Money and Colonialism in Canada: An Interview with Brian Gettler
Interviews

Money and Colonialism in Canada: An Interview with Brian Gettler

Money is far from a commonplace and benign object. It carries political significance and power even beyond the symbols emblazoned upon notes and coins. Yet money and currencies seldom emerge as a focal point in histories of colonialism and empire; normally they are an accessory to express value, a tool of exchange, or a medium of early encounters. In Colonialism’s Currency: Money, State, and First Nations in Canada, 1820–1950, Brian Gettler sets out to correct this narrative. He shows how money, in its materiality and from the practices surrounding it, can be conceived of as a political force that reshapes space, mediates the colonial project, extends sovereignty, and modulates behaviours. It is for him, more precisely, a technology that allows us to trace the emergence of the colonial state in what becomes Canada, as well as its complex and changing relationships with Indigenous peoples.

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Roundtable Panel—Priya Satia's Time’s Monster: How History Makes History
Article

Roundtable Panel—Priya Satia's Time’s Monster: How History Makes History

In her new book, Times Monster: How History Makes History, Priya Satia discusses the pivotal role of the discipline of History and its practioners in the British Empire’s legitimating enterprise. British historians, she argues, provided the language that not only defended imperial expansion but proclaimed it as a moral and ethical force in the world. The debris of those ideas continue to impact and shape our politics today – long after the formal end of colonial rule. However, though history could be a handmaiden to empire, Satia shows that historical thinking could also be used to question, subvert and ultimately delegitimize imperial claims. What results through her discussion is a rich intellectual history that spans over three hundred years of imperial history, taking the reader from the imperatives of the Enlightenment to the politics of decolonization and its aftermath. This spring we invited four scholars of varying expertise and interests to discuss this work. In what follows, each of them reflects on the book’s arguments and propositions, closed by a response from Professor Satia. We thank the participants for their time and engagement and hope that readers find the discussion thought-provoking.

Read more about `Roundtable Panel—Priya Satia's Time’s Monster: How History Makes History`
Nagorno-Karabakh: The endless conflict in the Black Garden—Backgrounds and perspectives of a seemingly “unsolvable” dispute
Article

Nagorno-Karabakh: The endless conflict in the Black Garden—Backgrounds and perspectives of a seemingly “unsolvable” dispute

By Toynbee Prize Foundation Trustee Roland Benedikter

Following U.S. President Joe Biden’s April 2021 recognition of the mass murder of Armenians in the 20th century as genocide, there is new movement in the Caucasus. Both Turkey and Armenia are involved in the conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh, the “mountainous black garden” in the South Caucasus. In 2020, the latest war between Azerbaijan and Armenia occurred in a seemingly endless history of conflict. The situation seems intractable to many. The war over the territory has hardened the fronts and plunged Armenia, the losing nation, into chaos. Many questions remain unresolved. Nevertheless, there are (limited) prospects, including the diplomatic initiatives of the OSCE as well as individual states such as Russia. A very special institutional-regulatory model of pacification has been repeatedly brought into play since the 1990s: South Tyrol. Territorial autonomy there has transformed ethnic conflicts into institutionalized coexistence. The question is how realistic it is to adapt this model in the Caucasus.

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Archival Reflections—T.F. Johnson, “Self-Respecting” Refugee Relief, and a Petit-Bourgeois Plan for World Peace
Article

Archival Reflections—T.F. Johnson, “Self-Respecting” Refugee Relief, and a Petit-Bourgeois Plan for World Peace

A new Archival Reflection by Christopher Szabla on refugees and world order and the unique figure of T.F. Johnson of the League of Nations. "I came across Johnson’s memoir, International Tramps: From Chaos to Permanent World Peace, while researching my dissertation on attempts to govern all global migration at the level of international law and institutions. Refugees were a naturally important element of that story. But although there was already a robust literature on the history of international refugee aid and institutions, few key individuals in that history had been singled out for extended treatment...Yet among them were also more obscure figures like Johnson."

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Theme

Toynbee Coronavirus Series

Living through historically unprecedented times has strengthened the Toynbee Prize Foundation's commitment to thinking globally about history and to representing that perspective in the public sphere. In this multimedia series on the covid-19 pandemic, we will be bringing global history to bear in thinking through the raging coronavirus and the range of social, intellectual, economic, political, and scientific crises triggered and aggravated by it.

