About The Prize About

PAST - Macro History

Past 2019.web

Macro History is a form of scholarship devoted to long stretches of time and often space. Macrohistorians trace the nature, development, and impact of humans’ activity on the Earth and on one another—their movements, settlements, social organizations, cultures, economies, political systems, religions, and natural and built environments beginning far back in time. For some, historical time opens not in ancient Mesopotamia or China, as historians have long supposed, but in a distant epoch when hominids first affected the Earth’s ecosystems and atmosphere. Such a “deep history” of the human species favors what traditional historians have termed “pre-history” and locates the customary province of “history,” the era of written records, near the end of a timeline vastly longer than the one that has generally represented “the past.”

Because Macrohistorians commonly work on periods long before written records were kept, their work tends to be multidisciplinary. Macrohistorians use the insights, theories, findings, and approaches of anthropology, archaeology, geography, geology, sociology, and political science—among other disciplines—in addition to history. Certain natural sciences such as neuroscience, geology, botany, and biology can also figure in.

In the 20th century, the most prominent group of scholars working on what can be termed Macro History was France’s Annales School, whose early leaders devoted considerable attention to the longue durée, or long stretches of time. Within that longue durée, Annales scholars focused on large, slowly changing structures such as geographical formations, climate, agricultural practices, social organization, and peasant mentalities.

Influenced in part by the Annales School, historians outside of France turned to a different form of Macro History, which they termed “world history.” This approach to the past turned above all to global phenomena such as the large-scale movement of people, patterns of international trade, slave systems and the slave trade, the interaction of different legal systems, and comparative economic development, especially between Europe and Asia. Certain historical sociologists can also be considered Macrohistorians, since they study the development of particular social and political phenomena over many centuries and in different parts of the world.

The 2019 Dan David Prize in the Past Time Dimension will be awarded to an outstanding individual or organization whose ongoing, groundbreaking research is making a significant contribution to the field of Macro History.

PRESENT - Defending Democracy

Present 2019.web

Democracy, its institutions, norms and values have recently come under siege.

Far from heralding the End of History, developments in some post-communist societies have, after initial promising starts, moved in neo-authoritarian directions - not only in Russia but also in Visegrad countries, accompanied by xenophobic expressions bordering on racism. Similarly, the Arab Spring has mostly fizzled out, and Turkey clearly pivots towards authoritarianism.

These tendencies appear now to be on the ascendant also in well-established and even traditionally exemplary liberal and tolerant societies. Nationalistic, xenophobic, authoritarian, populist and even racist ideologies linked to movements, parties and individual leaders are gaining strength in numerous European countries, while grave political discourse on democratic values emerges in the United States.

In some cases, these developments entail attacks on the rule of law, the judiciary and the free press, even on the very legitimacy of political opposition. The post-1945 and post-1989 democratic consensus may be in serious jeopardy.

The Dan David Prize in the Present Time Dimension for 2019 addresses these issues and calls for nominations of individuals, organizations and institutions that are engaged in a political and intellectual struggle against these anti-democratic and authoritarian tendencies. New ideas and strategies on how to defend democracy, enhance and strengthen it, as well as expand its reach, are crucial and need encouragement and support.

Inequality, Immigration, and the Politics of Populism

nyrb oct 28 2017

A Conference

October 28—29, 2017

NYU School of Law
Greenberg Lounge, Vanderbilt Hall
40 Washington Squre South
New York, NY 10012
United States

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