Acts of Faith: Talking Religion, Law, and Empire with Dr. Anna Su

Dr. Anna Su

Religious freedom is back in the news. Just last week, the State Department released its report on religious freedom for 2017. Speaking at its unveiling, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson pledged solidarity with a diverse group of persecuted religious groups: Iranian Baha’is and Christians, Chinese Uighur Muslims and Tibetan Buddhists, Pakistani Ahmadiyya Muslims, Saudi Arabian Shia Muslims, and Turkish non-Sunni Muslims, among others. Government officials did not miss the opportunity to extol the US’s “long, strong tradition”  of promoting religious freedom abroad.

No sooner than these announcements were made, reporters began pointing out the gap between rhetoric and reality. In a series of blistering questions, journalists underscored inconsistencies in the administration’s stated prioritization of persecuted Christian refugees; the restrictions on travelers from several majority-Muslim countries; the politicization and selectivity of its interventions; and the absence of any self-reflexivity, particularly in relation to spikes in hate crimes directed at American Muslims. China promptly followed suit, questioning America’s moral authority on religious freedom amid white nationalist rallies in Charlottesville.

The history of America’s interest in religious freedom abroad is the focus of Dr. Anna Su’s first book, Exporting Freedom: Religious Liberty and American Power (2016). As Su shows, the US has a long history of intervening in countries on behalf of religious freedom. Su tracks the development of official government policies toward religious freedom: first as part of its “civilizing mission” in the Philippines from 1898, then in the democratization of Japan after World War II, and finally through the championing of human rights in Iraq and elsewhere. Working at the intersection of history and law, Su is currently Associate Professor in the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Law. She previously earned an SJD from Harvard Law School, and worked as a law clerk for the Philippine Supreme Court and a consultant to the Philippine government negotiating panel with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.

Su presented at the Harvard International & Global History Seminar earlier this year. While she was in town, the Foundation caught up with Su to discuss the shifting valences of religious freedom and American empire, as well as the benefits and dangers of watching historical films starring Tommy Lee Jones.

Aden Knaap

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Assistant Professor in Global and International Studies (Boston College, Massachusetts, US)

For those TPF readers looking for an assistant professor position in global and international studies, the History Department at Boston College has announced the following job opportunity.  The call for applications explains more:

The History Department at Boston College seeks to hire an Assistant Professor of Global or International History, who will hold a joint appointment with the university’s Program in International Studies. All topical, chronological, and geographical specializations are welcome. The strongest applications will demonstrate attention to the processes and problematics of globalization (e.g., environmental, social, economic, political or cultural dimensions), and a facility with moving between various temporal and spatial scales. Candidates should have a Ph.D. in History by 31 August 2018.

In addition to pursuing an active research program and making other contributions to our intellectual community and to the profession, the successful candidate for this position is expected to teach four courses each academic year that encompass a mix of undergraduate surveys suited to the university’s Core curriculum (http://www.bc.edu/sites/core.html); electives; and graduate colloquia. All four courses will be given history designation, but at least two of them should be clearly relevant for International Studies students. (For information about International Studies: http://www.bc.edu/schools/cas/isp/about.html.)

Applicants for this position should submit a cover letter; a curriculum vitae; a research statement; a one-page summary of teaching experience accompanied by two sample syllabi; an article-length sample of research; and three letters of recommendation. Please submit these materials to Interfolio (http://apply.interfolio.com/43690) no later than 13 October 2017. Interviews will be conducted at the American Historical Association’s annual meeting in January 2018.

Boston College is a Jesuit, Catholic university that strives to integrate research excellence with a dedication to student formation within a liberal arts environment. Boston College is also an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer and does not discriminate on the basis of any legally protected category. 

For more information, visit this link.

Workshop: “Global Cultural Encounters (1750-1950)” (University of Michigan, August 2-4, 2017)

For readers of the Global History Blog, here’s a recent call for attendance at a workshop titled “Global Cultural Encounters (1750-1950)” at the University of Michigan on August 2-4, 2017. The workshop that will take place with the participation of many important scholars including Albert Wu, who was previously interviewed by the Toynbee Foundation.

