This Week’s Top Picks in Imperial & Global History

Marc-William Palen

There has been a great deal of imperial/global news this week:

Photo from a BBC News Night interview with Stuart Hall.
Photo from a BBC News Night interview with Stuart Hall.

*Jamaican-born scholar-activist Stuart Hall passed away at the age of 82. He was the ‘god-father of multiculturalism‘ and a leading cultural theorist. He was also founding editor of the New Left Review and, as the Guardian puts it, he insisted

on taking popular, low-status cultural forms seriously and tracing the interweaving threads of culture, power and politics. Its interdisciplinary perspectives drew on literary theory, linguistics and cultural anthropology in order to analyse subjects as diverse as youth sub-cultures, popular media and gendered and ethnic identities – thus creating something of a model, for example, for the Guardian’s own G2 section. Hall was always among the first to identify key questions of the age, and routinely sceptical about easy answers. A spellbinding orator and a teacher of enormous influence, he never indulged in academic point-scoring. Hall’s political imagination combined vitality and subtlety; in the field of ideas he was tough, ready to combat positions he believed to be politically dangerous.

You might also be interested in reading one of his final interviews, this one from early 2012. 

*H. Wayne Morgan (1934-2014), the famous U.S. historian of Gilded-Age America, also passed away this week. He left an indelible mark on the field and upon his colleagues, as discussed in much greater depth and eloquence by  Lewis L. Gould for the Society for Historians of the Gilded Age & Progressive Era.

*Exeter’s Humanities News reports how Centre historian Catriona Pennell was chosen ‘as historical consultant to the report ‘Remember the World as well as the War’. It explores people’s perceptions and knowledge about the First World War and highlights the truly global nature of the conflict and its lasting legacy….The report identifies that international perceptions of the UK today are, in part, still influenced by Britain’s role in the First World War. In the UK, less than half of the 1,081 people questioned are aware that North America and the Middle East played a part in the war, and less than a quarter are aware that Africa and Asia were involved.’

Portugal Empire Spain Buzzfeed
Did you guess Portugal? Well done.

*On the lighter side of imperial and global news, check out this attempt at ‘the Shortest and Most Accurate History of the World You’ll Ever Read’ via Buzzfeed’s Robin Edds.

*Those considering applying for postdocs will find some good advice at the Imperial & Global History Network.

*Historians against Slavery have a roundup of some of the most important stories so far this year about slavery, past and present.

*Finally, the Independent  reports that Cambridge Professor Tony Badger has been putting added pressure on the British Foreign Office by

seeking assurances from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) that it would employ enough experts to declassify its vast archive of 600,000 files within an acceptable time frame. His warning came as a group of some of the world’s most eminent historians revealed they intend to mount unprecedented legal action against the Government over concerns that the FCO is dragging its feet in tackling the cache, which dates back almost 400 years.The historians, who allege that the FCO has broken two separate laws by failing to declare its huge holding, believe the so-called Special Collections have the potential to spark a reappraisal of events from the African slave trade to Cold War espionage.

Any other recommendations?

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