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.

Is Global History Suitable for Undergraduates?

Cross-Posted on the Imperial and Global Forum 

Last week, I came across two provocative blog posts, at The Junto and the Imperial and Global History Network (IGHN), on teaching global history that got me thinking reflectively about my own recent experiences of approaching American and British imperial history from a global historical perspective. The big takeaways from both pieces seem to be: 1) teaching global history is a challenge not just for students but for teachers; and 2) that the net positive from teaching history from a global vantage point at the graduate level far outweighs said challenges. However, The Junto’s Jonathan Wilson concludes by quite explicitly questioning whether global historical approaches are in fact suitable for the first-year undergraduate classroom.

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Editors’ Choice: The Dollar is Still King

ITHACA – Scarcely a week passes without news about the ascendance of China’s currency, the renminbi. But China has a long way to go before its currency can rival – let alone displace – the US dollar as the dominant global reserve currency.

To be sure, China already plays a significant role in international trade and finance, with major financial centers like London and Frankfurt eagerly lining up for renminbi business. Recent speculation that China’s economy may soon be as large as America’s has boosted this interest further, causing many to believe – whether ruefully or gleefully – that the renminbi will soon dominate.

Moreover, the Chinese authorities have launched a raft of reforms aimed at opening the economy and making it more market-oriented, and have announced plans to liberalize interest and exchange rates and continue to ease restrictions on cross-border capital flows. All of this will strengthen the renminbi’s claim to reserve-currency status.

But China is missing one crucial ingredient: the world’s trust. To achieve currency dominance, China needs more than economic and military might; it requires a broader and more credible set of public and political institutions. And it is here that the US shines – at least relatively speaking.

Read Full Post at Project Syndicate

Oxford Centre for Global History

The Oxford Centre for Global History was established by the History Faculty in June 2011 to reflect its strong commitment to promoting Global History. The Centre is based in the History Faculty Building in George Street, Oxford.

Global History
Global History in Oxford is defined broadly as the global movement of people, goods and ideas and the consequences that flow from them. Chronologically, it extends across all historical periods from Ancient to Late Modern. The Centre is particularly keen to encourage cooperation between historians of different periods, as well as places, in the study of themes of global significance, including:

  • The dialogue between imperial, transnational and comparative history
  • The different meanings of the concept ‘global’, including the balance in the dialogue between cultures in different historical periods
  • The global history of rights, and the history of global governance
  • Cross-cultural and transnational histories of varieties of representative government and of public spheres (including attitudes to public ethics and the global history of corruption)
  • The development of economic interdependence, including its relation to technological transfer and scientific interchange
  • The movement of peoples as against the movement of ideas and practices
  • The history of regions seen in a global context, and the study of intersecting local societies
  • The roles of lingua francas in history, including the practices of translation and their cultural significance

Incubating New Research
The Centre’s purpose is to promote Global History through the support of research projects and the provision of workshops, seminars and conferences. The ‘founding’ conference ‘New Directions in Global History’ took place on 27-29 September 2012 and ‘The Great War and Global History’ conference was on 9-10 January 2014.

However, a key part of the Centre’s role is to facilitate the research of all those in Oxford who are keen to develop a global history dimension in their work. In its History Faculty and in kindred departments, including Classics and Ancient History, Oriental Studies, Chinese Studies, Politics and International Relations and Economics, Oxford has one of the largest concentrations in the world of historians and others with interests in Global History. The Centre is designed to reflect and promote these wide-ranging interests, developing and carrying out team projects on clearly significant issues that cross time, space, and discipline.

The Centre’s activities are generously supported by the Oxford University Press John Fell Fund.



LSE IDEAS was founded in 2008 and now runs a series of regional and topical programmes. The centre currently does research on the international affairs of East and Southeast Asia, the Balkans, the United States, the Middle East, Latin America, Africa and on the history of the Cold War. With the International History and International Relations departments, IDEAS has pioneered a unique two-year Masters degree in international affairs with the School of International Studies at Peking University, the first European-Asian elite degree of its kind. The centre also works together with other international partners, such as Columbia University, Princeton University, Sciences Po, and the National University of Singapore, in developing new programmes and research initiatives. IDEAS is a centre of PhD training within the LSE and hosts a number of visitors, advanced doctoral students, academics and foreign policy practitioners, from across the globe. The centre has also developed training programmes for foreign service officers from several countries.

LSE IDEAS proudly manages the Executive MSc Diplomacy and International Strategy. The aim of this executive programme is to enhance decision makers’ confidence in their strategic vision on how to address global challenges of the 21st century. The interplay between a wide array of academics, experts, practitioners and experienced participants guarantees vivid debate and candid analysis. Being based within LSE IDEAS, the programme allows participants to profit directly from a wide number of events and reports.

LSE IDEAS organises numerous public lectures and seminars and publishes two journals, two book series and a number of occasional publications. It contributes to the LSE’s Summer Schools in London and in Beijing and organises a number of out-of-term events outside London, in Cambridge, Bologna and elsewhere.

