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Glenda Sluga (Sydney) To Give Masters Classes in Global History at UCLA in January 2015

An announcement over from our colleagues at the University of Sydney’s Laureate Research Program in International History: over the course of three sessions in January 2015, Professor Glenda Sluga will be giving a three-session workshop on International History and the History of the Human Rights, to be held at the University of California, Los Angeles.…

Professor of International Studies with a Specialization in Global History at Leiden University

The Leiden University Institute for History is seeking applications for  a full professor of International Studies with a specialization in Global History. From the announcement: The successful applicant will especially contribute to the BA / MA programmes in International Studies, and other programs and courses as required. (S)he will hold an appointment at the Leiden University Institute for History…

Assistant Professor in Global History at the Memorial University of Newfoundland

The Department of History at the Memorial University of Newfoundland is seeking applications for an Assistant Professor in Global History which will commence on July 1, 2015. The application deadline is December 15, 2014, and interested applicants should visit the application announcement. From the announcement: Our department currently has a full-time complement of 15 and this…

Peace Without Victory: Adam Tooze on “The Deluge: The Great War, America, and the Remaking of the Global Order 1916-1931”

In case you haven’t noticed, this year marks the 100-year anniversary of the outbreak of the First World War. Visit a bookstore, and you’re likely to be greeted at the entrance by scores of books devoted to explaining how the assassination of Austrian Archduke Ferdinand sparked a European conflagration. Search beyond the piles at the front of the store, and, if you’re lucky, you may even find books that explore the war outside of its European context.

But in a year full of books devoted to the centenary of the war, few works have been so eagerly anticipated as that of historian Adam Tooze, whose The Deluge: The Great War, America, and the Remaking of the Global Order 1916-1931 has recently appeared on bookshelves on both sides of the Atlantic. Tooze has long been well-known to specialists on European economic and intellectual history since his earlier work on statistics and state-making in Germany. To more general readers, however, he may be better known for his 2008 The Wages of Destruction: The Making and Breaking of the Nazi Economy, which secured his reputation as one of the leading historians of German and European history writing today.

Cover image of Adam Tooze's new book, "The Deluge"

Cover image of Adam Tooze’s new book, “The Deluge”

Economic history may have a reputation as dusty, dry, and, well, boring in some quarters today. But in Wages, Tooze showed how an economic history perspective was crucial to understanding Nazi grand strategy and even the origins of the Holocaust itself. More than that, Wages relocated the pivotal place of the United States in the worldview of Adolf Hitler and other leading Nazi figures. As the United States emerged as a qualitatively new force in global affairs, anyone seeking to shape the global order had to draw lessons from the new colossus. Figures like Hitler recognized that “American economic might would be the decisive factor in the shaping of the world order.” More than that, the American challenge was a new political and economic formation on a new scale, “a consolidated federal republic of continental scale, a super-sized nation state” that, thanks to its might and geography, “had a unique claim and capacity to exert global influence.”

The American entrance into European and global affairs really took on full shape concomitant to the First World War–an insight that drives much of The Deluge, and which explains its temporal framing. 1916 was the year when American economic output exceeded that of the British Empire, 1931 the year of Herbert Hoover’s moratorium on war debts. As commentators today question whether we might be entering a “post-American century,” understanding how the American giant burst onto the global scene in the first place is all the more urgent. The Toynbee Prize Foundation had the opportunity to sit down with Tooze recently to discuss his path to history, the book, and his future projects for this installment of Global History Forum.

The Sino-Soviet Split and the Left as Global History: An Interview with Jeremy Friedman

Among the crimes cartographical and otherwise perpetrated by the Mercator projection, the Cold War projection of an Asia dominated by the Soviet Union and the People’s Republic of China numbers among the most egregious. Famous for inflating land areas the further away they were from the Equator, when applied to the world of the early 1950s, the map projection made it seem as if the Communist world was monolithic. The greater part of Asia was covered with red ink, while the freedom-loving (and less cartographically distorted) blue fields of the earth shrunk before the grim crimson blob stretching from Berlin to Vietnam.

Of course, the “Communist world” was never as unified and cohesive as the mapmakers suggested. While the Soviet vision of proletarian workers unifying to overthrow capitalist oppressors and the Maoist vision of peasant armies challenging imperialists from from Hanoi to Havana seemed to march in lockstep to Cold Warriors, by the early 1960s, the two socialist powers came to irreconcilable differences. Soviet advisers were expelled from Beijing as Chinese leaders castigated the Soviets for making peace with the imperialist Americans; Soviet leaders denounced Mao as a revisionist and a nationalist.

But the Sino-Soviet Split, as it is called in English and Russian (“Sino-Soviet Hostility” in Chinese – zhōng sū jiāo’è), had ramifications that went far beyond the oceans of red dye spilled by the Mercator projections. As country after country “the Third World” gained independence, the Soviets and the Chinese were among the few major powers that offered compelling developmental – and historical narratives – to fledgling nations. But what would the meaning of Revolution be in a decolonizing world? Was Revolution really about anti-capitalism, as the Soviets argued? Or was the real essence of Revolution opposition to empire, as their Chinese rivals put forward? How did the Chinese challenge affect the Soviet outreach to the Third World, and vice-versa? And what was the effect of the Sino-Soviet Split on the intellectual repertoire of a global Left?

