Tag: Global History

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…

Lecturer Position in Imperial or Global History (University of Exeter)

Our colleagues at the University of Exeter – incidentally home to an excellent blog on imperial and global history – have recently announced a search for a full-time, permanent position as a Lecturer in Imperial or Global History. According to the job advertisement, The successful applicant will hold a PhD (or will have submitted and be awaiting…

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…

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.