History professors and scholars from the university and King’s College London convened in Copley Formal Lounge for a two-day, first-of-its-kind Global History forum, “Empires and Globalizations in the Making of the Modern World” this Thursday and Friday.
Organized by professor John Tutino, director of the Georgetown Institute for Global History, with the support of Paul Readman, Jim Bjork and Jan Palmowski at King’s College, this forum marks the inauguration of the Georgetown University-King’s College London Joint Master’s Degree Program in Global History.
The master’s program, which a small number of students are beginning this fall, consists of one year at Georgetown and one at King’s College London and gives students the opportunity to study with scholars from King’s College renowned for their work in the history of Europe and its empires, as well as professors at Georgetown regarded for their historical knowledge of Latin America, the Middle East, East Asia and U.S. history. The structure of the program encourages a globally oriented study of history.
It is in this spirit that this week’s Global History Forum was conceived.
“This is the sort of grand, comparative, historical perspective that our new, transatlantic community of scholars and students hope to develop in the context of our partnership,” Roshwald said of the forum.
The forum consisted of four two-hour sessions over the course of two days. Each session was made up of two lectures by faculty members followed by an open discussion led by a professor.
Beginning with “Atlantic Empires – and Beyond” and ending with “The End of Empires?” each session progressed chronologically and explored an empire and its influence on both its contemporaries and the modern world.
In his keynote address on Thursday, Richard Drayton highlighted the innate global and interdependent quality of history, using Europe as an example. While Europe’s imperialistic history is often explored from a nationalistic standpoint – French colonization, British imperialism – he argued that past empires were borne and maintained not by countries individually, but rather as a kind of collaboration of European nations and later the United States. This collaboration, according to Drayton, marked the beginning of globalization.
Yet, as professor Tutino expressed, the forum was not intended to be just a conversation among scholars. Rather, it was intended to be a presentation of scholarly work among academics and students, and all were encouraged to chime in for the discussion.
“Students should not come silent. Raise the questions. There is an enormous amount to be gained by entering into the life of the community,” Tutino said.
Students – graduates and undergraduates – sat alongside their professors in Copley Formal Lounge to participate in and listen to the christening of the new joint master’s program.
“Today is a big day for us,” said Eric Gettig, a Georgetown graduate student in history, who attended the program. “This global, transnational approach is something that means a lot to me. It is one way that the study of history is changing.”
The forum will continue at King’s College London in June when professors from both universities have had time to confer with one another and to revise their papers.”