Laureates 2019

2019 PAST - Macro History

Prof. Kenneth Pomeranz

laureate Kenneth Pomeranz

Department of History

The University of Chicago, USA


Kenneth Pomeranz, University Professor of Modern Chinese History in the Department of History at University of Chicago.

His studies on late imperial and 20th century China (1368 to the present), focuses on the reciprocal influences of state, society, and economy, on the relative advancement of societies over the world.

Prof. Pomeranz, is widely considered as one of the “architects of world history”. In particular, for his most notable book, The Great Divergence: China, Europe, and the Making of the Modern World Economy (2000), which profoundly analyses the long standing question of why did Northwest Europe take off with unprecedented and sustained industrial growth beginning in the late 18th century, while East Asia and the rest of the world fell substantially behind.

Pomeranz’s landmark contribution was to demonstrate that Europe enjoyed no such lead prior to the nineteenth century. As he shows, in 1750, the core areas of China and Japan, especially the Yangzi delta and the Kantō plain, resembled the core areas of Northwest Europe in production, consumption, life expectancy, wage levels, and the economic behavior and strategy of families.

Among his honors, the John King Fairbank Prize for best book in East Asian history (1994, 2001), the World History Association Book Prize (2011). He was elected a Corresponding Fellow of the British Academy (FBA), the United Kingdom's national academy for the humanities and social sciences (2017).

He is a recent president of the American Historical Association and a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.