Nick Guyatt’s and Luke Clossey’s recent piece, ‘It’s a Small World After All? Geographical diversity and history teaching in the UK’, in the American Historical Association’s Perpectives on History (May 2013) has started a lively debate about the breadth and quality of teaching and research in our universities. Have universities got the right balance between European/North American history, and wider world history? If not, why not? How can we account for disparities in the way this balance seems to operate in US/Canadian universities versus British ones? Is the UK falling behind? Does that matter?
Is the challenge simply to persuade departments to hire more wider-world historians or do we need to tweak the culture of university research and teaching to ensure that early career historians in wider world topics realise their potential? What are the connections between this debate in the university setting and the arguments about ‘the history of us’, the National Curriculum and school teaching. And in any case, why should students/pupils be interested in wider world history in the first place? Should we emphasise the value of wider world curiosity by embracing instrumental arguments about the (international) career opportunities and the global economy that await school-leavers and university graduates?
Panellists on this Question Time-style event includes Machel Bogues, Professor Sir Richard Evans, Nick Guyatt, Su Lin Lewis, Nicola Sheldon, Jason Todd and Peter D’Sena (chair).
Frank Trentmann (Birkbeck/Institute of Sustainable consumption, University of Manchester); David Barling (Centre for Food Policy, City University); Annabel Allott (Soil Association); Keir Waddington (University of Cardiff); Craig Sams (Green & Blacks)
Biography: Steven Shapin is Franklin L. Ford Professor of the History of Science, joining Harvard in 2004 after previous appointments as Professor of Sociology at the University of California, San Diego, and at the Science Studies Unit, Edinburgh University. His books include Leviathan and the Air- Pump: Hobbes, Boyle, and the Experimental Life (Princeton University Press, 1985 [new ed. 2011]; with Simon Schaffer); A Social History of Truth: Civility and Science in Seventeenth-Century England (University of Chicago Press, 1994); Never Pure: Historical Studies of Science as if It Was Produced by People with Bodies, Situated in Time, Space, Culture and Society, and Struggling for Credibility and Authority (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2010).
He has published widely in the historical sociology of scientific knowledge, and his current research interests include historical and contemporary studies of dietetics, the changing languages and practices of taste, the nature of entrepreneurial science, and modern relations between academia and industry. He writes regularly for the London Review of Books and has written for The New Yorker. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and his awards include the J. D. Bernal Prize of the Society for Social Studies of Science (for career contributions to the field), the Ludwik Fleck Prize of 4S and the Robert K. Merton Prize of the American Sociological Association (for A Social History of Truth), the Herbert Dingle Prize of the British Society for the History of Science (for The Scientific Revolution), a Guggenheim Fellowship, and a Fellowship at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences. With Simon Schaffer, he was the 2005 winner of the Erasmus Prize, conferred by HRH the Prince of Orange of the Netherlands, for contributions to European culture, society, or social science.
Biography: Ken Albala is Professor of History at the University of the Pacific. He is the author or editor of 16 books on food including Eating Right in the Renaissance, Food in Early Modern Europe, Cooking in Europe 1250-1650, The Banquet: Dining in the Great Courts of Late Renaissance Europe, Beans: A History (winner of the 2008 IACP Jane Grigson Award), andPancake. He has also co-edited The Business of Food, Human Cuisine, Food and Faith and edited A Cultural History of Food: The Renaissance and The Routledge International Handbook to Food Studies. Albala was also editor of the Food Cultures Around the World series with 30 volumes in print, the 4-volume Food Cultures of the World Encyclopedia and is now series editor of AltaMira Studies in Food and Gastronomy for which he has written a textbook entitled Three World Cuisines: Italian, Chinese, Mexican (winner of the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards best foreign cuisine book in the world for 2012). Albala is also co-editor of the journal Food Culture and Societyand is editing a 3 volume encyclopedia on Food Issues for Sage. He has also co-authored two cookbooks: The Lost Art of Real Cooking and The Lost Arts of Hearth and Home. Forthcoming this year are a Food History Reader, Nuts: A Global History, a small book entitled Grow Food, Cook Food,Share Food for Oregon State University Press and a translation of the 16th century cookbook Livre fort excellent de cuysine.