Nixon in China: Back to Bretton Woods
Article

Nixon in China: Back to Bretton Woods

Often heralded as marking the start of a significant shift in the People’s Republic of China’s (PRC) relationship with the world, Richard Nixon’s journey to that country in February 1972 came in the midst of an on-going effort and vision: China’s (long-held) desire to be a part of the global economy. While the 50th anniversary of that visit is important in terms of Sino-American relations, it also represents the beginning of the less-discussed history of China’s engagement with multilateral economic institutions, particularly, with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank—the Bretton Woods institutions. What consequences did the Nixon trip produce in that regard? Was it as decisive as it was for Sino-American relations?

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Roundtable—In the Land of Forgetfulness: History, Memory, and Culture in Disney’s Encanto
Article

Roundtable—In the Land of Forgetfulness: History, Memory, and Culture in Disney’s Encanto

The Disney film Encanto aspires to provide a new visual and acoustic vocabulary of what it means to be Colombian for moviegoers in this country, Latin America, and beyond. As such, it offers a promising entry point into a more sustained scholarly inquiry into questions of representation, memory, and culture in global history. Of course, the movie does not aspire to offer a “truthful” representation of Colombia’s troubled historyin fact, its ambiguous chronology and geography show that the Encanto’s Colombia is as much imagined as it is real. But, at the same, how the film curates and packages certain elements of Colombia’s past for global audiences provides much food for thought. In its narrative, some saw a wider metaphor about the state of Unitedstatesean fragmentary politics; others saw a call for the reimagination of “romantic love,” a meditation on the “crushing weight of tradition,” or a commodified and whitewashed “Disneyfication” of Latin American cultures that caters to the growing market share of Hispanic-Unitedstateseans. We convened a roundtable with three Colombian(ist) scholars to tackle these and many other questions.

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Toynbee 60-Second Scholar Showcase: Daniel Ricardo Quiroga-Villamarín
The Blog

Toynbee 60-Second Scholar Showcase: Daniel Ricardo Quiroga-Villamarín

Daniel Ricardo Quiroga-Villamarín (The Graduate Institute Geneva) describes his dissertation, ‘Architects of the Better World’: The Birth of the International Conference Complex (1918-1998), a study of how infrastructure, commodities, and material objects have shaped the contours of global governance and law in just sixty seconds.

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How China’s Environments Changed its Modern History: An interview with Micah Muscolino
Interviews

How China’s Environments Changed its Modern History: An interview with Micah Muscolino

The environment in China is usually seen as the victim of unfettered industrial production and global consumption starting with the country’s ‘reform and opening up’ period in the late 1970s. But to what extent does this periodization and the logics of the Anthropocene that rest upon it make sense against the longer historical record? A wave of scholarship has scrutinized the abstract idea of the environment in China’s restless history over the past two centuries. Bracketing the origins of the today’s environmental crises exclusively within the globalization debate is to miss something important. Namely, ecological thinking featured prominently in the country’s experiences with modernization, colonialism, and nation-building starting in the long 19th century. Micah Muscolino’s work is a great example that rethinks the conventional framework of modern Chinese history. Muscolino shows how the making of Qing, National, and PRC rule were often built on its relationships to natural resources. He has also come to see many similarities between today’s environmentalist transformations and China’s past. China stands, as he asserts, at the heart of the world’s present-day predicaments.

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How to write interdisciplinary global history: Collaboration as method
The Blog

How to write interdisciplinary global history: Collaboration as method

Collaboration makes sense for global historians. When two (or more) scholars bring different training, sources, and methodologies to a historical problem, they make discoveries that a solo researcher would miss. In contrast to other fields in the humanities and social sciences, historians usually pursue research projects independently rather than as part of a team. We found it exciting to share and develop ideas together, and collaboration inspired and motivated us to put words on paper. Our experiences show that scholars from different yet intersecting fields, located at opposite ends of the globe, and who have never met in person, can write together. The low costs of virtual engagement break down some of the barriers that have historically prevented scholars in the global north and global south from writing together, in addition to facilitating south-south collaborations, and in this sense can be seen as important to efforts to decolonize global history.

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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.

Read more about the theme ’Toynbee Coronavirus Series’
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.

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Nixon in China: Back to Bretton Woods
Article | June 22, 2022

Nixon in China: Back to Bretton Woods

Often heralded as marking the start of a significant shift in the People’s Republic of China’s (PRC) relationship with the world, Richard Nixon’s journey to that country in February 1972 came in the midst of an on-going effort and vision: China’s (long-held) desire to be a part of the global economy. While the 50th anniversary of that visit is important in terms of Sino-American relations, it also represents the beginning of the less-discussed history of China’s engagement with multilateral economic institutions, particularly, with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank—the Bretton Woods institutions. What consequences did the Nixon trip produce in that regard? Was it as decisive as it was for Sino-American relations?

Read more about `Nixon in China: Back to Bretton Woods`
How China’s Environments Changed its Modern History: An interview with Micah Muscolino
Interviews | March 14, 2022

How China’s Environments Changed its Modern History: An interview with Micah Muscolino

The environment in China is usually seen as the victim of unfettered industrial production and global consumption starting with the country’s ‘reform and opening up’ period in the late 1970s. But to what extent does this periodization and the logics of the Anthropocene that rest upon it make sense against the longer historical record? A wave of scholarship has scrutinized the abstract idea of the environment in China’s restless history over the past two centuries. Bracketing the origins of the today’s environmental crises exclusively within the globalization debate is to miss something important. Namely, ecological thinking featured prominently in the country’s experiences with modernization, colonialism, and nation-building starting in the long 19th century. Micah Muscolino’s work is a great example that rethinks the conventional framework of modern Chinese history. Muscolino shows how the making of Qing, National, and PRC rule were often built on its relationships to natural resources. He has also come to see many similarities between today’s environmentalist transformations and China’s past. China stands, as he asserts, at the heart of the world’s present-day predicaments.

Read more about `How China’s Environments Changed its Modern History: An interview with Micah Muscolino`
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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