Jeremy Friedman, whose work forms the basis of this latest installment of the Global History Forum. Image courtesy of Yale University Office of Public Affairs and Communications

Jeremy Friedman, whose work forms the basis of this latest installment of the Global History Forum. Image courtesy of Yale University Office of Public Affairs and Communications

These are among just some of the questions at the heart of the work of Dr. Jeremy Friedman, our guest in this latest installment of the Global History Forum. Friedman, the Associate Director of the Brady-Johnson Program in Grand Strategy at Yale University, is the author of the forthcoming Shadow Cold War, scheduled to appear with the University of North Carolina Press next year, in 2015. Global History Forum spoke with Jeremy recently to discuss his intellectual journey thus far, the book, and a forthcoming project on the history of the Third World.

New Atlas of Global History Institutions

Followers of the Toynbee Prize Foundation will recall that we unveiled this current version of our website this autumn after extensive revision and collaboration with the fantastic staff at George Mason University’s Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media. Along with that re-design has come new features, like our periodical Interviews with Global Historians.

As we continue to expand the site’s functionality, we’re happy to announce a new page–an “atlas” of global history institutions that you can either find here or via the drop-down menu under “Participate,” in the top-right hand corner of your browser window.

Conference Report: “Development and Underdevelopment in Postwar Europe” (Columbia University)

It’s no secret that one of the most booming sub-disciplines in international and global history today is the history of development–the interaction of the rich world with the poor world before (but especially after) empire, in the hopes that poor societies could be “developed” into something better. Works like Michael Latham’s Modernization as Ideology, Nick Cullather’s The Hungry World, and Matthew Connelley’s Fatal Misconception have explored aspects of this story from the lens of U.S. foreign policy, food aid, and population control, respectively, and works on development from non-American perspectives (the Soviet Union or Yugoslavia) or new themes, like smallpox control, seem to be sprouting up every day.

A recent conference hosted by the Heyman Center for the Humanities at Columbia University and organized by Professors Michele Alacevich (Loyola), Sandrine Kott (Geneva), and Mark Mazower (Columbia) sought to shake up the conversation surrounding development. Here follows a short round-up of the conference–summaries of the eight or so papers presented, plus the keynote address delivered by historian Adam Tooze, soon to be a guest himself on the Global History Forum.

Empire of the Air, Empire of the Earth: American History in a Global Context with Jenifer van Vleck

Scan through recent headlines, and it will quickly become clear how much modern societies and international politics revolve around the airplane. During the ongoing Ebola crisis, national health authorities–even those for countries whose flag carriers didn’t run direct flights to West Africa–have panicked over the possibility of a rogue infected passenger contemning whole countries during a fluke layover. Meanwhile, the American military continues to conduct its counter-terrorism policy in Central Asia and the Middle East in large part through strikes from drones. Try boarding an airplane bound to the United States with stamps from countries in those regions in your passport, and it’s likely that your ticket will be stamped with a mysterious “SSSS”–a sign that you’ve been singled out as a security risk, a putative airborne threat that has to be scanned before even boarding a flight from, say, Frankfurt to the United States. Whether governments today think about protecting the nation at home (as with Ebola) or abroad (air strikes as foreign policy), it’s clear that our notions of security have become linked with a logic of the air that goes beyond the boundaries of the nation-state.

It all seems like a far cry from the supposed heyday of air travel–glamorous flight attendants, supersonic travel, and the possibility of a seamlessly connected world that a look at the departures board from a major airport today can still awaken. But even if the structures of airspace in the early 21st century invoke more pessimism than inspiration, it bears asking how things got so bad in the first place. It demands, in short, history. Visions of what how travel through the skies could be–and the relationship of states and empires to the air–have a deep history that demands scrutinizing. Indeed, with airline alliances touting themselves as “One World,” it’s especially worthwhile for scholars interested in global history to do that kind of work.

Fortunately, our latest interviewee for the Global History Forum, Jenifer Van Vleck, explains much of this back story in her recent Empire of the Air: Aviation and the American Ascendancy, published recently by Harvard University Press. Van Vleck, an Assistant Professor of History and American Studies at Yale University, devoted years to scouring through the archives of Pan American World Airways (Pan Am) and numerous government and Presidential Archives to tell the story of a corporation–and an industry–that reveals much about the shape of American corporate globalism and American empire. The Global History Forum was delighted to sit down with her this summer to discuss her intellectual journey, Empire of the Air, and her upcoming work in the history of technology and American foreign relations.

Harvard Magazine Article Explores Global History Today

Followers of the Toynbee Prize Foundation’s activities will be interested to know that there’s an excellent in-depth feature article in Harvard Magazine–an independent journal founded by Crimson alumni–covering the state of global history today, at least through the lens of activities in Cambridge. The piece covers the work of several global historians today: Sven Beckert and…

Call for Applications: Global Humanitarianism Research Academy

We’re pleased to re-post a recent call for applications from the Global Humanitarianism Research Academy (GHRA), a wonderful opportunity for both PhDs and early post-docs working on the history of humanitarianism to get together for two weeks in Mainz (Germany) and Geneva to share their work and discuss research agendas and publishing strategies. The GHRA,…