Sponsored by the Thyssen Foundation, the workshop, “Global Cultural Encounters, – Between the Material and Immaterial, 1750-1950,” explores our world’s interconnectedness since the modern era. The workshop will take place at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

Program

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

3:00–3:30 Registration

3:30–3:45 Welcome Address
Geoff Eley (University of Michigan), History Department Chair

3:45–4:00 Opening Remarks
Harry Liebersohn (University of Illinois) / Kira Thurman (University of Michigan) / Stefan Hübner (National University of Singapore)

4:00–5:00 Introductions and Discussion of Scholarly Goals

5:00 Reception

Thursday, August 3, 2017

9:30–11:00 Panel 1: The Pursuit of Scientific Knowledge in the Age of Empire
Chair: Harry Liebersohn (University of Illinois)

Moritz von Brescius (University of Konstanz), “German Science in the Age of Empire: Enterprise, Opportunity and the Schlagintweit Brothers”

Simon Layton (Queen Mary University of London), “The Sartorial Science of Sir Joseph Banks”

11:00–11:15 Coffee Break

11:15–12:45: Panel 2: The British in South Asia; South Asia in Great Britain
Chair: Amanda Armstrong-Price (University of Michigan)

  1. Barton Scott (University of Toronto), “Translated Freedoms: Karsandas Mulji’s Travels in England and the Anthropology of the Victorian Self”

Teresa Segura–Garcia (Universitat Pompeu Fabra), “Princely Alliances on a Global Stage: Baroda, the British Empire, and the World, c. 1875–1939”

12:45–2:00 Lunch Break

2:00 – 4:15 Panel 3: Musical Diasporas
Chair: Jesse Hoffnung–Garskoff (University of Michigan)

Kira Thurman (University of Michigan), “Encountering Beethoven in Rural Alabama: German Music and Black Education in the United States, 1870–1940”

Ted Sammons (University of Toronto), “From the Workshop to the World: Jazz Jamaica and the Black Freedom Movement”

meLê yamomo (Free University of Berlin), “Globalization in cylinders: Auditioning the early global acoustic epistemology”

4:15–4:30 Coffee Break

4:30–6:00 Panel 4: Global Ideological Encounters in East Asia
Chair: Perrin Selcer (University of Michigan)

Yurou Zhong (University of Toronto), “Toward a Chinese Grammatology”

Stefan Huebner (National University of Singapore), “The ‘Oceanic Colonizing Mission’ and floating city projects since the 1950s”

Friday, August 4, 2017

9:30–11:00 Panel 5: Colonial Projects in/and the Middle East in the Interwar Era
Chair: Melanie Tanelian (University of Michigan)

Elizabeth Matsushita (University of Illinois), “Alexis Chottin’s Moroccan Music: Race, Colonialism, and Modernity in the Protectorate’s Musicological Project”

Shuang Wen (National University of Singapore), “The YMCA and the Arab–Chinese Laborers in WWI”

11:00–11:15 Coffee Break

11:15–12:45 Panel 6: Policing the Body under Colonial Rule
Chair: Victor Mendoza (University of Michigan)

Emma Thomas (University of Michigan), “Rape, Indenture, and the Colonial Courts in German New Guinea”

T.J. Tallie (Washington and Lee University), “Sobriety and Settlement: the Racialized Politics of Alcohol Use in Colonial Natal”

12:45–2:00 Lunch Break

2:00–3:30 Panel 7: Measuring the Body: Global Medicine and Anthropology under Empire

Chair: Zhiying Ma (University of Michigan)

Albert Wu (American University of Paris), “Superstition and Quackery: Scenes from a Global History”

Fenneke Sysling (University of Utrecht), “Anthropometry and the human Wallace line”

3:30–3:45 Coffee Break

3:45–5:00 Final Discussion, Possible Plans for the Future, and Closing Remarks

Harry Liebersohn (University of Illinois)

6:00 Conference Dinner 

If you are interested in attending, please email Kira Thurman: thurmank(at)umich.edu

Of Prostitution and Port Cities: A Conversation with Liat Kozma

Dr. Liat Kozma

Prostitution may be considered the world’s oldest profession, but its practice and regulation has been far from fixed throughout history. As Dr. Liat Kozma explores in her most recent book, Global Women, Colonial Ports: Prostitution in the Interwar Middle East (2017), state-regulated prostitution in the Middle East—and the lives of prostitutes themselves—was directly influenced by major global shifts following World War I. These shifts included the transition from Ottoman to French and British colonial rule in the Middle East, as well as the ongoing processes of industrialization, urbanization, and large-scale migration set in motion in the nineteenth century.

