Latest Conference: "The Fight for Global Equality"
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.
As world politics continue to revolve around questions and controversies concerning refugees and migration, historians have begun to pay increasing attention to earlier forms of human movement that have been compelled or assisted by states or international organizations, which can offer valuable background and precedents. A conference to be held in Germany next year seeks…
Prof. Selçuk Esenbel is Emeritus Professor of Japanese and Asian History in the History Department of Bogazici University. She is also a Professor of History at 29 May University in Istanbul.
Looking at academic calls for papers and conference topics in recent years, there can be no doubt that global history is on the rise. However, despite calls to write “global history globally,” it is clear that global history has not risen in all countries simultaneously. Turkey, which has a long history of hosting many different civilizations has much potential for supporting work in global history. Although this potential is not yet reflected in academic studies relating to global history, international events such as the Global History Student Conference-Istanbul held recently in Istanbul Sehir University are an indicator that work in this field is accelerating.
Our most recent guest, 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. I got the chance to sit down with Esenbel in Istanbul to talk about the state of global history in Turkey today and her recent book, Japan on theSilk Road: Encounters and Perspectives of Politics and Culture in Eurasia (Brill’s Japanese Studies Library, 2017).
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.