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Associate Professor or Full Professor, World History – University of Pittsburgh

At the University of Pittsburgh, the Department of History has announced a search for an Associate or Full Professor position with a specialization in World History. The announcement explains further: The Department of History at the University of Pittsburgh seeks applicants for a tenured position in World History at the level of advanced Associate Professor or…

Monoglot Empire: Tracing the Journey from Scientific Babel to Global English with Michael Gordin

If you can read this, you read English. That might not seem like such a big accomplishment–perhaps English is your mother tongue, or maybe as a consumer of historical scholarship you merely took it for granted that developing an excellent level of English comprehension was a requirement for the job. Seen in historical perspective, however, the linguistic landscape that makes it common sense for you to read this blog post–and not, say, one in Portuguese or Persian–is quite unusual. We live in a monoglot world of science and scholarship today, but for much of the historical record, the case was the opposite, as Russians struggled to learn French and Englishmen apologized for their poor German, even as a functional command of three or four languages was necessary merely to access everything published.

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Michael Gordin’s latest book, “Scientific Babel: How Science Was Done Before and After Global English”

Making things more bewildering, however, we have lived in a monoglot world before–one, however, dominated by Latin and not the West Germanic language so many of us now call our own. Not only that, the English that has succeeded as the uniform standard has, as any non-native speaker can tell you, plenty of confusing features: phonemic polyvocality (“stiff,” “stuff,” and “staff” denote very different things), and plenty of irregular verbs (“freeze” in the past is “froze,” not “freezed,” for example). So why didn’t something more logical and, perhaps more importantly, not ethnic–something not already spoken by the English–win out? Why didn’t a more accessible constructed language, like Esperanto, succeed? How did this tectonic shift happen? How did we move from linguistic chaos to seemingly greater uniformity?

These are some of the questions taken up by Michael Gordin, Rosengarten Professor of Modern and Contemporary History at Princeton University, in his latest book, Scientific Babel: How Science Was Done Before and After Global English, published earlier this year by the University of Chicago Press. While Gordin’s first monograph concerned itself with Dmitry Mendeleev (inventor of the periodic table), readers may also be familiar with his two books on the history of the of the atomic bomb, or his more recent volume on self-proclaimed cosmologist Immanuel Velikovsky and twentieth-century debates over standards of science and pseudoscience. In Scientific Babel, Gordin shows off his ability not only to digest complex scientific prose–in Russian, German, and French, in addition to his native English–but also to connect issues in the history of science with global trends in the modern period. That makes his work one of the most exciting things going in scholarship on the history of science today. It also makes him our guest in this, our first science-directed edition of the Global History Forum.…

Assistant Professor in Global Humanities for the 21st Century, San Diego State University

Here’s an intriguing position for historians whose work involves (ideally) a global and digital bent, especially for those working outside of North American or European history. From the recent advertisement from San Diego State University: San Diego State University’s Department of Classics and Humanities invites applications for a new tenure-track position at the rank of…

“All Things Transregional” Interview with Sebastian Conrad (Freie Universität Berlin)

Over at the blog Transregionale Forschung (“Transregional Research”), jointly run by the Berlin-based Forum Trasnsregionale Studien and the Max-Weber-Stiftung, a new interview project has launched, featuring conversations with historians working with a trans-regional or trans-national methodology. The first guest to the feature, “All Things Transregional,” is Sebastian Conrad, Professor for Global History at the Freie Universität zu Berlin. One…

“Humanist Among Machines”: Arnold J. Toynbee, Technology, and the Humanities

Over at Aeon, a British-based online magazine, Stanford historian Ian P. Beacock offers his take on scholars today might take from the legacy of Arnold J. Toynbee–namely, an anthropologist’s curiosity towards the world outside of the ivory tower and a dispassionate, critical attitude towards the application of technology towards the humanities. “We’re optimistic,” writes Beacock, that…

Soccer as a Global Phenomenon (Harvard University, April 14-16, 2016)

In light of the recent FIFA scandals exposing the global interconnections of soccer (football, for non-North Americans), here’s an appropriately-timed call for papers from our colleagues at Harvard University’s Weatherhead Initiative on Global History for a conference–taking place from April 14-16, 2016–that promises to cast light on the global history of “the beautiful game”: Soccer is the most global of games and…

Assistant Professorship in Global and Transnational History, University of Waterloo

As the fall season approaches, more and more job openings are being posted–not least in the field of global and transnational history. The latest opportunity comes from the University of Waterloo (in Ontario, Canada, about an hour-and-a-half west of Toronto), with a call for applications as follows: The Department of History in the Faculty of…

Machine-Made History: Parsing the Most Important Events of the Global 1970s

Over at the blog of the History Lab–an endeavor led by Columbia University historian Matthew Connelly and statistician David Madigan “to use data science to recover and repair the fabric of the past”–there is a recent fascinating blog post that applies statistical analysis to 1.7 million U.S. diplomatic cables from 1973-1977 (the years the State Department…

Call for Papers: Transnational and Global Histories of Latin America’s Revolutionary Left

Here’s an interesting call for papers for not one, but two conferences on Latin American history in a global context, both organized by LSE’s Tanya Harmer and Alberto Martín Álvarez of the Instituto Mora in Mexico City.

A long description of both conferences follows; interested applicants should be aware that the deadline for applying is July 3, 2015, with a one page proposal in either Spanish or English and a brief academic CV, sent either to Harmer (t.harmer@lse.ac.uk) or  Álvarez (amartin@mora.edu.mx).

The LSE and the Instituto Mora are issuing calls for papers for two related international workshops that they are organising in 2016.  Funded by the British Academy’s Newton Mobility Fund, taking advantage of combined research expertise at both institutions, and linked to the established New Left Network led by Alberto Martín Álvarez and Eduardo Rey, the workshops aim to explore different perspectives on Latin America’s Revolutionary Left.

Although both workshops are part of the same broader project to examine global and transnational histories of Latin America’s Revolutionary Left (otherwise known as the New Left of the Armed Left), it is anticipated that proposals will be made to one workshop or the other rather than both. Details of the workshops and the themes they wish to explore are as follows: