This Week’s Top Picks in Imperial & Global History

turkey map
Flickr/The Atlantic

Marc-William Palen
History Department, University of Exeter
Follow on Twitter @MWPalen

From the international origins of ‘turkey’, to the global response to Ferguson, here are this week’s top picks in imperial and global history. Continue reading “This Week’s Top Picks in Imperial & Global History”

9. Prelude to Bandung: The Interwar Origins of Anti-Colonialism

Editor’s Note: It is hard to believe that the Imperial & Global Forum went live just a year ago. In the weeks leading up to the new year, please help us celebrate by checking out the year’s 10 most popular posts.

9. Prelude to Bandung: The Interwar Origins of Anti-Colonialism

The Gathering of Visionary Anti-Imperialism. Plenary Meeting, Brussels Congress 1927. Source: Louis Gibarti (Hrsg.), Das Flammenzeichen vom Palais Egmont, Neuer Deutscher Verlag, Berlin (1927)
The Gathering of Visionary Anti-Imperialism. Plenary Meeting, Brussels Congress 1927. Source: Louis Gibarti (Hrsg.), Das Flammenzeichen vom Palais Egmont, Neuer Deutscher Verlag, Berlin (1927)

Fredrik Petersson
Åbo Akademi University
Russian State University for the Humanities (RGGU), Moscow

In 1927, the “First International Congress against Imperialism and Colonialism” convened in Brussels at Palais d’Egmont. The event celebrated the establishment of the League against Imperialism, and as the congress reached its crescendo, Willi Münzenberg, the German communist and General Secretary of International Arbeiterhilfe (IAH), declared that this was “neither the end, nor the beginning of a new powerful movement”.[1] Nearly 28 years later, amid the aftermath of the brutality of the Second World War, Münzenberg’s anti-colonial vision was revitalized at the Afro-Asian conference in Bandung, Indonesia.

In the 1955 Bandung Conference’s opening address, Achmed Sukarno, the Indonesian president, declared to the leaders of the twenty-nine countries in attendance: “I recognise that we are gathered here today as a result of sacrifices. . . . I recall in this connection the Conference of the ‘League against Imperialism and Colonialism’ which was held in Brussels almost thirty years ago.”[2] Separated by many decades and vast distance, these two events illustrate why a global history of transnational anti-colonial movements in the 20th century cannot be fixed around a particular moment in time and space – rather, it is a history enacted in radical spaces in a changing world. [continue reading]

Postgraduate Profile – Lori Lee Oates

Oates photoLori Lee Oates
PhD Candidate, History Department, University of Exeter

My research was born when I posed a single question: Why are people so interested in the texts of New Age religion at a time when church attendance and the power of traditional religion are declining in many parts of the world?

It was obvious to me that the way the world engages with religion had changed in recent decades as books like The Power of Now, Eat Pray Love, and Return to Love topped the New York Times bestseller list. I soon discovered that scholars have argued for some time that New Age religion is rooted in nineteenth-century occultism, the meeting of Eastern and Western religions, and the rise of secular society. Religious Studies scholars have used these factors to explain why Western society is now racing to meditation and yoga classes, or reifying New Age texts as contemporary religious symbols. Through my research, I discovered that scholars had already effectively established that New Age religion is rooted in the Hellenistic religious philosophies of the ancient world, combined with a synthesis of Eastern religion in the nineteenth century.

My project, however, seeks to set the emergence of commercialized religion within the context of nineteenth-century globalization, imperialism in India, growth in the printing activity, growth in liberalism, and the development of the market economy. Largely, I am doing this by examining the globalization and movement of literature between 1833 and 1900, in a way that has not been done previously. Continue reading “Postgraduate Profile – Lori Lee Oates”

10. Diminishing Returns of the Global Turn

Editor’s Note: It is hard to believe that the Imperial & Global Forum went live just a year ago. In the weeks leading up to the new year, please help us celebrate by checking out the year’s 10 most popular posts.

10. Diminishing Returns of the Global Turn

david avrom bellDavid A. Bell
Lapidus Professor of History, Princeton University
Contributing Editor, The New Republic

I am grateful to Marc-William  Palen for his smart, sharp comments on my New Republic essay, and also for his generous offer to let me respond to them on this blog.

Palen calls my essay ‘provocative’ and ‘eloquent’, but also ‘unfair’. I certainly prefer this judgment to ‘balanced, but dull and inarticulate’, but the adjective ‘unfair’ still rankles a little. In particular, Palen charges me with confusing page counts and criticism; with mixing up Atlantic history and global history; and with ‘expect[ing] the impossible’ from the volume that I was reviewing.

Of these charges, it is the third that really gets to the substantive differences between us.

My use of page — and reference — counts in the review was simply a convenient shorthand, of the sort that is necessary in short essays, to give readers a quick sense of what a book under review does, and does not emphasize. Of course, historians can often ‘transmit an impressive amount of information and analysis’ in a small number of pages, as Palen says, but the overall allocation of space still has more than a little to tell us. The fact that A World Connecting allocated just three sentences (out of 1,168 pages) to the First and Second Socialist Internationales suggests pretty strongly, however crude the measurement, that the authors did not consider the Internationales an important subject. [continue reading]

JOB: Lecturer in Modern European History, post-1750, University of Exeter

ExeterThe result of the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise confirms Exeter’s position as one of the UK’s leading research-intensive universities. Almost 90% of our research is at internationally recognised levels and every single subject submitted included world-leading (4*) research. When adjusted for the 95% of staff submitted, Exeter ranks among the top 15 in the UK for research out of 159 higher education institutions. The Times Higher Education described Exeter as ‘a rising star among research-intensive institutions’.

Job reference: P47935

Application closing date: 18/12/2014

The post of Lecturer in Modern European History will contribute to extending the research profile of History at Exeter, particularly in areas related or complementary to history of politics, empire, economy, society, religion, culture or gender in this period. This full-time, fixed-term post is available from 1st March 2015 – 31st August 2017.  Continue reading “JOB: Lecturer in Modern European History, post-1750, University of Exeter”

This Week’s Top Picks in Imperial & Global History

The holy city of Mecca, 2013. Fayez Nureldine—AFP/Getty Images
The holy city of Mecca, 2013. Fayez Nureldine—AFP/Getty Images

Marc-William Palen
History Department, University of Exeter
Follow on Twitter @MWPalen

From the demise of the world’s largest monopoly to the smells of empire, here are this week’s top picks in imperial and global history. Continue reading “This Week’s Top Picks in Imperial & Global History”

British Soft Power in South Asia: Historicizing Deglobalization

british_empire_board_game_box

David Thackeray
History Department, University of Exeter
Follow on Twitter @d_thackeray

Cross-posted from History & Policy

Many of the core debates in UK politics today concern the nation’s future trade: the question of Scottish independence, devolution of political power to the regions, and a potential referendum on EU membership. Exploring the history of British trade identities can provide important insights into how we got here and the potential choices for policy makers. As historian Jim Tomlinson has argued, the twentieth century witnessed a gradual process of the ‘partial de-globalisation’ of British regions, with the declining influence of manufacturing and the growth of a more atomised service-sector economy. The discontents this has caused, exacerbated by the recent worldwide economic downturn, have been seized upon by parties such as the SNP and UKIP. Continue reading “British Soft Power in South Asia: Historicizing Deglobalization”