Thinking globally about history
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Thinking Through Water: An Interview with Sunil S. Amrith
Interviews | June 22, 2020

Thinking Through Water: An Interview with Sunil S. Amrith

In his latest book, Unruly Waters, Sunil Amrith shows how “the schemes of empire builders, the visions of freedom fighters, the designs of engineers—and the cumulative, dispersed actions of hundreds of millions of people across generations—have transformed Asia’s waters over the past two hundred years.” It testifies to the dreams that societies have often pinned to water, as well as its unwieldy and turbulent nature. In his account of “the struggle for water” and control over the Asian monsoon, we come to understand how climate change exacerbates a problem both already in-progress and connected to histories of “reckless development and galloping inequality.”

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Global Ukrainian Studies in the Making: An Interview with Serhii Plokhy
Interviews | March 12, 2020

Global Ukrainian Studies in the Making: An Interview with Serhii Plokhy

It is only in the past decade that Ukrainian history has begun to be researched in the context of international or global history. The American historian Serhii Plokhy, Mykhailo S. Hrushevs'kyi Professor of Ukrainian History at Harvard University and director of the Harvard Ukrainian Research Institute, is a prominent exponent of this approach. Plokhy's research interests include the early modern history of Ukraine, twentieth-century international history, and intellectual history. We spoke with Serhii Plokhy about the integration of Ukrainian history into global history, the colonial status of Ukraine, and environmental history.  

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Unexpected Guests? The Soviet Union and the History of Global Capitalism: An Interview with Oscar Sanchez-Sibony
Interviews | February 13, 2020

Unexpected Guests? The Soviet Union and the History of Global Capitalism: An Interview with Oscar Sanchez-Sibony

Capitalism versus Communism. To many, the latter half of the twentieth history was deeply shaped by the confrontation between these two ideological and socioeconomic systems. When the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, capitalism's triumph was credited to its valorization of money and protection of markets, among other factors; and, as the story continues, Communists failed, in part, because they suppressed markets and globalization. Yet, how much of this historical picture holds true?

 

 

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Youth, God, and Empire: Interview With Dr. Joy Schulz
Interviews | January 22, 2020

Youth, God, and Empire: Interview With Dr. Joy Schulz

Emphasizing the centrality of American missionary children in the domination of the Hawaiian Islands during the second half of nineteenth century, Dr. Joy Schulz's analysis exposes the potency of youth power through a series of chapters that trace the development of these young evangelists into colonizers and revolutionaries. In the process, she draws attention to the complexities born at the intersections of childhood and empire and underscores the capacity of children to record their own histories in ways that may complement or complicate adult ambitions.

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Seleucid Global? Time and Empire in the Hellenistic Near East: An Interview with Paul J. Kosmin
Interviews | December 9, 2019

Seleucid Global? Time and Empire in the Hellenistic Near East: An Interview with Paul J. Kosmin

Kosmin's work is part of a recent historiographical move to reevaluate the familiar narrative of the Seleucid Empire as a sprawling, dysfunctional, Oriental empire. His most recent book, Time and Its Adversaries in the Seleucid Empire, explores the time of this empire, which he argues was radically new and can be characterized as linear, empty, and homogeneous. This new technology of time drew the empire's subjects into one commensurable temporal framework. Such commensurable time, in turn, provoked various rediscoveries of indigenous pasts within a new scheme of Seleucid time and historicality. This generated a sense of temporal incommensurability between Seleucid and indigenous times and between past, present, and future—and it played into and gave shape to an atmosphere of pan-imperial revolt.

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'It's Not Rocket Science': Nuclear Disasters in and beyond the Soviet Union—An Interview with Kate Brown
Interviews | November 8, 2019

'It's Not Rocket Science': Nuclear Disasters in and beyond the Soviet Union—An Interview with Kate Brown

"About 50 deaths." This was the long-standing consensus held by scientists and worldwide audiences on the death toll caused by the Chernobyl disaster in 1986. "Was this really so?" asked Kate Brown, a historian at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), as she started to investigate the oft-overlooked social and environmental hazards in the communities affected by the world's infamous nuclear catastrophe. Her latest book, Manual for Survival: A Chernobyl Guide to the Future, departs from the consensus and has sparked a global discussion on both the contemporary consequences and history of nuclear energy exploitation in and beyond the former Soviet Union.

