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Assistant/Associate Professor in World and Global History, University of Macau

The University of Macau has advertised a tenure-track position for an Assistant or Associate Professor of World and Global History, expected to begin in August 2015. “Applicants,” the call explains, Applicants should have a PhD in hand by the time of employment and some teaching experience, and should specialize in one or more of the following research and teaching…

Of Nation-States and the United States: An Interview with Ryan Irwin

It’s hard to escape the conclusion today that writing about American decline is a growth industry. For at least the last decade, pundits have spoken of a “post-American century” in which, China, the BRICS, or the “Next Eleven” will constitute an alternative power center to Washington. Scanning global headlines, whether it’s the recently published The Governance of China (a collection of speeches on global governance by Chinese General Secretary Xi Jiping), Vladimir Putin’s assertion of a “Russian world” or the inauguration of the Eurasian Union, or Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s pretensions to lead the Muslim World against an alleged upswell in anti-Islamic attitudes launched by Europe, the world does not lack today for leaders of global and regional powers claiming to articulate a post-American moment. Conversely, in the United States itself, neoconservatives like Robert Kagan argue that “superpowers don’t get to retire“–that the United States must re-assert itself globally around the world to respond to challengers like China, Russia, or Turkey.

Lost, however, in all of the debates about new powers or the reinvention of old ones is what exactly the American project stood for in the first place. What do we mean when we talk about a “post-American world”? About an international system of rules and practices anchored by Washington? True, look to the writings of pundits like Walter Russell Mead or Thomas Friedman, and you can find some articulation of this vision. Even then, however, it’s difficult to understand the roots of our current global system of economic and financial globalization secured by overwhelming American military might and the embedding of American power into alliance systems in Europe, East Asia, and the Middle East. How did America, “the most belated of all nations” (Theodore Roosevelt), come to occupy such a dominating position in the international system? Why did American élites come to favor this style of internationalism, as opposed to flat-out imperialism and annexation of territory? Assuming this system is actually coming to an end today, challenged by the emergence of a multipolar world system, why didn’t the whole house come crashing down when faced with the Soviet challenge, the explosion in the number of sovereign nation-states through decolonization, or the collapse of Bretton Woods?

In short, understanding the present and future of American internationalism requires understanding its past–not only through the lens of America, moreover, but understanding how the American project interacted with exogenous shifts and shocks to the international system, too–the ebb and flow of German, then Russian power, or decolonization, for example.

Ryan Irwin, our latest guest to the Global History Forum

It’s for this reason that the work of Ryan Irwin, our latest guest to the Global History Forum, is so valuable. Irwin, an Assistant Professor of History at SUNY-Albany, writes on the United States in the world, but from an international perspective that makes his work unusual. As comfortable in U.S. national archives as in those of the United Nations–or South Africa, Irwin seeks to understand the trajectory of American power as it interacted with an international order of its making, but not always under its control. We were delighted, then, to sit down with him this winter to discuss his evolution as a historian, his early work, and his ongoing projects.

University of Pittsburgh, Postdoctoral Fellowship in World History

Our colleagues at the University of Pittsburgh have advertised a neat post-doctoral position in World History that should attract readers of the Global History Forum and Global History Blog. “The World History Center and the Department of History seek applicants,” the advertisement notes, for a one-year postdoctoral fellowship in world history beginning fall 2015, with the option…

Call for Papers: “The Global Public: Its Power and Its Limits” (German Historical Institute, London)

Our friends at the German Historical Institute in London are organizing a conference this coming autumn that will surely interest followers of the Toynbee Prize Foundation. Entitled “The Global Public: Its Power and Its Limits,” the conference, taking place from October 22-24, 2015 and organized by Valeska Huber (GHI London) and Jürgen Osterhammel (Koblenz), will explore theories and…

Dipesh Chakrabarty, “From Globalization to Global Warming: A Historiographical Transition”

The 2014 Toynbee Prize Lecture was delivered by Dipesh Chakrabarty (University of Chicago) on Saturday, January 3, 2015, at the 2015 American Historical Association Annual Meeting. In his lecture, entitled “From Globalization to Global Warming: A Historiographical Transition,” Professor Chakrabarty offers his reflections on the field of global history today. Prior to the talk, recorded…

Toynbee Prize Lecture at the 2015 AHA

Visitors to this year’s American Historical Association Annual Meeting in New York City are reminded of the Toynbee Prize Lecture taking place at this year’s conference. At 2:30 pm on Saturday, January 3, in the Central Park East room at the Sheraton New York (811 Seventh Avenue), the Foundation will be awarding the Toynbee Prize to Professor Dipesh Chakrabarty…

Immigrants, Railroads, America, Germany: An Interview with Julío Robert Decker

People often ask scholars of history what, exactly, the discipline constitutes–what its unique methodologies are, what precisely its subject of study is, and what contemporary questions it offers to clarify. As our recent Global History Forum interviews have shown, one of the joys of the field is that it rejects the reassuring but often illusory national containers of traditional historiography, and that, precisely by doing so, it can help us, a twenty-first century readership, understand problems that exceed the boundaries of the nation.

Look through the headlines today, or follow the reception of recent works in the field, and potential points of intervention and debates already launched are everywhere. In the United States, for example, President Barack Obama’s November decision to grant “deportation relief” to millions of illegal immigrants has revived a heated debate about American identity and obligation. From all across the political spectrum, commentators and activists put forward arguments about the role race does, does not, should, or should not play in American identity. The argument that many illegal immigrants have entered the country unfairly while tens of thousands of more “deserving” non-Latin American immigrants wait in line raises all sorts of questions about the shifting moral sentiments towards Latinos, Asians, and Europeans as “good” and “bad” future Americans. Even the counter-use of the the term “undocumented immigrant” as a term opposed to the more judgmental “illegal immigrant” reminds us of the entire regime of documentation that accompanies the immigration process in America today.

Julio Robert Decker, feature of our latest Interview with Global Historians

Julio Robert Decker, feature of our latest Interview with Global Historians

As global history at its best–and our guest to this edition of Global History Forum–reminds us, however, debates like these have a long history. More than that, debates like these are also inevitably entangled in networks of ideas that go beyond the nation-state itself. In his work to date, historian Robert Julio Decker, a scholar at the Technical University in Darmstadt, has explored the history of immigration regimes, while his future work promises to contribute the exploding literature on the history of capitalism. Speaking with him earlier this year during his tenure as a fellow at Harvard University, we discuss his path to global history, his early work, and his ongoing research on the global history of capitalism in the United States and the German Empire.

Apply to Be an Global History Blog Editor-At-Large!

The Toynbee Prize Foundation (TPF) invites applications for Editors-at-Large for its Global History Blog. Through its website, TPF promotes both long-form interviews and articles on the field of global history produced by TPF’s Executive Director as well as shorter-form material that is nonetheless of interest to audiences interested in developments in the field: job postings,…

PhD Scholarship in International History at the University of Geneva

The Department of General History and the Global Studies Institute at the University of Geneva have made the following announcement for a PhD scholarship in Contemporary History with an application deadline of January 5, 2015. The call for applications, issued in French, reads as follows: Le Département d’histoire générale et le Global Studies Institute de l’Université…

Two New Global History Jobs

In the middle of job market season, two recent postings may interest readers. At Exeter College (a constituent College at the University of Oxford), the Bennett Boskey Fellowship in Extra-European History Since 1500 offers a 36-month post-doctoral fellowship among the dreaming spires. “The position,” notes the announcement, will be for a period of 36 months (subject…