Tag: European University Institute

CFP: Europe Between Migrations, Decolonization, and Integration (Florence, January 2018)

The Società italiana per lo studio della storia contemporanea (SISSCO, the Italian Society for the Study of Contemporary History) has been holding a stimulating series of seminars linking the processes of decolonization, postcolonial migration to Europe, and European unity and integration. The series, known as “Europe between migrations, decolonization and integration (1945-1992)” kicked off in Forli…

“International History of Agrarian and Rural Development Policies and Doctrines Since 1950” (Workshop, Florence, Italy, November 10-11, 2015)

TODO REACTIVATE 20140920 Readers of the Toynbee Prize Foundation’s Global History Forum may recall our interview with historian Corinna Unger this past autumn – then based at the Jacobs University in Bremen, but now a Professor at the European University Institute in Florence, Italy. For those interested in Unger’s research agenda on the global history…

CFP: Communicating International Organizations in the 20th Century (European University Institute)

Here’s an upcoming conference that should appeal to readers of the Toynbee Prize Foundation’s Global History blog. From March 10-12, 2016, the European University Institute (EUI) near Florence, Italy will be hosting a conference devoted to the media history of international organizations, broadly conceived. A description of the conference (fuller version here), which is organized by…

From Swadeshi to GDP: Discussing India’s Paths to Development With Corinna Unger

India, or so the geopolitical soothsayers tell us these days, is on the rise. Soon to be the world’s most populous country, since liberalization in the early 1990s, the South Asian giant has seen rates of economic growth that approach China’s. And while regional frozen conflicts like Kashmir, internal guerilla movements, and the decades-long rivalry with nuclear Pakistan do not leave New Delhi with a no-problems neighborhood, India has mostly managed to avoid troubling its neighbors too much. With an aggressively re-assured nationalist Prime Minister in Narendra Modi and with aspirations of, someday, becoming a upper-income country, seeming less far fetched than in a long time, India appears to have escaped the centuries-long reputation of being a place of hunger and famine.

For those days are not far removed. As scholars have shown, not only was the late British period marked by deadly combinations of market forces and climatic event that devastated Indian farmers; as late as 1943, the Bengal Famine wiped out three million people in eastern India. After independence from the British in 1947, independent India’s leaders like Jawaharlal Nehru made it a point to turn the agrarian nation into an industrial country, turning to outside powers like the United States, the Soviet Union, West Germany, and others, to build turnkey steel plants. At the same time, as we have seen in early Toynbee Prize Foundation interviews, agriculture and the transformation of Indian communities formed a crucial arena of developmental politicking, too. India had global significance, too, for not only was it seen as a crucial “swing player” in a Cold War world seen as threatened by a massive Communist Bloc; more than that, the sheer size and scale of the place made it a gigantic laboratory for various models of economic development often first pioneered in the Global North.

Corinna Unger’s “Entwicklungspfade in Indien. Eine internationale Geschichte, 1947-1980”, the focus of this installment of the Global History Forum.  Pictured on the cover of the book is a road-building project in the Punjab in 1958.

Still, as Cold War diplomatic archives have opened their doors only recently–and as historians have also only relatively recently recognized the quest for socioeconomic development as a legitimate object of study–our knowledge of how undeveloped nations became “developed,” or “developed” themselves remains clouded. Until, that is, a book like Corinna Unger’s Entwicklungspfade in Indien. Eine internationale Geschichte (Developmental Paths in India: An International History) appears. In her book, published this year with the Wallstein Verlag, Unger, a Professor of History at the Jacobs University in Bremen, Germany, explores India’s engagement of foreign expertise (especially that of the United States and West Germany) from 1947 to 1980.

More than diving further chronologically into the history of development than many works, Unger’s work sets itself apart from much of the historiography by showing how many macro-narratives of development, like the Green Revolution or the perception of urban slums as spaces of rural-to-urban economic transition, emerged during the years after the romance of steel plants and hydroelectric dams lost its luster. Based on exhaustive research across multiple continents, Unger’s work sheds a light into the international history of development–and into the biography of an Indian state and economy that now looks, less nervously in the past but still not without anxiety, towards “growth,” “modernization,” and “development” as key markers of the nation’s progress. We had the chance recently to sit down with Professor Unger to discuss some of the themes in her recent work–and how she came to it in the first place.…

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.