The Toynbee Prize Foundation has selected Dipesh Chakrabarty, Lawrence A. Kimpton Distinguished Service Professor at the University of Chicago, as the recipient of the 2014 Toynbee Prize. The Prize, given every other year to a distinguished practitioner of global history, will be formally awarded at a session of the American Historical Association’s Annual Meeting in January 2015, where Chakrabarty will deliver a lecture on global history.
Chakrabarty, who has taught at Chicago since 1995, is a scholar of South Asian history, postcolonial studies, and global history. Perhaps best known for his 2000 volume Provincializing Europe, Chakrabarty has made major contributions to the historical fields at the core of the Toynbee Prize Foundation’s concerns. Epitomizing the mixture of breadth and depth that distinguishes major historians, he is currently at work both on a book project on the implications of the science of climate change for historical and political thinking as well as two other future projects on democracy and political thought in South Asia and the cultural history of Muslim-Bengali nationalism. Chakrabarty received his BSc honors degree from Presidency College, University of Calcutta, a postgraduate Diploma in management from the Indian Institute of Management, Calcutta, and a PhD (history) from the Australian National University.
Chakrabarty was chosen by unanimous consensus by the Selection Committee of the Toynbee Prize, composed of Jeremy Adelman, the Walter Samuel Carpenter III Professor in Spanish Civilization and Culture at Princeton University, Jennifer Pitts, Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Chicago, and Peter Stearns, Provost and Professor of History at George Mason University. Timothy Nunan, the Executive Director of the Toynbee Foundation and an Academy Scholar at Harvard University, served as an ex oficio member of the Committee.
The members of the Election Committee acknowledged the importance and influence of Chakrabarty’s work. Peter Stearns noted that “Chakrabarty’s research on postcolonial cultures, and in the adjustments in historical perspective the postcolonial world requires, continues to exercise major influence in the field of history and the ways historians approach the global framework.” Adelman concurred, noting that “Dipesh Chakrabarty has changed the way historians think about their categories and compelled us to consider perspectives and experiences beyond the conventional cores from which these categories emerged. His essays and books on subaltern studies, class, nationalism, and the meanings of modernity have had a profound effect on global history. “
Charkrabarty joins a distinguished roll of previous Toynbee Prize recipients: the diplomat and historian George Kennan, the social scientist Albert Hirschman, and, more recently, fellow historians Natalie Zemon Davis, William McNeill, and Michael Adas.
Named after Arnold J.Toynbee, the Toynbee Prize Foundation was chartered in 1987 “to contribute to the development of the social sciences, as defined from a broad historical view of human society and of human and social problems.” The foundation awards the prestigious Toynbee Prize and sponsors global history regular sessions at the annual meeting of the American Historical Association, international conferences, the online Global History Forum, as well as the journal New Global Studies.
More details on the precise date and time of Chakrabarty’s lecture at the 2015 American Historical Association Meeting will be forthcoming on this website.