LSE IDEAS holds the Philippe Roman Chair in History and International Affairs, a one-year distinguished visiting professorship for leading scholars based outside the UK. Philippe Roman professors contribute to teaching within the Centre’s key areas of activity. The Philippe Roman Professors for 2007-2012 have been Paul Kennedy (Yale), Chen Jian (Cornell), Gilles Kepel (Sciences Po), Niall Ferguson (Harvard), Ramachandra Guha and Anne Applebaum. The 2013/14 holder of the Chair is Professor Timothy Snyder.

International Security Studies at Yale

International Security Studies (ISS) at Yale was founded in 1988 and is co-directed by Paul M. Kennedy and Adam Tooze. Our unit is supported by the Smith Richardson Foundation, the Jewett Foundation, and the Friends of ISS.  John Lewis Gaddis directs the Brady-Johnson Program in Grand Strategy, which operates under ISS’s auspices.

Although ISS is not a degree-granting program, our faculty members write and teach about numerous aspects of international history and world affairs.  Our interests range from high politics and economic change to cultural transfer and nongovernmental activism.  We are pedagogical pluralists—interested in explaining the genealogy of modern times, and developing holistic, comprehensive ways to think about the twenty-first century.

ISS organizes an array of extracurricular activities each academic year.  We host lectures, dinner debates, conferences, colloquia, and discussion groups.  In addition to publishing a paper series about the historical roots of contemporary issues, we provide competitive summer grants to support language training and archival research for Yale students. Postdoctoral fellowships and predoctoral fellowships are available to scholars from other universities, and for serving members of the U.S. Armed Forces.

International & Global History at Harvard University

Harvard University is a major center for research and teaching in international and global history. Related activities include:

Forums for new research: An annual graduate student conference, which convenes each spring, and a seminar series, which meets several times each term to discuss cutting edge research.

Courses: To explore the courses offered in international & global history, please visit individual faculty pages.

Ph.D. program: International History is a vibrant track within the History Department’s graduate program, typically admitting several new students each year. For current international history graduate students, see here.

International & Global History at Harvard University is supported by the Department of History, the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, and the Charles Warren Center for Studies in American History.

For more information, see http://www.fas.harvard.edu/~int-hist/

Center for Global Studies, George Mason University

The Center for Global Studies (CGS) at George Mason University was founded to promote multidisciplinary research on globalization and international affairs.

CGS is a research center comprising more than 100 associate faculty members whose collective expertise spans the full range of the humanities, the social and natural sciences, and information technology and engineering, as well as practice-oriented fields, such as conflict resolution, public policy, law, management, and health.  CGS also coordinates outreach efforts in the area of global studies, facilitating access to the university’s full range of global expertise for multiple communities and audiences.

Global society in the 21st century is marked by unprecedented levels of interconnectedness and flow. Actors and institutions, old and new, negotiate complex paradoxes of conflict, cooperation, development, and sustainability. Peoples, cultures, commodities, and capital traverse transnational networks, challenging existing models of geography, polity, and market.

Traditional approaches to the study of geopolitics and area studies have become increasingly unable to account for the complexities of global life. The emergence of globalization as a world reality has prompted the development in recent years of new research paradigms and programs that seek to better understand this intense interconnectedness.

CGS multidisciplinary research themes include:

  • Human Rights and Globalization
  • Globalization and Urbanization
  • Globalization and Education
  • and Globalization and Developing Societies

CGS outreach and public education activities include:

  • Collaborative work with universities, think tanks, and research centers
  • Briefings and publications for policy makers and global affairs professionals in both the public and nongovernmental sectors
  • Provision of resources and expertise to local community organizations and schools

The Center for Global Studies is a member of the Globalization Studies Network, an international consortium of university research centers dedicated to the study of globalization.

Learn More at http://cgs.gmu.edu/

CFP: The UN and the Post-War Global Order: Dumbarton Oaks in Perspective after 70 years, SOAS, 17-18 May

H-Net Discussion Networks – CFP: The UN and the Post-War Global Order: Dumbarton Oaks in Perspective after 70 years, SOAS, 17-18 May.

Centre for International Studies and Diplomacy, SOAS, University of London 17-18 May 2014

Two Day Colloquium: Keynote Presentation by Professor Tom Zeiler
(University of Colorado) Author of “Unconditional Defeat – Japan, American and the End of World War II” (2004) and Annihilation: A Global Military History of World War II (Oxford, 2011).

The history of ‘Dumbarton Oaks’ is overshadowed in the formation of the post-war order in many ways; most notably by the San Francisco conference of April 1945 which gave birth to the United Nations Organisation. Yet in a number of important ways it was the Dumbarton Oaks conference, or the “Washington Conversations on International Peace and Security Organization” to give it its full and formal title, that shaped the “postwar international organisation” agreed to in the 1943 Moscow Declaration. On the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the Conversations in the Georgetown suburbs of Washington DC, this colloquium will explore the conference, its antecedents, machinations and legacies.

The deadline for paper (and panel) proposals is 30th March 2014.

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