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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.

Lecturer Position in International History (King’s College London)

As our recent posts suggest, it’s an exciting job market season for UK positions in international and global history. It’s about to get even more exciting, as our colleagues at King’s College London have recently advertised a Lecturer position in Twentieth-Century International History, tenable from September 1, 2015.  This is a great opportunity for historians interested in modern…

Political Economy of the World System Conference (PEWS) in Berlin, Germany

Followers of global history in the German capital, or simply those interested in one of the most venerable traditions of global history, will be interested to know that the 39th Annual Conference on the Political Economy of the World System will be taking place this March 19–21, 2015, at the Institute for Latin American Studies of  the Free…

2015 Harvard International History Conference – “Transitions: States and Empires in the Longue Durée”

Our colleagues at Harvard have announced the schedule for this year’s Harvard Graduate Student Conference on international history, taking place this March 12-13, 2015 in Cambridge, Massachusetts (USA). In addition to stimulating presentations by graduate students around the world, the conference features a public keynote address by NYU’s Jane Burbank, “Escaping Empire, Escaping Europe? History and Historians…

Job in International History at the University of Sheffield

Here’s another good job posting: our colleagues at the University of Sheffield have advertised a position for a Senior Lecturer or Reader in International History, with a starting date of this September. (For those unfamiliar with the British academic system, a Senior Lecturer or Reader position is roughly equivalent to an Associate Professor position in a…

Samuel Moyn & Andrew Sartori on Global Intellectual History

Over at one of our favorite blogs, the Imperial and Global Forum run by the Centre for Imperial and Global History at the University of Exeter, Professors Samuel Moyn (Harvard) and Andrew Sartori (NYU) have authored a useful contribution to discussions about the future of global intellectual history. In their piece, “What is Global Intellectual History –…

Summer School in Comparative and Transnational History: Theories, Methodology and Case Studies (September 2015)

Our colleagues at the European University Institute in Florence have recently announced what looks to be an exciting summer school in Transnational and Comparative History. Taking place from September 14-17, 2015 and targeted at graduate students (up until their last year of enrollment), the Summer School pitches itself as a forum to participate in seminars with faculty from the European University Institute, visit the Library and Archives of the European Union and, of course, meet other practitioners. The announcement explains further:

Are you dissatisfied with the study of national history? Do you want to widen your historical horizons? If so the tenth EUI Summer School in Transnational and Comparative History is for you. It will take place in September 2015 in the historic Villa Schifanoia set in beautiful gardens overlooking Florence.

Thinking Big … and Small About U.S. History in a Global Context with Daniel Immerwahr

Whether they know it or not, Americans are a people ruled by community organizers, indeed fascinated by them. Barack Obama, many will know, worked as a community organizer in Chicago for three years in the late 1980s, while former Secretary of State and 2016 Presidential hopeful Hilary Clinton wrote her thesis on the community organizer Saul Alinsky. The current slate of potential Republican challengers may not boast quite the same communitarian credentials – Scott Walker was a Boy Scout and Bobby Jindal a volunteer at LSU football games – but the once-touted David Petraeus was, of course, famous as a master of counterinsurgency strategy in Iraq and Afghanistan, a man who (prior to his resignation as CIA Director) was famed to have mastered the community scale as the proper war against Iraqi rebels and the Taliban. Fittingly for a nation that supposedly bowls alone, Americans are obsessed with community – what it was, how to get it back, indeed, how to develop it.

Daniel Immerwahr, assistant professor of History at Northwestern University and our most recent guest to the Global History Forum

Daniel Immerwahr, assistant professor of History at Northwestern University and our most recent guest to the Global History Forum

As our most recent guest to the Global History Forum, Daniel Immerwahr, shows, this American fascination with community is not some recent invention. Indeed, even as the scholarly literature on the United States in the world these days is in the midst of a focus on development in the Third World, typically the term (“development”) means heavy infrastructure. “Dams are the temples of modern India,” said post-independence Indian leader Jawaharlal Nehru, and the same could be said of the 21st century historiography of the United States in a global context. Yet as Immerwahr, an assistant professor of history at Northwestern University, shows in his recent book Thinking Small: The United States and the Lure of Community Development, this dream of large-scale development was always accompanied by a parallel drive to use the small scale – the group scale – of community development as a tool to guide Third World societies away from the temptations of Moscow and Beijing.

How did we forget this story? Given the prominence that the historiography today tends to assign to dams, power plants, and railroads, why did we lose the focus on community in America’s outreach to the world? Most importantly, given that community development’s accomplishments in both the Third World and in America itself are so ambiguous, why do Americans remained fascinated with it as a panacea for poverty? These are precisely the questions that were in our mind when we had the chance to speak with Professor Immerwahr about his latest work and his forthcoming projects on American international history.…

Call for Papers: “The Transformation of Global History, 1963-1975” (Princeton University, October 2015)

Here’s an intriguing call for papers for a conference on global history – on the history of the discipline rather than papers exhibiting global or transnational approaches per se – taking place at Princeton University this October 9-10, 2015. Historical scholarship underwent a transformative period between 1963 and 1975. From insightful thinkers as William McNeill, Fernand Braudel, Immanuel Wallerstein, Alfred Crosby, Sidney…

Down Under, Transnational, Global: Exploring Russian and Soviet History with Philippa Hetherington

The Black Sea is in the news for all of the wrong reasons these days. Whether it’s the Russian annexation of Crimea, uncertainty surrounding the outcome of parliamentary elections in Moldova, or the breakdown of Moscow’s plans to conduct a natural gas pipeline to Europe via the Balkans, these former Tsarist borderlands (and shores) have become an object of geopolitical intrigue that few would have predicted only a year or two ago.

Lost among fears of a revived Cold War is another ongoing crisis in the region: namely, sex trafficking, or what earlier generations would have known as “the traffic in women.” Even as countries like Russia are some of the largest destination for immigrants from other parts of the former Soviet Union, Moscow’s former western borderlands–Ukraine and especially Moldova–constitute some of the largest “exporters” of women into the international sex trade. Sold into criminal gangs as “white” women, women from these countries may find themselves trafficked to brothels in Russia, Turkey, Israel, the UAE, or other destinations. For countries like Ukraine and Moldova, where per-capita income is the same as in Sudan, human traffickers find ideal conditions, helping make human trafficking the third most lucrative criminal enterprise in the world, according to the United Nations.

The human trafficking crisis may be forgotten in the light of the region’s other ongoing problems, but like disputes over Ukraine’s place between Europe and Russia or the geopolitics of energy, it, too, has a history. Indeed, perhaps obviously more so than these other two regional problems, the history of “the traffic in women” has obviously global dimensions. Women kidnapped from Chisinau, Kiev, or Minsk may belong to individual nation-states, but the networks that disappear them–and the states and international agencies that sometimes seek to rescue them–are engaged in a battle that takes place above, over, and through the lines on a map. But more than simply reifying all-too-frequent panics over sex trafficking, global history scholarship on the history of sex trafficking must not ignore larger dimensions of racial hierarchy or global migration writ large.

Philippa Hetherington, our latest guest to the Global History Forum

Philippa Hetherington, our latest guest to the Global History Forum

Such nuances lie at the heart of the work of the latest guest to the Global History Forum, Philippa Hetherington. In her work, the recent Harvard PhD explores the emergence of “trafficking in women” as a specific crime in fin-de-siècle Russia, arguing that the legal battle against sex trafficking needs to be understood in terms of larger, global dynamics not unique to just Russia. Working at the intersections of Russian and global history, Philippa recently took time out from her current post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Sydney in her native Australia to speak about her work.…