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BLOG—Phantom Africa: The Topos of Silent Trade
The Blog

BLOG—Phantom Africa: The Topos of Silent Trade

One of the most resilient topoi of writing on Black Africa is that of the so-called silent trade. It first appears in Herodotus and from there it is dutifully repeated in geographies, histories, descriptions and travel accounts that portray African people (in Latin, Arabic, and different European vernaculars) well into the 19th century. So much so that already by the 15th century Venetian captain Alvise Cadamosto concluded in the account of his travel to the rivers of Guinea: “Since it is related by so many we can accept it as true.”

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Building Scholarly Communities in the Time of COVID: Fieldnotes from the Indian Ocean World Podcast
The Blog

Building Scholarly Communities in the Time of COVID: Fieldnotes from the Indian Ocean World Podcast

Like other graduate students and academicians, I lost many opportunities to participate in workshops, conferences, and other learning avenues to widen scholarly networks, discuss research interests, and open conversations. I pondered, how can I overcome this barrier known as 'social distancing' by finding alternative mediums to reach out to my colleagues and continue expanding my scholarly networks?

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The Foundation

The Toynbee Prize Foundation — a Hub for Global History

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 seeks to promote scholarly engagement with global history.

Read more
Roundtable Panel—Priya Satia's Time’s Monster: How History Makes History
Article | June 1, 2021

Roundtable Panel—Priya Satia's Time’s Monster: How History Makes History

In her new book, Times Monster: How History Makes History, Priya Satia discusses the pivotal role of the discipline of History and its practioners in the British Empire’s legitimating enterprise. British historians, she argues, provided the language that not only defended imperial expansion but proclaimed it as a moral and ethical force in the world. The debris of those ideas continue to impact and shape our politics today – long after the formal end of colonial rule. However, though history could be a handmaiden to empire, Satia shows that historical thinking could also be used to question, subvert and ultimately delegitimize imperial claims. What results through her discussion is a rich intellectual history that spans over three hundred years of imperial history, taking the reader from the imperatives of the Enlightenment to the politics of decolonization and its aftermath. This spring we invited four scholars of varying expertise and interests to discuss this work. In what follows, each of them reflects on the book’s arguments and propositions, closed by a response from Professor Satia. We thank the participants for their time and engagement and hope that readers find the discussion thought-provoking.

Read more about `Roundtable Panel—Priya Satia's Time’s Monster: How History Makes History`
Money and Colonialism in Canada: An Interview with Brian Gettler
Interviews | June 8, 2021

Money and Colonialism in Canada: An Interview with Brian Gettler

Money is far from a commonplace and benign object. It carries political significance and power even beyond the symbols emblazoned upon notes and coins. Yet money and currencies seldom emerge as a focal point in histories of colonialism and empire; normally they are an accessory to express value, a tool of exchange, or a medium of early encounters. In Colonialism’s Currency: Money, State, and First Nations in Canada, 1820–1950, Brian Gettler sets out to correct this narrative. He shows how money, in its materiality and from the practices surrounding it, can be conceived of as a political force that reshapes space, mediates the colonial project, extends sovereignty, and modulates behaviours. It is for him, more precisely, a technology that allows us to trace the emergence of the colonial state in what becomes Canada, as well as its complex and changing relationships with Indigenous peoples.

Read more about `Money and Colonialism in Canada: An Interview with Brian Gettler`
Quote of the month

“…even the nation—super-relevant, super-charged—is itself the effect of global processes, and not some product of what we may call an auto-poietic process that emerges from the inside of the society, sticks out the grounds for a national identity, and then agrees to lock arms with other nations and societies in the creation of something called international. The causality goes the other way around.”

Toynbee Prize Foundation Trustee Jeremy Adelman
About

The Toynbee Prize Foundation — a Hub for Global History

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 seeks to promote scholarly engagement with global history.

Read more
The Prize

The Prize

The Toynbee Prize was established to recognize social scientists for significant academic and public contributions to humanity. It is awarded biennially for work that makes a significant contribution to the study of global history.

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Contribute

Contribute to Toynbee Prize Foundation

Our Editors-at-Large gain exposure to one of the most vibrant fields in the discipline today, while participating in, covering, and staying up-to-date with new debates, conversations, and movements in global history.

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