Tag: Global History

Assistant Professor in History (Transnational/Global), New Jersey City University

For those readers of the Toynbee Prize Foundation’s electronic offerings looking for jobs in North America, here’s a recent call for applications at New Jersey City University – in Jersey City, NJ, just across the river from New York. The call for applications explains more: The History Program invites applications for a tenure-track faculty appointment…

Global History as Past and Future: A Conversation with Sebastian Conrad on “What Is Global History?”

It’s a common question that teachers of global history face. We belong to one of the most quickly-moving, contested, and changing subfields within the historical profession, and the travel schedules on many of our dockets—Istanbul one week, Tokyo the next—make our colleagues who slave away in the same provincial state archive blush. The years spent learning foreign languages begin to pay off, as one can not only read the newspaper but also foreign colleagues’ peer review comments on an article scheduled for publication in this or that journal. Life, it seems, is good.

But when it comes time to teach global history as a field, one hesitates. For audiences of graduate students, of course, it’s possible to follow the tactic of assigning a pile of monographs bringing global history perspectives to different regions of the planet: China the one week, the Gambia the next. But how to put it all together into one common language that speaks to the Americanists and the East Asianists in one seminar? Worse yet: how to teach this all to undergraduate audiences for whom the monograph approach would incite revolt?

Sebastian Conrad's "What Is Global History" (Princeton University Press, 2016), the subject of this latest installment of the Global History Forum

Sebastian Conrad’s “What Is Global History” (Princeton University Press, 2016), the subject of this latest installment of the Global History Forum

Fortunately, as we’ve noted in earlier installments of the Global History Forum, scholars of global history who formerly had to throw their hands up in response to this dilemma increasingly have at their disposal an array of good introductory works to the field. One might only think of the work of Diego Olstein, for a recent work in just this niche in English, or, for German-speaking audiences, a 2011 book that fills the same need by Austrian economic historian (and former TPF interviewee) Andrea Komlosy. At the field grows and becomes more sophisticated, though, so, too, are the options for introductory texts expanding. One of such works constitutes the focus of this installment of the Global History Forum, namely the aptly-titled What Is Global History? (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2016) by Professor Sebastian Conrad, the Chair in Modern History at the Free University of Berlin.

Billed as a “problem-oriented” approach to global history that provides much-needed criticism and pauses alongside enthusiasm, Conrad’s What Is Global History? appears at just the right time for a field in much need of explaining itself to students—and to critically interrogating its own limits. Recently, Toynbee Prize Foundation Executive Director Timothy Nunan had the chance to speak with Professor Conrad to discuss his recent book and what he sees as the biggest challenges facing the field as it matures and grows in years ahead.…

CFP: “Environment, Society, and the Making of the Modern World: The History and Legacy of the UN Conference on the Human Environment” (Stockholm, Sweden, December 2016)

Here’s an exciting upcoming conference that we’ve caught at the last minute – the deadline for submissions is tomorrow! Professors Glenda Sluga (Sydney),  Sverker Sörlin (KTH Stockholm), and Paul Warde (Cambridge) are organizing a conference titled “Environment, Society, and the Making of the Modern World: The History and Legacy of the UN Conference on the Human…

Harvard Graduate Student Conference on International History (CON-IH)

Fresh off our recent announcement about Tufts University’s upcoming graduate student international and global history conference, we’re pleased to post another recent call for papers from one of the other international history centers in the Boston area, namely the Harvard Graduate Student Conference on International History (Con-IH 16), slated to take place on March 10-11,…

“What’s New in Global History Approaches?” – A Discussion with Indra Sengupta and Andreas Eckert

Over at the blog of TRAFO, the Blog for Transnational Research, there’s a new fascinating hour-long conversation between Professor Andreas Eckert of the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin and Indra Sengupta, an Academic Coordinator of the Transnational Research Group of the German Historical Institute in London. The video discussion (in the German language) touches on a number of fascinating…

Endowed Chair, Andrew W. Mellon Professor (University of Pittsburgh)

Following on our recent interview with Pittsburgh’s Diego Olstein for the Global History Forum, here’s a recent advertisement for an Endowed Chair at Pitt: The University of Pittsburgh invites applications for an endowed chair, the Andrew W. Mellon Professor of History. The appointment will begin with the fall term 2016 or as soon as possible thereafter, pending…

A Global History Primer: Discussing “Thinking History Globally” with Diego Olstein

As you read this post in the summer of 2015, the discipline of history is decades into a global turn. Rare is the historian whose work does not aim, or at least claim, to transcend boundaries national, regional, or linguistic. The days of “methodological nationalism” appear to be behind us, then, but the specifics of how we do what comes next are not always clear. True, a booming literature guides us through the ins and outs of different approaches: world, global, trans-national histories; histories of familiar nationally-defined units as a “nation among nations,” or histories that go beyond the chronological boundaries within which nations or linguistic communities have historically existed. But where is the professional historian–or, more commonly, the student–to go if she wants to grasp the full “menu”of possibilities that the global turn brings to historians as a whole? Until recently, teachers had few such resources.

“Thinking History Globally,” the most recent book by recent TPF Global History Forum guest Diego Olstein (University of Pittsburgh)

Until recently, that is, thanks to a welcome recent book by the University of Pittsburgh’s Diego Olstein, an Associate Professor in the Department since 2011 and the author of Thinking History Globally, published this spring by Palgrave MacMillan. In the book, Olstein, a specialist on medieval Spain and world history, outlines the many ways in which historians today compare, connect, conceptualize and contextualize their subjects beyond pre-existing boundaries of national communities, linguistic boundaries, or pre-defined regions. No mere encyclopedia of global history approaches–Olstein limits his bestiary to twelve kinds–Thinking History Globally also provides readers with applied examples of how these approaches and cognitive patterns might actually be applied to different subjects. More than an entertaining read, the book is thus of great use for the professor or TA confronted with the question of, for example, what it actually means to write the First World War “in a global context.”

No mere bookworm, however, Olstein and his journey to the field at all remind us of the ways in which historians’ lives and careers today are themselves the product of global networks and the trans-national receptions of historical experiences. In Olstein’s case in particular, this means a journey through the worlds of the Jewish diaspora in authoritarian Argentina, the intellectual horizons offered by Israeli academia, the experiences of researching medieval Spain, and, finally, Olstein’s current home, Pittsburgh. Let us follow Olstein’s own global intellectual journey before diving into his most useful recent work, Thinking History Globally.…

“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…

Two Doctoral Student/Wissenschaftliche Mitarbeiter Positions in Latin American History, Global History at Freie Universität Berlin

Another opportunity in Berlin, courtesy of our colleagues at the Friedrich-Meinecke-Institut of the Freie Universität Berlin. “The Department of History,” notes a recent application, invites applications for two positions (50%) for Doctoral Students / Research and Teaching Associates (Wissenschaftliche Mitarbeiter) in Global and in Latin American History, commencing September 1, 2015. These are half-time (50% of…

Sir Christopher Bayly (1945-2015)

The Toynbee Prize Foundation mourns the recent and unexpected passing of Professor Sir Christopher Bayly, the leading historian of India and the British Empire and a pioneer in the field of global history. As a recent obituary by Richard Drayton explains, Bayly made prodigious contributions to the field of South Asian history, and his The Birth of…