Tag: Global History

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.

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…

Sven Beckert on the “Empire of Cotton”

Sven Beckert’s Empire of Cotton: it’s one of the most keenly anticipated works of history this year, and you can read an adapted excerpt here at The Atlantic. The Toynbee Prize Foundation will be featuring an in-depth review of the book in weeks to come–we’re busy preparing a number of other Interviews with Global Historians–but readers…

Glenda Sluga (Sydney) To Give Masters Classes in Global History at UCLA in January 2015

An announcement over from our colleagues at the University of Sydney’s Laureate Research Program in International History: over the course of three sessions in January 2015, Professor Glenda Sluga will be giving a three-session workshop on International History and the History of the Human Rights, to be held at the University of California, Los Angeles.…

Toynbee Prize Foundation Trustee Publishes “The History Manifesto”

Toynbee Prize Foundation Trustee David Armitage (Harvard University) has recently authored a short tract with fellow historian of Britain Jo Guildi (Brown),  provocatively titled The History Manifesto. “How should historians speak truth to power–and why does it matter?” ask the authors. Why is five hundred years better than five months or five years as a planning…

Call for Papers: “Trafficking, Smuggling, and Illicit Migration in Historical Perspective”

A group of scholars from the Birkbeck (University of London), Sydney, and Texas Tech have recently announced a conference on the history of trafficking, smuggling, and illicit migration to take place at Birkbeck from June 18-20, 2015 – a great chance for a field that necessarily invokes global themes to coalesce more and for scholars…