah Jilani, “Shifting Sands,” The Times Literary Supplement.

MEGHNA CHAUDHURI

Nir Shafir, “Forging Islamic Science,” Aeon.

Sumit Guha, “The Strange Peregrination of a Latin Noun: Tribus From Italy to India,” JHI Blog.

Andrew Liu, “How Asia Got Crazy Rich,” N+1.

Kevin Lewis O’Neill, “On the Importance of Wolves,” Cultural Anthropology.

MARTIN CREVIER

Manuela Andreoni & Ernesto Londono, “Loss of Indigenous Works in Brazil Museum Fire Felt ‘Like a New Genocide’,” New York Times.

Andrew Preston, “How Vietnam Was America’s Avoidable War,” NewStatesman.

Alexandra Schwartz, “Who’s Afraid of George Washington,” The New Yorker.

Danielle Jackson, “After the US Open, a History of Racial Caricature,” Longreads.

BOYD VAN DIJK

Jordan Michael Smith, “A Trip to Tolstoy Farm,” Longreads.

Becca Rothfeld, “How to Live Better, According to Nietzsche,” The Atlantic.

Jia Tolentino, “Jian Ghomeshi, John Hockenberry, and the Laws of Patriarchal Physics,” The New Yorker.

Philippa Hetherington, “Short Cuts,” London Review of Books.…

What We’re Reading This Week

Rodrigo Moya, Dust Storm, Mexico City 1958. Courtesy of Archivo Fotográfico Rodrigo Moya

FATMA ALADAG

Matthew Vitz, An Unlikely Environmentalism: Mexico City’s Urban Ecological Thought in the Age of Development, Global Urban History.

Faisal Devji, Will Saudi Arabia Cease to Be the Center of Islam?, The New York Times.

Michael Kwet, Break the Hold of Digital Colonialism, Mail & Guardian.

Helena Rosenblatt, What We Talk About When We Talk About Liberalism, Boston Review.

DEXTER GOVAN

Paul McGrade, Ireland Has Come Too Far to Be Dragged Back in Time by Brexit, The Guardian.

Ian Hislop, From Satirical Coins to Subversive Salt-Shakers: A History of Political Protect Through Objects, New Statesman.

Sasha Lilley, A Thousand Days of Democracy, Jacobin.

Gideo Rachman, America, China and the Route to All-Out Trade War, FT.

BOYD VAN DIJK

Matt Apuzzo & Marlise Simons, US Attack on ICC Is Seen as Bolstering World’s Despots, New York Times.

Brandon Terry & Others, Forum MLK Now, Boston Review.

Atossa Araxia Abrahamian, The Inequality Industry, The Nation.

Frank Pasquale, All Too Humanitarian, Commonweal.…

Troubling the Empire: An Interview with Antoinette Burton

Prof. Antoinette Burton, Catherine C. and Bruce A. Bastian Professor of Global and Transnational Studies, UIUC

The British Empire, in its various guises, remains a rich historiographical field. Over the course of the past forty years, imperial history has undergone a series of changes stemming from the cultural turn, postmodernism, and postcolonial studies. A central element of this has been to break away from the male-dominated approaches to the ‘Official Mind’, and incorporating gender, race, and class into our understanding of Empire. Professor Antoinette Burton of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has been at the forefront of this change, as part of a wider group of scholars breaking down the insular boundaries of the field. Prof. Burton is a historian of nineteenth and twentieth-century Britain and its empire, with a specialty in colonial India and an ongoing interest in Australasia and Africa. She has written on topics ranging from feminism and colonialism to the relationship of empire to the nation and the world.

Throughout her career, Antoinette Burton has drawn our attention to the place of women in imperial movements in Burdens of History: British Feminists, Indian Women, and Imperial Culture 1865-1915 (UNC Press, 1994), the experiences of non-white subjects moving across the empire in At the Heart of Empire: Indians and the Colonial Encounter in Late-Victorian Britain (University of California Press, 1998), and the perpetual weakness of the empire itself in The Trouble with Empire: Challenges to Modern British Imperialism (Oxford UP, 2015). These works, as well as her extensive list of further publications, have allowed us to understand the metropole and empire as co-constitutive, with bodies and ideas crossing imperial boundaries and breaking down previously held assumptions of insularity. Revealing the voices of marginalized groups has also stimulated a wide array of research into localized perceptions of empire.

In this interview, Burton discusses the origins of her interest in gender and the British Empire, and her transition to broader questions of British imperialism in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. We also spoke about the pitfalls of studying the Empire in the current era of revisionism and imperial nostalgia, and how we as historians can combat the challenges raised by the amnesia surrounding colonial actions. Finally, we talked about how both collaborative projects and the field of World History can enrich our understanding of the British Empire, as well as the benefits of these approaches to early career researchers.

James Parker

Conference Report: Global History Student Conference (Istanbul Sehir University, June 22-24, 2018)

Academic trends can encourage collaboration among scholars from different parts of the world. A good example of this was the student conference on global history held in Istanbul last month, attended by students from 21 different universities. The fact the conference took place in Istanbul seemed particularly appropriate in the context of global history. Indeed, the city of Istanbul has long been a multicultural, multiethnic and multireligious place, especially during the long periods when it was the capital of empires. The conference was organized by undergraduate students from Istanbul Sehir University on behalf of the History Department: Fatma Aladağ, Beria Kafalı, Muhammet Mazı, Elif Can, Aişegül Akkoyun, Büşranur Bekman, Halime Karayel, Feyza İkiz, Elif Altın, Fatmanur Özdemir, Hande Tuzlakoğlu, Müberra Kapusuz, Hande Betül Ünal, and Neyyire Erdoğan.

Populism in History: An Interview with Federico Finchelstein

Federico Finchelstein, Del Fascismo al Populismo en la Historia (Taurus) and From Fascism to Populism in History (University of California Press, 2017).

Academics and commentators across the world have diagnosed what seems to them a global crisis of liberal-democracy. Many of them have focused in on populism, forming what some have called a ‘populism industry’. Feeding a confused and worried public’s desire for a prognosis, they have crafted definitions of populism that can explain and connect the seemingly new tide of right-wing politics in many very different contexts around the world.

Federico Finchelstein, Professor of History at the New School for Social Research and Eugene Lang College, argues that to understand our contemporary political predicament, we should instead start by contextualizing it by studying the actual historical experiences of populism within the long-term patterns of challenges to democracy. This, he insists, is preferable to theorizing perfect definitions of populism. Starting in 1945 in Latin America, where fascistic sentiments were reformulated for a post-war era and then brought into power through democratically elected governments, Finchelstein takes us around the world to see both patterns and divergences as this specific form of anti-democratic sentiment, populism, is expressed in various political contexts.

His book, From Fascism to Populism in History (University of California Press, 2017) provides the reader with an understanding of many of the most important theories of populism and how these theories stack up in the face of the ‘messiness’ of the global historical record. This hybrid intellectual-political history demonstrates how fascism and populism are connected but not the same, and why this matters for understanding the world today. In doing so, Finchelstein shows why we cannot afford not to have historians engage in contemporary political conversations.

Collin Bernard