Exploring prostitution through the regional lens of the Mediterranean—rather than through a political lens like that of a single nation or empire—Kozma innovatively dissects the many layers of state-regulated prostitution and the involvement of global and local institutions. From Casablanca to Beirut, Alexandria to Haifa, people, practices, germs, and attitudes toward prostitution and sexual practices migrated and spread during the interwar period.

Importantly, this story of the internationalization of prostitution regulation is far from one of top-down colonial policy-making. It involved a complex web of interactions and knowledge-sharing between individuals at every level, including actors from the newly created League of Nations, who sought to monitor traffic in women and children; colonial officials who shared policies maintaining racial boundaries between populations; local feminists, abolitionists, and medical doctors who wrote and debated about how to best prevent the spread of venereal disease; and individual prostitutes and brothel keepers who migrated to different cities in search of employment opportunities. As Kozma puts it, “the drunken sailor affected international policies on clinics that treated venereal disease, and international conventions affected the availability of care in his port of call.”

Kozma’s narrative telescopes in and out, between the local and the global; between the individual brothel keeper in Port Said and the League of Nations meetings in Geneva; between the syphilitic soldier and the history of Salvarsan. In doing so, Kozma sketches out a new model for writing global history—one that connects the dots between social history, women’s and feminist history, and Middle Eastern history.

We recently had the opportunity to speak with Kozma, a senior lecturer in the Department of Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. We talked about her research process for the book and her main findings about prostitution in the interwar period. We also discussed some of the broader challenges of writing a social and gendered history of a global phenomenon, the exciting potential of multi-archival research, and her recent work in bridging the divide between academic and non-academic audiences through social history.

–Caroline Kahlenberg

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CFP: Comparative Abolition in the Atlantic and Indian Oceans (Leeds, UK, September 22-23 2017)

On September 22-23 2017, the Leeds Baines Group for the Comparative Study of Unfree Labour and the Working Group on Comparative Slavery will host a research conference in Leeds, UK, comparing abolition in the Atlantic and Indian Ocean regions. Proposals are due July 15th. The organizers write:
The newly formed Leeds Baines Group for the Comparative Study of Unfree Labour together with the Working Group on Comparative Slavery (founded at Harvard in 2015) aim to bring together scholars working on slavery and indenture for a two-day conference focusing on the comparative aspects of abolition in the Atlantic and Indian Oceans. Conference participants will explore research synergies and collaborative opportunities, promote a new cycle of comparative studies of slavery and indentured labour, and help define new trans-regional doctoral fields in historical research. Taking the theme of ‘abolition’ as its point of departure, the event will build on the significant growth of scholarship on unfree labour in the Atlantic and Indian Ocean worlds during the past two decades. It will revisit some of persistent problems posed by the traditional comparative literature on slavery and indenture and identify new and exciting areas for future research.
Those interested in participating should write to Manuel Barcia (M.Barcia@leeds.ac.uk) and James Almeida (jamesalmeida@g.harvard.edu) by July 15, 2017.

Gerald D. Feldman Travel Grants for Transnational Study

Advanced PhD students working on transnational/transregional topics may be interested in applying for a Gerald D. Feldman travel grant. Areas for study include: China, Egypt, France, Germany, Great Britain, India, Israel, Italy, Japan, Lebanon, Poland, Russia, Senegal, Turkey, USA. The supporting institutions explain as follows:

Once a year, supported by the Peters Beer Foundation, part of the Stifterverband für die Deutsche Wissenschaft (Donors’ Association for the Promotion of Humanities and Sciences in Germany), the Max Weber Foundation (MWS) confers Gerald D. Feldman Travel Grants to young academics with an international focus.

The travel grants are meant to improve the career opportunities for humanities and social science academics in their qualification phase. The scientists conduct a self-chosen research project in at least two and at most three host countries which are home to MWS institutes and branches or at the Richard Koebner Minerva Center for German History. The total term of funding shall not exceed three months. Placements (at most one month per host country, shorter stays are possible) are to be used for research, especially in libraries and archives. Academics are expected to produce transnational and transregional studies, providing research with new and original ideas. The research placements should ideally be completed within 12 months, or at most 24.

Funding 

Funding is based on the rates of Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft and covers:

  • documented travel costs for travel to the foreign institute and back (least expensive route);
  • daily rates between €  27.00 and € 58.00 depending on the host country;
  • lodging in one of the institute’s inexpensive guest rooms depending on the host country chosen and on availability.

Countries and Regions

China, Egypt, France, Germany, Great Britain, India, Israel, Italy, Japan, Lebanon, Poland, Russia, Senegal, Turkey, USA.

