Tag: Transnational History

Writing Global Ecological History ‘From Below’: An Interview with Gregory Cushman

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Greg Cushman, Associate Professor of International Environmental History, University of Kansas.  Photo: Brian Hamilton 

To further our understanding of the development of industrial capitalism over the past two centuries Greg Cushman claims, we need to write histories ‘from below,’ in two senses: first, we need to write histories that consider not just those who ‘invented the steam engine’, but those which trace the origins of the steam engine’s parts (material and intellectual) wherever across the globe that leads us – often far beyond the ‘Global North’. Second, we need to investigate our planetary history below the earth’s surface. Lithospheric history Cushman calls it. That entails researching the history of rock and mineral extraction from the lithosphere and tracking the movement, use, transformation and impact of those materials upon humanity and the earth’s environment over millennia. He also claims that it entails taking elemental history seriously, that is, historicising the relationship between humankind’s understanding of the extraction and application of a chemical element or compound upon the earth’s environment. These trajectories are big and bold and they challenge forms of disciplinary knowledge historians presume they should master, but they’re exactly the type of interdisciplinary lines of enquiry that Cushman has been pursuing since his days as a doctoral student at the University of Texas, Austin.

Postdoctoral Fellowship: The Buffett Institute, Northwestern University

For those readers of the Global History Blog looking for a post-doctoral fellowship, here’s the good opportunity on global, transnational and international studies. The Buffett Institute for Global Studies of Northwestern University has announced two-year postdoctoral fellowship application on any range of social science. The call for applications explains more: About this fellowship The Buffett Institute…

CFP: Rethinking Power in Global and Transnational History (Fundação Getulio Vargas, Rio de Janeiro)

For those interested in global and transnational history Revista Brasileira de Política Internacional (RBPI) is calling for contributions to a special issue titled “Rethinking Power in Global and Transnational History.” This issue will be devoted to the analysis of power in broad fields such as diplomacy, economy, gender, ethnicity, culture, science, governance.  The call for…

Conference Report: Fifth Congress of the European Network in Universal and Global History, August 31-Sept 3, 2017

Written by Stefan Huebner (National University of Singapore)

Click here for a copy of the programme.

2017 is a European Network in Universal and Global History (ENIUGH) year. The ancient Olympic Games took place every fourth year and lasted for more than a millennium. The triennial ENIUGH congress is younger, but already a very well-established event that has an important impact on the travel schedules of academics interested in global, world, and transnational history. When ENIUGH 5 concluded, about 600-650 scholars had presented their research in more than 150 panels, which was slightly less than the 700-750 participants in Paris (2014), but more than in London (2011). Not a record, but a very substantial demonstration of academic interest in the event.

2017 is also the year that marks the centennial of the Russian Revolution. Considering the long-lasting global implications of that event, it was no surprise that the organizers chose the theme of “Ruptures, Empires and Revolutions” for this year’s ENIUGH. While this theme left panel organizers sufficient space to find their own ways of reflecting on such phenomena, the plenary events corresponded to the organizers’ intention of including more scholars from or working on Central/Eastern Europe and the Middle East. The keynote address, given by Tamás Krausz (Budapest), reflected on Lenin and global history, while the first plenary roundtable, organized by Attila Melegh (Budapest), addressed the connections between socialism and global history. The second plenary roundtable on “Revolution and Religion”, prepared by Nadia Al-Bagdadi (Budapest), was the event that most obviously involved the study of the Middle East. Such thematic and geographical accentuations need to be seen in light of the fact that plenary events at the last Congress (Paris 2014) featured mostly French and African academics. It is without question desirable to use ENIUGH’s venue rotation system and shifting regional foci in plenary events to communicate to academics from Europe and all over the world that they are welcome. Long term impacts are difficult to measure, but in the case of French academia, which can be very skeptical of English language events, paging through the program (admittedly a problematic quantitative method) showed that scholars from a variety of French institutions were again present – not as many as in Paris, but there seems to have been a positive impact.

Gerald D. Feldman Travel Grants for Transnational Study

Advanced PhD students working on transnational/transregional topics may be interested in applying for a Gerald D. Feldman travel grant. Areas for study include: China, Egypt, France, Germany, Great Britain, India, Israel, Italy, Japan, Lebanon, Poland, Russia, Senegal, Turkey, USA. The supporting institutions explain as follows: Once a year, supported by the Peters Beer Foundation, part…

Chinese Jesus: Discussing German Missionaries’ Journey “From Christ to Confucius” with Albert Wu

Is Christianity in danger of disappearing? Since at least the middle of the twentieth century, Christianity in Europe has often been seen as in decline, with the most recent surveys indicating that scarcely more than half of EU citizens believe in any God at all. Many Christian communities in the Middle East, such as the Assyrians, have been displaced through the US invasion of Iraq, the Syrian Civil War, and the emergence of ISIS. The Eastern Orthodox Church, freed in its Russian incarnation from decades of Communist rule, shows strong signs of growth in Europe. However, the disintegration of the Soviet Union and the displacement of Russians means, increasingly, that Orthodoxy’s southern frontiers end thousands of miles further north than they did a century-and-a-half ago.

