Thinking globally about history
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Kashmir in the aftermath of Partition: An interview with Shahla Hussain
Interviews | September 28, 2023

Kashmir in the aftermath of Partition: An interview with Shahla Hussain

Often told as the cleaving of the provinces of Bengal and the Punjab, most studies of Partition and its aftermath have not devoted attention to the region of Kashmir. Treated as an exceptional case in official narratives and consequently in histories, Kashmir has been largely absent from accounts of Partition and its ramifications for the lives of millions of its inhabitants, many of whom faced displacement and violence as the erstwhile princely state was prized apart. Shahla Hussain’s Kashmir in the Aftermath of Partition (Cambridge University Press, 2021) offers a corrective to this absence by braiding the history of Kashmir into the history of Partition and by introducing a bottom-up approach to this study.

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ROUNDTABLE: From the Global to the Planetary. A Conversation with Glenda Sluga, Stephen Macekura, and Jonathan Blake
Article | June 5, 2023

ROUNDTABLE: From the Global to the Planetary. A Conversation with Glenda Sluga, Stephen Macekura, and Jonathan Blake

Toynbee Prize Foundation President Glenda Sluga gathers scholars to discuss the importance of the concept of ‘planetary’ as a framing for environmental and political questions in the second half of the twentieth century (in the main).

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REVIEW: Lourenço da Silva Mendonça and the Black Atlantic Abolitionist Movement in the Seventeenth Century
Article | May 31, 2023

REVIEW: Lourenço da Silva Mendonça and the Black Atlantic Abolitionist Movement in the Seventeenth Century

In this monograph Dr José Lingna Nafafé of the University of Bristol uses the figure of Lourenço da Silva Mendonça, a member of the Ndongo royal family, as a means of disrupting the history of slavery abolition. Exiled from his homeland in Angola in December 1671, Mendonça was sent to Brazil and then Portugal, before finally heading to the Italian Peninsula in 1684, via Spain, to present his case against the trans-Atlantic trade of enslaved people. And this court case, in which Mendonça called for the abolition of slavery, is the central focus of the text, what Lingna Nafafé sees as the culmination of the seventeenth century ‘Black Atlantic Abolition Movement.’ A book review by Editor-at-Large Michael Aidan Pope.

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Mobilizing medieval art for history wars between Russia and Ukraine
Article | May 25, 2023

Mobilizing medieval art for history wars between Russia and Ukraine

Life in Moscow has changed dramatically since the beginning of the "special military operation" in Ukraine, with history lessons to be found everywhere. The omnipresence of history in the ordinary life of its citizens did not exist prior to this tragic event. The patriotic re-write of the past is a key tool for the Russian government in justifying its current agenda. A recently opened exhibition The Grand Duchy. The Treasures of Vladimir-Suzdal lands at the Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow stands out as a prime example. This new development uses art history to re-write the emergence of Russian statehood. It has an unprecedented scale, ambition, and aesthetic appeal in doing so. It serves as a response to the Ukrainian historians' claim that the legacy of Kyivan Rus belongs to Ukraine, and not to Russia.

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SIDE BY SIDE: Allan Lumba's Monetary Authorities and Jamie Martin's The Meddlers Reviewed
Roundtable Panel—Christy Thornton’s Revolution in Development: Mexico and the Governance of the Global Economy
Article | March 17, 2023

Roundtable Panel—Christy Thornton’s Revolution in Development: Mexico and the Governance of the Global Economy

Christy Thornton’s Revolution in Development: Mexico and the Governance of the Global Economy (University of California Press, 2021) places Mexico at the center of histories of international economic governance. In the wake of Mexico’s exclusion from international capital markets following its 1914 default, she argues, Mexican economists and diplomats began to consider the nature of sovereignty, political and economic, and imagine a reconfiguration of international credit-debt relationships in order to foster development. Rather than envision autarky, Mexican leaders pursued a politics of both recognition and redistribution on the international stage from the interwar period to the crafting of the New International Economic Order (NIEO) in the 1970s. Recognition entailed equitable representation in multilateral institutions, while redistribution meant long-term, concessionary lending. According to Thornton, their reckonings with the existing international economic order presaged modernization and dependency theory and reached a climax when President Luis Echeverría Álvarez led the movement to author and pass the Charter of Economic Rights and Duties of States.