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The Institution of International Order: An Interview with Simon Jackson and Alanna O'Malley
Interviews | October 16, 2019

The Institution of International Order: An Interview with Simon Jackson and Alanna O'Malley

With some people becoming increasingly concerned about the attacks on the liberal international order and others questioning whether such a thing actually exists or has ever existed, the publication of The Institution of International Order: from the League of Nations to the United Nations in 2018 is a timely and welcome intervention. This edited volume sheds light on the historical dimensions of internationalism, by examining the League of Nations and the United Nations (UN) from the 1920s to the 1970s. Not only does it connect scholarship historicizing internationalism, but it also explicitly decenters the history of internationalism by bringing in people, organizations, and places not generally associated with the levers of international order.

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Cossacks and Columbus: An Interview with Yaroslav Hrytsak
Interviews | September 5, 2019

Cossacks and Columbus: An Interview with Yaroslav Hrytsak

Yaroslav Hrytsak is one of the preeminent Ukrainian historians and public intellectuals, an expert in the modern history of Ukraine, as well as nationalism and nationhood in Eastern Europe more generally. We spoke to him about global history, his upcoming book on short Ukrainian history, and the next generation of historians in Ukraine. Prof. Hrytsak suggests global history may help us to understand the nature of political and cultural encounters in the Ukrainian lands, beginning from the Cossack period (XVI-XVIII centuries).

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Thinking Global in Turkey: An Interview with Trustee Selçuk Esenbel
Interviews | May 30, 2019

Thinking Global in Turkey: An Interview with Trustee Selçuk Esenbel

Prof. Selçuk Esenbel is one of the trustees of the Toynbee Prize Foundation and a leading historian in Turkey. Prof. Esenbel has contributed greatly to the development of global history in Turkey, specifically in relation to Japanese and wider Eurasian history. We sat down with Esenbel in Istanbul to talk about the state of global history in Turkey today and her recent book, Japan on the Silk Road: Encounters and Perspectives of Politics and Culture in Eurasia (Brill's Japanese Studies Library, 2017).

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From Istanbul to Tokyo: An Interview with Eric Tagliacozzo
Interviews | April 24, 2019

From Istanbul to Tokyo: An Interview with Eric Tagliacozzo

In examining the annual movement of pilgrims from the opposite ends of the Indian Ocean, Prof. Eric Tagliacozzo taps in to a process that has been taking place for more than five hundred years: first by sail, then by steam, then by air. Connections between Southeast Asia and the Middle East do not center solely on Islam. They are part of a far more complex network of trade, movement, and cross-cultural exchange. These connections between Southeast Asia and the Middle East are part of a far wider set of connections between peoples along the entire Indian Ocean littoral from eastern Africa to the South China Sea. We talked with Tagliacozzo about his previous works and his contributions to scholarship on the Indian Ocean world as well as transnational and global history. We spoke about his days as a 22-year old college student interviewing spice traders from Japan to East Africa. Our discussion ranged from illicit trade in rhinoceros horns to itinerant peoples' methods of resistance to colonial rule. And we discussed how, often, those two things were one-and-the-same.

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Elites Connecting Eastern and Western Europe: An Interview with Dina Gusejnova
Interviews | April 3, 2019

Elites Connecting Eastern and Western Europe: An Interview with Dina Gusejnova

Dina Gusejnova, a lecturer in Modern history at the University of Sheffield, looks into this unstable period through the eyes of German-speaking liberal intellectuals who belonged to the old and new nobility of Germany, Austria, and Russia. In her book, European Elites and Ideas of Empire, 1917-1957 (Cambridge University Press, 2016) she analyses how these German-speaking intellectuals used their old networks to call for a new Europe. This fascinating book provides a transnational history of the idea of Europe, linking histories of Germany and Russia, which are usually told separately, through the eyes of a cosmopolitan network of authors. We discussed the place of the old nobility in the new world order, transnational approaches to history, the importance of bridging isolated national historiographies, and the changing patterns of historical research in the last decade.

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Histories of the Big and Small: An Interview with Mark Mazower
Interviews | February 20, 2019

Histories of the Big and Small: An Interview with Mark Mazower

Mark Mazower discusses the experience of telling a personal narrative in a historical context, the struggles and opportunities presented by writing history with a focus on nations and people outside of the immediate center of power, and the importance of revisiting early twentieth-century political discussions in our current moment.

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