Applications for the country of the applicant’s main place of residence will not be considered.

Conditions for Applications

All application papers must be submitted in German or English. A complete application will comprise the following information:

  • completed application form;
  • a detailed presentation (max. 3-5 pages) of the intended research project, stating the sources which justify the stay in the specific host countries or at the institutes;
  • copies of certificates (examinations, PhD certificate)
  • list of publications
  • a reference opinion from an expert which should provide information on the applicant’s status and the progress of work and be sent directly to the Max Weber Foundation’s central office
  • a letter confirming supervision by the host institution in Germany, if applicable.

The next deadline for applications is 13 October 2017.

Please e-mail your application to feldman@maxweberstiftung.de using the required form (see: “Further information” on the website http://www.maxweberstiftung.de).

Information can be obtained from Hanna Pletziger by e-mail at feldman@maxweberstiftung.de or by phone on +49 (228) 377 86-38.

 

CFP: European Architectural History Network (Tallinn, Estonia, June 2018)

Researchers working at the intersections of global history and architectural history may like to participate in the fifth European Architectural History Network International Meeting to be held in Tallinn, Estonia during June 2018 by the European Architectural History Network. Please find the detailed call for session and paper proposals for the various sessions below:

Abstracts are invited for the fifth European Architectural History Network International Meeting, in Tallinn, June 2018. Please submit your abstract by 30 September 2017 to one of the sessions and round tables listed below. Abstracts of no more than 300 words should be submitted straight to the session convenor(s). Include your name, affiliation, title of paper or position, a C.V. of no more than five pages, home and work addresses, e-mail addresses and telephone numbers.

Sessions will consist of either five papers or of four papers and a respondent with time for questions and dialogue at the end. Each paper should take no more than 20 minutes to present. Abstracts for session presentations should define the subject and summarize the argument to be made in the presented paper. The content of that paper should be the product of well-documented original research that is primarily analytical and interpretive rather than descriptive.

Round tables will have no more than six participants plus chairs and an extended time for dialogue, debate and discussion among participants and their public. Each discussant will have 10 minutes to present a position. Abstracts for round tables should summarize the position to be taken.

Papers may not have been previously published, nor presented in public. Only one submission per author will be accepted. All abstracts will be held in confidence during the selection process.

Session and roundtable chairs will notify all persons submitting abstracts of the acceptance or rejection of their proposals and comment upon accepted ones no later than 31 October 2017. Authors of accepted paper proposals must submit the complete text of their papers to their chairs by 15 February 2018. Chairs may suggest editorial revisions to a paper or position in order to make it satisfy session or round table guidelines and will return it with comments to the speaker by 15 March 2018. Chairs reserve the right to withhold a paper or discussion position from the program if the speaker has refused to comply with these guidelines. It is the responsibility of the chair(s) to inform speakers of these guidelines, as well as of the general expectations for both a session and participation in this meeting. Each speaker is expected to fund his or her own registration, travel and expenses to Tallinn, Estonia.

Additional Guidelines for Paper Sessions:

No paper may have more than two authors. Final presented papers should be no more than 2500 words, although texts of up to 4000 words, including notes, may be included in the proceedings (submission to the proceedings is optional).

Additional Guidelines for Roundtables:

Initial position statements should be no more than 1250 words. Position statements of up to 2500 words including notes will be accepted for the proceedings (submission to the proceedings is optional).

Deadlines:

Submissions of paper proposals and roundtable discussions to session chairs: 30 September 2017

Communication by session chairs of acceptance or rejection and comments on accepted abstracts: 31 October 2017

Submission of Final Edited Abstracts to Session and Conference Chairs: 30 November 2017

Submission of Complete Draft of Paper or Position Statement to Session Chairs: 15 February 2018

Comments on Papers and Position Statements to be Returned by Session Chairs: 15 March 2018

Submission of Final Paper or Position Statement to Chair and, if to be included in Conference Proceeding, to Conference Chair: 1 April 2018

Those interested may visit the conference website for further details here: http://eahn2018conference.ee/

Human Rights and the Global South: A Conversation with Steven L. B. Jensen

Dr. Steven L. B. Jensen

Human rights are facing perhaps their greatest challenge yet. After a failed military coup in July last year, Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has led a purge of the country’s central institutions. A much-contested referendum in April only expanded Erdoğan’s stranglehold on the government. Over a similar timeframe, Erdoğan’s Filipino counterpart, Rodrigo Duterte, has spearheaded a devastatingly brutal antidrug campaign, sanctioning the extra-judicial killing of thousands of suspected drug users and sellers. In Egypt, President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi has imprisoned members of the political opposition, arrested human rights activists, and outlawed many aid organizations. Meanwhile, the United States—traditionally considered human right’s earliest and greatest champion—has seen the election of President Donald Trump. According to a tally compiled by Amnesty International, in just one hundred days in office, Trump threatened human rights in at least as many ways.