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Archival Reflections—Insights from the Vast and Rich Resources at the Barings Archives
Article | January 31, 2023

Archival Reflections—Insights from the Vast and Rich Resources at the Barings Archives

The House of Barings was established in 1762 and started out by trading on its own account, and on joint account with other merchants, buying and selling commodities and other goods in British and overseas markets. They also acted as London agents for overseas merchants, arranging shipping and insurance, making and collecting payments. Over time, Barings reduced their stakes in commodity trading due to its speculative and risky nature, and heavily ventured into the work of issuing securities for governments and businesses, especially railway companies. Barings also acted as paying agents, being particularly associated with Argentine, United States, Canadian and Russian governments.

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Review—Schooling the System: A History of Black Women Teachers
Article | January 31, 2023

Review—Schooling the System: A History of Black Women Teachers

Funké Aladejebi’s seminal manuscript, Schooling the System, is a critical racial and gendered intervention in Canadian history that demonstrates how the oral narratives of Black women challenged the colonial legacy of state-building policies in postwar Ontarian education systems and radically contested the post-racial misconception of benign whiteness in Canada. Through twenty-six oral interviews with Black Canadian and Caribbean women, Aladejebi highlights the influence and challenges of Black female teachers who were integrated into the postwar Canadian educational system. She supplements her oral narratives with documented archival research including legislative acts, government and school board reports, and conference proceedings. The term “schooling the system” expresses the ways in which Black women engaged in community-oriented activism through educational initiatives to create meaningful systemic change and racial awakening in Canadian society.

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Roundtable Panel—On Barak’s Powering Empire: How Coal Made the Middle East and Sparked Global Carbonization
Article | January 12, 2023

Roundtable Panel—On Barak’s Powering Empire: How Coal Made the Middle East and Sparked Global Carbonization

How can we re-conceptualize histories of energy, crucially necessary to understanding our times, and place them in longer, atypical timelines? We brought together scholars of different backgrounds and from different locations to begin thinking through this question on the heels of Powering Empire and to expand the prevailing conversation on the global history of energy more broadly.

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Review—Ploughshares and Swords: India's Nuclear Program in the Global Cold War
Article | January 12, 2023

Review—Ploughshares and Swords: India's Nuclear Program in the Global Cold War

The story of India’s nuclear program has been told many times and by many scholars. Researchers have been fortunate for works by security strategists, journalists, anthropologists, and political scientists. But few of these works were historical studies and even fewer incorporated the primary sources of archives from multiple countries. Historian Jayita Sarkar’s Ploughshares and Swords: India’s Nuclear Program in the Global Cold War is the work that scholars of India’s nuclear program have been waiting for; it will be required reading for historians of several different fields – foreign relations, science and technology, and decolonization – to name just a few. India’s nuclear program possesses a large historiography, but Sarkar produced a tome that scholars of the program cannot miss but also a welcoming work for readers interested in Cold War history and the rise of the developing world post-World War II. It is light on jargon, thorough in its examination of how independent India became a scientific power, and comprehensive in how it carries the story to the present. Readers will understand the decisions and stakes that were present when India debated the bomb and finally took the leap as a nuclear weapons state. Sarkar’s book asks whether nuclear programs help chip away at a nation’s democracy and instill anti-democratic elements where safety and security trump peace and prosperity.

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Roundtable Panel—Cécile Vidal’s Caribbean New Orleans: Rethinking the Interconnected Nature of the Global North and South Through a Transcolonial Study of Racial Slavery in the French Atlantic Empire
Article | November 23, 2022

Roundtable Panel—Cécile Vidal’s Caribbean New Orleans: Rethinking the Interconnected Nature of the Global North and South Through a Transcolonial Study of Racial Slavery in the French Atlantic Empire

In her most recent book Caribbean New Orleans: Race, Empire, and the Making of a Slave Society, Dr. Cécile Vidal offers an alternative picture of New Orleans as a transatlantic outpost and bastion of racial openness that linked the French Caribbean to southern North America. It raises important questions on how race and slavery can be used to explain the development of colonial slave societies. How did trans-colonial systems of slavery ultimately shape the social order of New Orléans during a period of rapid geopolitical evolution? How can we rethink the history of race and racialization in the formation of the French Atlantic world? In what ways can the intersections between legal, cultural, and sociopolitical histories be used to map the intricate networks of slavery and colonization throughout various parts of the global French Empire? To answer these questions, and many others, it is a pleasure to welcome two leading scholars on race and chattel slavery in the French Atlantic Empire to a roundtable discussion on Caribbean New Orleans.

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