In fact, Christianity in the world is in no danger of vanishing. The percentage of Christians as a part of world population is nearly the same as it was a century ago. What is changing, however, is the face of Christianity, as both the Roman Catholic Church and Protestant denominations see more and more of their congregations be composed of Latin American, African, and Asian populations. Pope Francis is the first Pope from Latin America, while Brazil constitutes the single largest Catholic country. There are almost as many Catholics in Nigeria as there are in Germany. There are perhaps tens million of Chinese affiliated with official state-sponsored Protestant organizations in that country, but the proliferation of unofficial “house churches” means that there could be up to 58 million Protestants and 9 million Catholics living in the People’s Republic of China. This, in turn, would make China the fourth-largest Protestant country after only the USA, Nigeria, and Brazil.

Demographic changes like these are bound to bring about conversations about theology and dogma. To take the example of the Anglican Church, bishops from the “global South” have boycotted conferences on the grounds that North American churches are too lenient on the ordination of homosexual bishops and their blessing of same-sex marriage. Conversely, many theological conservatives who approved of Joseph Ratzinger have expressed concern over the stress that Pope Francis has placed on issues such as global warming, consumerism, and US-Cuba relations (his more traditional views on matters such as abortion and same-sex marriage notwithstanding). As nations whose entry into Christendom is inescapably entangled with European imperialism come to occupy greater prominence, the question of how “North-South” relations will affect Christianity cannot but occupy the attention of Christians and non-Christians alike.

Our latest guest to the Global History Forum, Albert Wu, offers perspectives on these question in his recent book, From Christ to Confucius: German Missionaries, Chinese Christians, and the Globalization of Christianity, 1860-1950, published with Yale University Press.

In his book, Wu (an assistant professor at the American University of Paris) explores how German Protestant and Catholic missionaries engaged with China during the late Qing period and during the Republican period. At the heart of the book stands a paradox. At the start of the period in question, German missionaries viewed Chinese Confucianism as backwards and a crucial hindrance to China’s conversion and, more broadly, modernization. Yet by the 1930s and 1940s, German Christians viewed Confucianism as a crucial ally of Christianity in China. They insisted that a synthesis of Confucianism with Christianity constituted not heresy but rather only common sense. Wu’s book explains this paradox of how Germans “struggled to make a religion with universal claims adopt particular forms” and “how a global religion should assume local guise.”

As many Christians on both sides of the North-South (not to mention European Muslims in search of a “European Islam”) debate these questions, Wu’s book provides useful historical perspective. Outgoing Toynbee Prize Foundation Executive Director Timothy Nunan recently sat down with Wu to discuss From Christ to Confucius as well as Wu’s ongoing research agenda.…

CFP: YEARBOOK OF TRANSNATIONAL HISTORY (SECOND VOLUME)

For readers interested in transnational history, the second volume of The Yearbook of Transnational History (YTH) is accepting articles for publication. The call for papers explains more: The Yearbook of Transnational History (YTH) is a newly established peer-reviewed annual journal published by Fairleigh Dickinson University Press/Rowman & Littlefield Publishing Group. This annual is dedicated to…

CFP: On the Matter of Blackness in Europe: Transnational Perspectives (University of California, Santa Barbara 4-5 May 2017)

For scholars interested in the transnational history of blackness, see this call for papers for a conference at the University of California, Santa Barbara to be held from 4-5 May 2017: The presence of Black people in Europe dates back to the early medieval period. Since then, Black people in Europe have contributed significantly to…

CFP: Transnational Leftism: The Comintern and the National, Colonial and Racial Questions (McMaster University, September 21-22, 2017)

The L.R. Wilson Institute for Canadian History at McMaster University has put out a call for their upcoming workshop on “Transnational Leftism: The Comintern and the National, Colonial and Racial Questions,” taking place on September 21-22, 2017:  But as transnational studies of the Comintern, racial equality and the national question have started to show, these…

Postdoctoral Fellowship, Transnational Korean Studies, UC San Diego

For those readers of the Global History Blog looking for a post-doctoral fellowship, here’s the good opportunity on transnational Korean studies! University of California , San Diego has announced a postdoctoral/lecturer position in Transnational Korean Studies for the 2017-18 academic year. The call for applications explains more: The Institute of Arts & Humanities within the…