New Directions in Global History: Rethinking Scale & Temporality

While historians have traditionally been less explicit than other social scientists in their use of theory, we have witnessed in the past half year an unprecedentedly polemicized debate within the profession over the direction, methodology, and theoretical orientation future history-writing must take. Book length treatises by Lynn Hunt (Writing History in the Global Era, September 2014), and Jo Guldi and David Armitage (The History Manifesto, July 2014) have been met with enlivened article-length rejoinders by fellow historians (Sam Moyn, Deborah Cohen, Peter Mandler).

If these historians made differing methodological, theoretical and political claims on the task of history-writing, what was emphatically not under debate was the fact that historians now have to “think big” and write global. Bringing together distinguished internal and visiting historians and social scientists, this conference aims to foster a public dialogue on the new directions of writing global histories among some of its most critical practitioners in the discipline of history and beyond.


8:30-9:00 — Registration

9:00-9:15 — Opening Remarks

9:15-10:45 — Panel 1
C.A. Bayly, “Global History: A Partial Vindication”
Panel: Faisal Devji, Emily Lynn Osborn, Diana Schwartz
Chair: Emily Marker

10:45-11:00 — Coffee Break

11:15-12:45 — Panel 2
Arnulf Becker Lorca, “Mestizo International Law”
Panel: Jennifer Pitts, Adom Getachew, Fei-Hsien Wang, Zak Leonard
Chair: Guo-Quan Seng

12:45-2:00 — Lunch

2:00-4:00 — Panel 3
Julia Adeney Thomas, “Handcuffs and Reality: Questions for Very Big History”
Dipesh Chakrabarty, “World/Big History from William McNeill to David Christian”
Panel: Kenneth Pomeranz, Frederik Albritton Jonsson, Kyle Gardner
Chair: Emily Marker

4:00-4:15 — Coffee Break

4:30-6:00 — Panel 4
David Armitage, “Horizons of History, Transnational and Transtemporal”
Panel: Mark Bradley, Shruti Kapila, Sarah Panzer
Chair: Guo-Quan Seng


Panel 1

  • C.A. Bayly: Vere Harmsworth Professor Emeritus, University of Cambridge; Professor of History, Queen Mary University of London; Vivekananda Visiting Professor, University of Chicago
  • Emily Lynn Osborn: Associate Professor of African History and the College, University of Chicago
  • Faisal Devji: University Reader in South Asian History, University of Oxford
  • Diana Schwartz: PhD Candidate, University of Chicago
  • Emily Marker: PhD Candidate, University of Chicago

Panel 2

  • Arnulf Becker Lorca: Visiting Faculty, International Relations Program, Brown University
  • Jennifer Pitts: Associate Professor of Political Science, University of Chicago
  • Adom Getachew: Assistant Professor of Political Science, University of Chicago (incoming)
  • Fei-Hsien Wang: Assistant Professor of History, Indiana University-Bloomington
  • Zak Leonard: PhD Candidate, University of Chicago
  • Guo-Quan Seng: PhD Candidate, University of Chicago

Panel 3

  • Dipesh Chakrabarty: Lawrence A. Kimpton Distinguished Service Professor of History, South Asian Languages and Civilizations and the College, University of Chicago
  • Julia Adeney Thomas: Associate Professor of History, University of Notre Dame
  • Kenneth Pomeranz: University Professor of Modern Chinese History and the College and Department Chair, University of Chicago
  • Fredrik Albritton Jonsson: Associate Professor of British History, Conceptual and Historical Studies of Science and the College, University of Chicago
  • Kyle Gardner: PhD Candidate, University of Chicago

Panel 4

  • David Armitage: Lloyd C. Blankfein Professor of History, Harvard University Neubauer Collegium Visiting Fellow, University of Chicago
  • Mark Bradley: Bernadotte E. Schmitt Professor of International History and the College, University of Chicago
  • Shruti Kapila: Lecturer in History, University of Cambridge
  • Sarah Panzer: PhD Candidate, University of Chicago

This event is co-sponsored by the Center for International Studies, the Franke Institute for the Humanities, the Committee on Southern Asian Studies, the Center for Latin American Studies, the Center for Latin American Studies, the Neubauer Collegium, the Nicholson Center for British Studies, and the Committee on African Studies. 

Event Sponsors

© 2015 Center for International Studies