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featuring Darrin M. McMahon (Dartmouth College), Kenneth Pomeranz (University of Chicago), Vanessa Ogle (University of California, Berkeley), Megan Black (London School of Economics and Political Science), and Anne O’Donnell (New York University), at the 132nd Annual Meeting of the American Historical Association
Stay up-to-date with the latest scholarship in global history
The Foundation seeks to promote scholarly engagement with global history through several activities. Foremost among these is the Toynbee Prize, an award granted every other year to recognize outstanding work in global history. As an affiliated society of the American Historical Association, the Foundation sponsors one session at the Association’s annual meeting. In the years in which the Prize is awarded, the recipient presents a lecture. In alternate years, the Foundation sponsors a session on global history.
2018, over 2.3 million people went on hajj,
the annual pilgrimage to Mecca that takes place during the final month of the
Islamic lunar calendar, Dhu al-Hijjah.
The pilgrimage is one of the Five Pillars of Islam (alongside Shahadah, Salat, Zakat and Sawm) and is mandatory for all
able-bodied Muslims financially capable of making the journey. Although Muslims
make the journey every year from all around the world, the country with the
highest percentage of hajjis per capita is not in northern Africa or the Middle East, considered by most to be the center
of dar al-Islam (the Abode of Islam),
but rather in Southeast Asia: Indonesia.
observes Eric Tagliacozzo, Professor of Modern Southeast Asia at Cornell
University, in his most recent monograph, The
Longest Journey: Southeast Asians and the Pilgrimage to Mecca (Oxford
University Press, 2013). In examining the annual movement of pilgrims from the
opposite ends of the Indian Ocean, 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.
historians have turned to more transnational and global histories in the late
20th and early 21st centuries, the field known as the
“Indian Ocean world” has blossomed. Studies of the Indian Ocean world focus on
the movement and settling of people from all around the Indian Ocean littoral
and hinterland regions, which form a single interconnected arena. They examine
how connections between peoples in the Indian Ocean world long pre-dated
European colonialism. They explore how those connections persisted through the
colonial period, both by using and subverting colonial networks. Together, they
trace these movements from the pre-colonial to the post-colonial, demonstrating
continuities over time that do not exist solely in reference to Europe.
himself has significantly contributed to this literature. His work has added
enormously to historians’ knowledge of not just Indonesia, Malaysia, Burma, and
other parts of Southeast Asia–which was his original region of focus–but also
the South China Sea, the Arabian Peninsula, and Southwest Asia (the Middle
East) all the way to Istanbul. He has demonstrated the deep-seated connections
between these regions and the peoples that inhabit them, thereby adding color,
breadth, and depth to previously separated national and regional histories.
Since the start of his career, Tagliacozzo has worked on these networks in
monographs including Secret
Trades, Porous Borders: Smuggling and States Along a Southeast Asian Frontier,
1865-1915 (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2009) and The Longest Journey (New York: Oxford University Press, 2013).
In this interview, 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.
Dina Gusejnova, lecturer in Modern history, University of Sheffield
The beginning of the twentieth century was a turbulent period for Europe as it emerged from the First World War, with a revolution in Russia, the fall of the Austro-Hungarian, German and Ottoman empires, the abolition of many monarchies, and the rise of new nation-states. New actors and new ideas entered the political arena, radically changing the course of European history. How did the old imperial elites reflect on these changes, and how did they adapt to them?
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.
In our conversation, we discussed the place of the old nobility in the new world order. We also talked about transnational approaches to history and the importance of bridging isolated national historiographies, as well as the changing patterns of historical research in the last decade.
In Preventing Palestine: A Political History from Camp David to Oslo (Princeton University Press, 2018), Seth Anziska throws new light on the history of the Arab-Israeli conflict and the unfulfilled Palestinian quest for statehood. The Israeli-Egyptian peace agreement brokered by President Jimmy Carter in 1978 has long been hailed as a diplomatic triumph that set the Middle East on a path toward peace. However, drawing on newly available sources in the United States and Israel, as well as international collections, Anziska argues that the Camp David Accords actually came at the expense of Palestinians. Refusing to recognize the Palestinians as a nation deserving of the right to collective self-determination, Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin introduced the concept of limited “autonomy” for the “Arab inhabitants” of the West Bank and Gaza. Begin’s formulation flew in the face of the stated position of Egyptian President Anwar Sadat. And yet both he and Carter accepted it for the sake of securing Israeli-Egyptian peace. As Anziska demonstrates, the autonomy model proffered by Begin at Camp David would cast a long shadow over future Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations, serving as the basis of the Oslo Accords negotiated in 1993 and continuing to inform the role of the Palestinian Authority today. Anziska documents this history of roads not taken, offering a “genealogy of a non-event”—the prevention of Palestinian sovereignty.
In the following interview, Anziska and I discuss a range of
issues, from the current Israeli political climate and the future of the
Palestinian national movement, to the methodological challenges confronting historians
of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the stakes of writing history that is informed
by personal experience.