Viewed from today’s perspective, it might seem like it’s only recently that the US has ceded global leadership on human rights. But, as Dr. Steven L. B. Jensen shows in his book The Making of International Human Rights: The 1960s, Decolonization, and the Reconstruction of Global Values (2016), the history of human rights was never simply a story of American or Western hegemony. Moving the locus of study to Jamaica, Ghana, the Philippines, Liberia and beyond, Jensen argues that human rights were as shaped from within the Global South as they were from without. In Jensen’s words, actors from the Global South “gave a master class in international human rights diplomacy to both the Eastern and the Western actors.”

Many scholars struggle to connect with non-academic audiences. In his work and in his writings, Jensen straddles the border between academia and international policymaking with comparative ease. Currently a researcher at the Danish Institute for Human Rights, Jensen is the author and editor of multiple books and articles. Prior to completing his PhD at the University of Copenhagen, he worked in international development: first at the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ Department of Southern Africa, and later for the Joint UN Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) in Geneva. His PhD thesis was published as The Making of International Human Rights last year. Since then, he’s been on something of a roll. Most recently, his book received the Human Rights Best Book Award and the Chadwick Alger Prize for the best book on international organization from the International Studies Association.

The Toynbee Prize Foundation was lucky enough to chat with Jensen during a recent visit to Cambridge, Massachusetts. Jensen was in town to attend a workshop on socioeconomic rights convened by Professors Samuel Moyn and Charles Walton at Harvard Law School. Jensen spoke about human rights’ origins in the Global South, how exactly he came to be known as the “Jamaica guy,” and what the future holds for human rights scholarship.

Aden Knaap

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CFP: Revising the Geography of Modern World Histories (University of York, 9-10 February 2018)

Readers of the Global History blog may consider participating in ” a forum to discuss the challenges and possibilities of writing multi-sited modern histories that encompass fully situated lives and local contexts”. Please find below the call for proposals from the organizers of Revising the Geography of Modern World Histories to be held in York, UK, from 9 to 10 February, 2018.

The British Academy and the Department of History at the University of York invite submissions from early career researchers (ECRs) for a two-day workshop and public conference, “Revising the Geography of Modern World Histories,” to be held in York, UK, from 9 to 10 February, 2018.

This international event responds to the recent boom in “global” history, providing a forum to discuss the challenges and possibilities of writing multi-sited modern histories that encompass fully situated lives and local contexts.

ECRs working on themes or in fields including but not limited to the below—as they relate to transnational or transregional history from the late 18th century to the present—are particularly encouraged to submit abstracts (maximum 250 words):

International political economy

History of empire

Political history

Social / labor history

Cultural history

Gender history

Environmental history

Critical geography

Historical sociology

The event organizers wish to draw ECRs who are stretching the boundaries of their national or disciplinary specializations. Proceedings will include small-group workshops to discuss shared challenges and strategies of conducting geographically heterodox historical scholarship, public presentations of works in progress, keynote lectures, and a plenary discussion with public Q&A.  

Current keynote speakers and plenary participants include:

Manu Goswami (New York University)

Andrew Zimmerman (George Washington University)

Lara Putnam (The University of Pittsburgh)

Paul A. Kramer (Vanderbilt University)

Applicants must include, along with their abstract, a list of five works currently most relevant to their research. These titles will be assembled into an actively managed, open-access bibliography on the conference website (URL below). All abstracts are due by 1 September 2017. Please send them in pdf or MS Word format to: revising-geography@york.ac.uk.

Generous funding from the British Academy, YuFund, and the York Centre for the Americas will allow the hosts to defray a significant portion of participant travel and accommodation expenses.

This conference is a collaboration between scholars at the Universities of Nottingham, Sheffield, and York in the UK, and Fordham, Harvard, the New School for Social Research, Northwestern, and Ohio State in the US.

Please address abstracts and questions to the event organizer, David Huyssen, at: revising-geography@york.ac.uk