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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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Roundtable Panel—Eric Weitz's A World Divided: The Global Struggle for Human Rights in the Age of Nation-States
Article | November 3, 2020

Roundtable Panel—Eric Weitz's A World Divided: The Global Struggle for Human Rights in the Age of Nation-States

Over the last decade, we have witnessed a sustained increase in the scholarship on the origins and history of human rights. Eric Weitz’s A World Divided: The Global Struggle for Human Rights in the Age of Nation-States deepens this historiographical corpus, presenting us with an expansive history that covers over three hundred years and spans the world. The book examines the complex politics of human rights history. It exposes the paradoxical relationship between human rights and nation-states whereby states identify as guarantors of the rights of citizens while also exercising the power to exclude groups from the remit of such a guarantee. The scope of the book lends itself to rich discussion, as evidenced by the diversity of comments it elicited from the participants in this panel. Three eminent scholars of diverse historiographical interest reflect on the book’s central themes. Followed by a response from Professor Weitz.

Read more about `Roundtable Panel—Eric Weitz's A World Divided: The Global Struggle for Human Rights in the Age of Nation-States`
Boys on America’s Imperial Frontier: An Interview with Mischa Honeck
Interviews | September 3, 2020

Boys on America’s Imperial Frontier: An Interview with Mischa Honeck

"The Boy Scouts were an organization that sought to discipline and control young people as much as they wanted to also animate and liberate them from what they identified as corrosive influences on young manhood. Because of that, there’s plenty of interesting commentary on what young people did and what they supposedly thought within scouting. This is not specific to the Boy Scouts of America—I think this is true for almost all of the major youth organizations of the twentieth century. That also compelled me to reconsider what it means to recover the voice of the child, because sometimes adult-authored sources contain the fingerprints of young actors as well. They also reflect things that young people did and can serve as a lens that can help approach young people as subjects within certain fields of academia." Mischa Honeck’s Our Frontier is the World: Boy Scouts in the Age of American Ascendancy (2017) takes a much-needed look at the role of children in the construction of the United States’s imperial identity. Through a detailed analysis of the Boy Scouts of America (BSA), he interrogates the interlinking impulses of youth, nationalism, and power in the first half of the twentieth century.

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Archival Reflections—Dewi Sukarno Goes to London, or How to Handle an Indonesian VIP during Konfrontasi
Article | June 22, 2020

Archival Reflections—Dewi Sukarno Goes to London, or How to Handle an Indonesian VIP during Konfrontasi

Archival Reflections

A single folder of British Foreign Office records (FO 371/180366) held at the National Archives in Kew details the private visit to the UK by the third wife of Indonesian President Sukarno, Dewi, in June 1965. British officers, determined to make a good first impression on Dewi to soften her bellicose husband, quickly found themselves attending to out-of-the-ordinary tasks: scrambling to find a “young enough” companion for having tea with Dewi, infiltrating a wedding reception to gather information on her, and even disposing of an unwanted gift that Dewi brought for none other than Queen Elizabeth II.

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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.

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BLOG—Phantom Africa: The Topos of Silent Trade
The Blog | November 24, 2020

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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Roundtable Panel—Eric Weitz's A World Divided: The Global Struggle for Human Rights in the Age of Nation-States
Article | November 3, 2020

Roundtable Panel—Eric Weitz's A World Divided: The Global Struggle for Human Rights in the Age of Nation-States

Over the last decade, we have witnessed a sustained increase in the scholarship on the origins and history of human rights. Eric Weitz’s A World Divided: The Global Struggle for Human Rights in the Age of Nation-States deepens this historiographical corpus, presenting us with an expansive history that covers over three hundred years and spans the world. The book examines the complex politics of human rights history. It exposes the paradoxical relationship between human rights and nation-states whereby states identify as guarantors of the rights of citizens while also exercising the power to exclude groups from the remit of such a guarantee. The scope of the book lends itself to rich discussion, as evidenced by the diversity of comments it elicited from the participants in this panel. Three eminent scholars of diverse historiographical interest reflect on the book’s central themes. Followed by a response from Professor Weitz.

Read more about `Roundtable Panel—Eric Weitz's A World Divided: The Global Struggle for Human Rights in the Age of Nation-States`
Justice in the New World: An Interview with Brian Owensby and Richard Ross
Interviews | October 6, 2020

Justice in the New World: An Interview with Brian Owensby and Richard Ross

In what ways did both settlers and natives understand or partly understand or misunderstand the other side’s legal commitments while learning about them? Framed against the ongoing problematic of intelligibility, legal historians Professors Brian Owensby and Richard Ross's edited volume Justice in a New World analyses two sets of comparisons: one between settlers and natives, and the other between a British and Iberian America.

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Quote of the month

There is a familiar claim in post-antique history writing that one of the characteristics of modernity was "Western, empty, post-Enlightenment time" liberating itself from this enclosed providentialist time, but … still carrying on many of its dynamics … One of the things my book is trying to do is to reverse that order and suggest that state-directed empty time was invented first and apocalyptic eschatology or enclosed providentialist time is a dialectical response to that.

Paul J. Kosmin
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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These include essential cookies that are necessary for the operation of the site, as well as others that are used only for anonymous statistical purposes, for comfort settings or to display personalized content. You can decide for yourself which categories you want to allow. Please note that based on your settings, not all functions of the website may be available.

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