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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From the Archivist’s Nook: An interview with Christy Lobo
Interviews | June 26, 2023

From the Archivist’s Nook: An interview with Christy Lobo

Christy Lobo is the archivist at the Archives of the Jesuit Madurai Province in Shembaganur, Tamil Nadu. Technically skilled with an M.Sc. in Computer Science and a passion for the history of Jesuits in India, Mr. Lobo is keen on using the latest technologies in maintaining the Shembaganur archives and enhancing its online presence. In this brief interview, Jesuit studies scholar and Toynbee Prize Foundation Editor-at-Large Joseph Satish V talks to Christy Lobo about his work as an archivist and his enthusiasm for all things Jesuit.

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European Communities in South America and the Global Total Wars of the 20th Century: An Interview with Dr. María Inés Tato
Interviews | May 1, 2023

European Communities in South America and the Global Total Wars of the 20th Century: An Interview with Dr. María Inés Tato

Total wars do not just affect the belligerent societies. The two global conflicts of the first half of the twentieth century had repercussions in neutral countries and colonial territories that could not escape of their economic and political impact. This was certainly most evident for the European diasporas in the South American region. How did overseas Europeans participate in the war effort? What were the tensions surrounding the mobilization? What were the effects on the relationship with the adoption countries? These are some of the questions that the authors of Transatlantic Battles. European Immigrant Communities in South America and the World Wars (Brill, 2022) address.

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War, Plague and Inflation: Is this time different?: An Interview with Dr. Natacha Postel-Vinay
Interviews | May 1, 2023

War, Plague and Inflation: Is this time different?: An Interview with Dr. Natacha Postel-Vinay

World economies are facing a troika of challenges in the form of war (in Ukraine), disease (COVID19) and return of inflation, all of which have led to dampened growth globally. This invites us to ask how new these challenges, individually and as a combination, are, and what lessons we can draw from history? To answer these questions, we take a long-run view from more than 100 years of history to discuss the implications of war, disease, and inflation on our economies. Dr. Natacha Postel-Vinay an expert on the economic history of the Great Depression. Her research focuses on public finance, private finance, and welfare. More specifically, her research looks at the connections between bank risk-taking, banking crises, banking crisis resolution, public debt, and moral hazard, all from a historical perspective.

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The Soviet Union as a Development Actor in West Africa: An Interview with Alessandro Iandolo on Arrested Development
Interviews | April 21, 2023

The Soviet Union as a Development Actor in West Africa: An Interview with Alessandro Iandolo on Arrested Development

The recently published work Arrested Development: The Soviet Union in Ghana, Guinea, and Mali, 1955–1968 (Cornell University Press, 2022) explores the Soviet Union’s economic partnership with three newly-independent countries in West Africa during the Nikita Khrushchev era. The Toynbee Prize Foundation interviewed the author, Alessandro Iandolo, on the story and the main arguments of his book. Alongside discussing the emergence of the Soviet Union as an international development actor and the challenges it encountered in post-colonial Africa, Iandolo explained the characteristics of the Soviet development model, its similarities and differences to the Western alternatives, and why the Soviet development assistance in Ghana, Guinea, and Mali was not primarily oriented around spreading the communist ideology.

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Recovering the History of Interwar International Environmental Law: An Interview with Omer Aloni
Interviews | April 4, 2023

Recovering the History of Interwar International Environmental Law: An Interview with Omer Aloni

For a long time, international legal scholars and practitioners tended to see the League of Nations solely as a historical failure. In leading textbooks and inside the classroom, it was not uncommon to read and hear depictions of the interwar international institutions as a mere prelude to the post-1945 international order. The League, in comparison to the United Nations, was dismissed as a moment of not yet. In the last decade or so, however, more nuanced waves of scholarship across disciplines have unearthed the inner lives of international ordering, exploring the immense efforts and disappointments that surrounded the work of the League and other interwar institutions. In his recent monograph, Omer Aloni joins this renaissance of historical scholarship, adding a distinctively socio-legal perspective grounded in rich archival research to a conversation in which lawyers have been relative latecomers. In this sense, The League of Nations and the Protection of the Environment (Cambridge University Press, 2021) provides an exploration the ways in which the relations between “nature, environment, and humankind” were legally regulated at the international plane in the interwar period—and beyond.

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Collaborators of the New Order—Fascists, Nationalists, Traitors, and Opportunists in occupied Western Europe: An Interview with David Alegre
Interviews | March 22, 2023

Collaborators of the New Order—Fascists, Nationalists, Traitors, and Opportunists in occupied Western Europe: An Interview with David Alegre

Empires are not ruled only by force. Some degree of resignation or collaboration from local populations is needed. Despite its brief lifespan, the Third Reich was no stranger to this logic. In Western Europe, tens of thousands of European citizens took part in Nazi imperial policies of domination and spoilation, spurred on by fear of losing an unrepeatable opportunity and inspired by the dazzling triumphs of Hitler’s Germany. Such Nazi collaborators are the main subject of David Alegre’s most recent book, Colaboracionistas. Europa Occidental y el Nuevo Orden Nazi.

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The Individual and the International: An Interview with Dr. Michele L. Louro
Interviews | March 22, 2023

The Individual and the International: An Interview with Dr. Michele L. Louro

Judith P. Zinsser who is a world historian took me on as a student and really helped my transition from psychology to the humanities. She suggested that I read Jawaharlal Nehru’s Glimpses of World History, which was published in 1934, written whilst he was in prison during the civil disobedience movement 1930-1934. I was really struck by the fact that much of the scholarship was really focused on his much later work, Discovery of India (1946) and what he wrote about the history of the Indian nation. Few historians had really tackled his chronicle, Glimpses of World History (1934), which is a work of one thousand pages in the form of letters to his daughter. I was also struck by why such an iconic nationalist figure and leader chose to write a work of world history as his first major book. That's really where my journey began—it was trying to answer this question: why the "world" rather than the nation was the subject of his first book and what the "world" meant to Nehru. I was also troubled by the assumption that his world history was simply a copy of H.G. Wells’s Outline of World History with an addition of further Indian context. My close reading suggested otherwise very early on. Instead, I came to learn that he was at the League Against Imperialism meetings in the years immediately preceding the years he wrote this text, so I began to think more critically about the international world that Nehru himself was engaged in and also what these experiences had done to shape his ideas about both India and the world he imagined.

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